Take Time to Properly Set Up Your Marketing Campaigns or Risk Spectacular Failure

derailed train

My windows were getting old and beginning to break down.

Intentions to do something about it simmered in the back of my mind for most of the summer, so I was delighted to find a well-designed, 8.5 x 11 brochure from a window retail and installation company in the mail. Their brochure detailed their expansion into the Island market with notable discounts for those who connected with them before the end of the month and it boasted of their years of excellent service in the Lower Mainland.

I looked them up. I’ve a habit of looking for testimonials on third party review sites. Being a marketer, I can easily differentiate real testimonials from fakes. Reviews on this company were genuine, with plenty of delighted customers raving about their reputable service.

Convinced, I took the next step; I picked up the phone and called their number to connect with an earnestly pleasant woman who listened sympathetically to my window woes, then suggested we set up an appointment for their representative to come look things over and give me a quote. She did her job well. She confirmed her skill when she asked if I was the only owner, then skillfully navigated the fact that my wife would need to be present at the meeting. (And as much as we men may get annoyed by such suggestions, we know damn well our wives better be in on such decisions).

“Sure,” I said. “How soon can your guy or gal come out?”

This is when their excellent marketing campaign started coming off the rails.

“Just one minute… I’m having some problems with my computer today,” she said.

“Uh oh,” I thought. Blaming the computer is a classic stalling tactic for telemarketers. It’s often code for bigger challenges in the background.

So, I was relieved when she got back a minute later telling me she’d successfully set up an appointment for the late afternoon in the following week. We ended our conversation with me feeling very proud of myself for putting plans in motion.

That’s how a good marketing campaign is supposed to make their potential clients feel: Satisfied, self-empowered, even thinking it was all their own great idea.

I was looking forward to sharing my manly proactiveness with my wife.

What happened next was a marketing crash and burn.

The company representative called back and left a message stating their Victoria salesperson wasn’t available, that indeed, they didn’t currently HAVE anyone in Victoria yet, and they would try to connect with me in several weeks, perhaps a month or two, when they were set up and ready to serve clients over on the Island

What the hell?

This company had spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on designing and delivering a lovely direct mail brochure which performed exactly how good advertising should; inspiring action from the people in need of their service.

However, they didn’t take time to set up their service and delivery infrastructure first.

Perhaps it wasn’t their fault. Maybe they hired personnel who didn’t work out. But that will never matter to their potential customers with whom they have one chance.

This kind of disconnect happens more often than business owners admit. I can sympathize. It once happened to me.

Years ago, I was part owner and manager of a cellular phone store. My partner and I decided to advertise our stock of cellular phone accessories for half price on a local television station late at night. The response was awesome… until we started having to turn away dozens of customers when we ran out of inventory.

Nearly all of them didn’t bother to come back, and I didn’t blame them. They had taken time out of their busy schedules feeling great about themselves for discovering a super deal, only to be told, “sorry, we ran out”. I even saw one of them in our competitor’s store purchasing the same item at full price.

Today, I’m the customer who thought he’d found a good deal from a decent window company. I’d committed myself to act, only to find out I wasted my precious time, and now I had to start over again. Suddenly, I don’t feel so great about myself.

When most people don’t feel good about themselves, they find a way to divest these feelings by transferring them onto an offending person or company. Additionally, they’ve built momentum towards solving their problem and they will remain motivated to continue towards finding a solution. That means they will start looking elsewhere until they find satisfaction.

I could give this window company another chance if they manage to get their act together, but I’m far more likely to investigate and do business with a competing company.

And that’s the real waste when a company launches a marketing campaign without enough thought and preparation. They end up benefiting their competitors.