Recently I ran across a company that has spent a lot of money on a marketing campaign that, in my opinion, does more harm than good.
It’s a retail company with several dozen locations throughout the state. They have a good reputation and strong name awareness in most communities they serve.
Earlier this year they started promoting a new message to their retail customers. The message of this campaign was they will respond quickly to customer inquiries and requests. In fact, the campaign went overboard, in a funny way, to show how committed they were to acting quickly to serve their customer’s needs.
This is a good message, since nobody likes to have their time wasted.
And they have done a good job delivering that message to their customers.
They used TV ads, billboards and signage inside their locations. In fact, some of the signs are still hanging in their locations as reminders.
But there’s a problem.
As a customer, I don’t see much difference in how they treat me compared to how their competitors do. In other words, their level of service (in my experience) has not been as fast or as great as their high-powered ad campaign suggests.
Not that they deliver bad service. In fact, they’re as good as any of their competitors.
But they’re not any better. They don’t move more quickly. They don’t go the extra mile. They don’t seem to act any different in any way than many of their competitors who I also do business with.
They are decidedly average in how they treat their customers.
So, I walk into one of their locations and I see these dramatic signs telling me how much the employees of this company want to go overboard to take care of me. Part of me says “this is great”. I’ve finally found a company that has figured out how to go the extra mile for their customers.
I start to expect a higher level of service from them. Because that’s what they’ve told me to expect.
But, the higher level of service never appears. I’ve even asked employees about it. One chuckled and rolled his eyes. Another apologized. None seemed to think much of the whole campaign.
To be fair, I’m only one customer. Maybe the majority of other customers who have seen this campaign are getting faster and better service. Or maybe they’re getting the same service I am. You can draw your own conclusion.
Sadly, this type of marketing is not limited to this particular example. Too many companies invest in delivering punchy, creative, funny, unique and memorable messages to their customers and then they never deliver.
They say something and then they do something else.
And then marketing and ad agency people sit around and lament the fact that consumers don’t believe 99% of the marketing messages they are exposed to.
The really sad thing is this is incredibly easy to prevent.