Saturday, October 11, 2008

Marketing Lessons

The other day I went to Staples to get a laser pen for my kitten. Naturally, I got home and the thing did not work. So I waited until today when I had some free time to go return it. I was expecting them to try to get me to buy the upgraded model for an extra ten bucks. Of course, having to pay extra for something that actually functions is not a great way to create customer satisfaction, but that's about the only response I expected.
I didn't even get that. They scrutinized the receipt to make sure I was within my rights to even make the return. I've heard of "no questions asked" policies, but these people meant it. They did not even ask what was wrong with the product, or if I needed a replacement, or ask me anything for that matter. In spite of the fact that I told them it was broken, I wonder if they re shelved it anyway.
So I went across the street to CVS for a few things. I didn't expect them to have a laser pen, but I did find one in the office supply aisle. And, instead of being $17.00, it was $3.00. It also functions as a flashlight and a ballpoint pen. Yeah.
Pleased with this discovery, and the extra cash I now had, I accidentally wandered into the pet aisle. I found these cat toys that are designed to look like baby toys. Colorful "teething rings" that are even packaged to convince you that you are aiding your cat through crucial developmental processes. They are called "Petstages." I was completely aware that the whole thing was meant to appeal more to me as a cat owner rather than being particularly better for my cat than the empty toilet paper tubes she chews on. And I bought the darn toys anyway.
Then there's the fact that CVS may be one of the last places to carry Diet Coke Plus in the plastic bottles. Rather than spending $17.00 at Staples, I could have spent $3.00 at CVS. Instead, I spent $11.00 at CVS because they kept impressing me with stuff I didn't realize I needed! If you are going to be in the business of marketing a product or service to people, you need to deliver what you say you will, it needs to work, and it needs to be a good value to the customer. And it doesn't hurt to try to give a little something extra your customer wasn't expecting.

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