SIMPLY Irresistible

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

1. Send ‘Em One White Sock Too often, “we want you back” appeals are boring.

But they don’t have to be. Take a look at what the marketing managers at Ansett NZ Airlines did. They faced a tough challenge-to get members of the Golden Wing frequent-flyer club to renew their annual membership at a hefty $300 fee.

To maximize results, they came up with an approach that made the renewal invitation downright fun. They enclosed just one white Golden Wing sock-with an amusing letter promising two more upon receipt of the renewal.

Why two more instead of just one? Because even if one sock mysteriously disappears in the wash (as it always does), you’ll still have apair to wear.

The result of the promotion was an astonishing 92% renewal.

The essence of the idea is appealing to the human desire for completion. There is also an element of lighthearted fun, showing that you, as the advertiser, don’t take yourself too seriously.

You might adapt this idea by sending out one cufflink, a jigsaw puzzle with one piece missing, one card from a deluxe deck of cards-whatever would be most appropriate for your business and your customers.

2. Reward Goof-Finders Imagine rewarding customers for complaining! That’s what Superquinn supermarkets in Ireland do-and it’s an important part of a marketing strategy that has paid off big.

A customer who reports a fault-whether it’s a wobbly shopping card wheel or a grocery sack packed wrong-earns points in the store’s customer rewards program.

See the triple whammy here? This policy keeps store personnel on their toes. It impresses the customer with how much Superquinn cares about providing first-rate service. And it makes Superquinn a likable place to shop, because the company cheerfully admits its goofs without being defensive about it.

How might you reward a customer for pointing out where you are falling down? Don’t just ask for feedback-actually reward the fault-finder!

3. Go Small Town It has become a cliche to say that personalized database direct mail enables advertisers to deal with faraway prospects and customers with the helpful familiarity of a small-town store clerk in the good old days.

But must that capability be limited to direct mail? Max Grassfield has found a way to apply it to face-to-face dealings in his Denver menswear store.

As soon as a new customer makes his first purchase, he is assigned his own personal salesperson, who captures the customer’s name, address, phone number, birthday, sizes, purchases and so on, and keyboards this information into the computer. Then on subsequent visits, that customer will be warmly greeted, welcomed and served by “his” salesperson.

This idea is a natural for service companies answering customer needs and problems by phone. How often have you, as a customer yourself, had to call a hotline several times with the same problem and found yourself dealing with a different phone rep or technical support person each time, forcing you to explain your problem all over again? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could ask for and talk to “your” very own assigned representative? More expensive, perhaps-but a big competitive advantage.

4. Make Your Giveaway a Brand Builder When Saturn dealers wanted to run a giveaway promotion to build showroom traffic, their advertising agency felt that the typical advertising sweepstakes would cheapen Saturn’s carefully built quality image. So the agency looked for a way to make the promotion add to, rather than detract from, the Saturn story.

The answer was a sweepstakes in which winners were brought to the Saturn plant in Spring Hill, TN, and were allowed to work shoulder to shoulder with Saturn team members to build the actual car they had won.

The result was a promotion with double impact. First, a thrilling traffic-building promotion. Then, coverage of the prize redemption in a way that reinforced the Saturn brand image of cars built with loving care by friendly American workers (sorry, we meant “team members”) who like their jobs.

5. Get Bushels of Feedback for Peanuts What is the most overlooked, most cost-effective advertising medium of all? It’s the “free” advertising space available on or in product cartons or bags, or even on the front or back of pasted-on jar and can labels. You can use the front, back or sides to present a no-cost advertising offer to your captive audience.

In South Africa, the packaged- and tinned-goods company I&J Foods uses this precious resource to feed its customer database and to conduct product-specific marketing research.

In-pack questionnaires in I&J frozen foods (in two languages, English and Afrikaans) perform four functions.

* Obtain name, address and demographic information about the customer.

* Conduct product-specific market research. “What other frozen foods do you buy?”

* Request permission for use of the name by other companies.

* Stimulate response with a sweepstakes.

It’s a tremendous yield from a little piece of paper that costs almost nothing to print and distribute.

6. Cultivate Cave Dwellers Remember what Mark Twain said about the weather. “Everybody’s always talking about it, but nobody ever does anything about it.”

It’s now much the same story with marketing to niches within a prospect/customer database. Everybody knows the awesome power of database segmentation to tailor the information or the offer in a mailed communication to the tastes and needs of the individual recipient.

But this capability is neglected by far too many advertisers, who use their database as little more than a glorified mailing list.

H.J. Heinz in the United Kingdom publishes different versions of its customer magazine for different market niches in its database.

Each version contains, along with standard material, unique contents for the market niche that receives it, such as families with children or people concerned with healthy eating.

British Telecom’s customer mailings carry customization even further. BT can select and combine from a bank of 110 different copy paragraphs to fashion 4,500 different savings reports and recommendations tailored to the individual customer’s profile.

It’s the wave of the future in marketing. Are you getting ready to ride it?

7. Get Two Campaigns for the Price of One Direct marketers love to talk about “the other 98%”-prospects or customers who aren’t part of the proverbial 2% who respond to successful direct mail efforts. It has been persuasively argued and convincingly demonstrated that the direct mail received by “the other 98%” is not wasted-that it can measurably influence the favorable brand image and buying intention even of recipients who do not respond.

This logic can and should be applied to direct response advertising in other media as well, and Ralston Purina pet food advertising observes the principle brilliantly. Whether it is inviting a free trial or making a promotional offer, each media effort still hammers away at the product’s unique selling proposition-that it uses a higher-quality formulation with real meat in it.

So in effect Ralston Purina gets two ad campaigns for the price of one-a direct response campaign yielding the names and addresses of interested prospects and an image campaign sure to have an effect on pet owners who are exposed to the advertising and do not respond.

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