Friday, November 27, 2009

Can You Use a Marketing Mistake as an Opportunity? Yes.

I got this note of apology in my in box the other day from the notoriously prolific e-mail marketer, "Harry & David." It references an e-mail from earlier in the week that did not contain any content, and was clearly sent in error. I didn't think it was a terrible mistake when I first saw it, particularly since I have seen all kinds of 0nline glitches -- everything from bad links, to images that are cut off or distorted, or newsletter that are just plain bad for all kinds of other reasons - too much self-promotion, not enough good information, or just not enough information at all. I found it interesting to note that even experienced marketers can make a mistake changing methods (print to online) and this is a lesson for all of us that technology is only as good as the people behind it. But I was impressed with a few smart moves Harry and David did to correct the mistaken e-mail incident:

1. Acknowledge the error
2. Phrase the incident in such a way that we can all relate to it in some way (ie. have you ever done this too?)
3. Use the incident as a marketing opportunity to offer 10%, thereby possibly making more profit then if the event hadn't ever happened. As a consumer, this didn't bother me, since I happen to know that their prices are pretty good, as well as their products, and I have ordered from them before.

Harry and David are smart marketers and you can be too. No one's perfect, so if and when you do make a mistake, do what's needed to correct the problem as soon as possible, and offer the customer a nice bonus for hanging in there. It's a win-win situation all around.

Time to run and take a taste of the Harry and David "Moose Munch" I happened to have just picked up at Costco last week. Coincidence?

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