Today: “Don’t make me an offer I ‘can’ refuse…”

 > The Situation:
A coupon book. In my mailbox. I flipped through it. (Hey, last time I found a really good deal on something I really needed.) This time. Hmm. Mainly same old, same old. And I’m feeling my usual gag reflex when I look at some of the offers. (This is an occupational hazard.) For example, a sushi restaurant offers 10% off (oooooh…big deal). But I look at it because I’m always looking for new places to go for lunch—especially if I’m given an incentive that isn’t a 2-for-1 (because I’m not a two, I’m a one). Ah, disappointment. It’s only good for a meal valued at $10 and over—meaning dinner, not lunch. Meaning. I’m just not interested. Meaning. They’ve made me an offer I “can” refuse. Meaning…they’ve wasted money sending this offer to me. Too bad for both of us!!

 > The Idea:
This is so feeble. They spend money on advertising and then make rules that limit their response. Why? Because they haven’t thought about what they’re doing? I guess. The idea (obviously) is to get new customers in the door and across the floor. Then show them fabulous service and great food. And. Get them coming back. And…bringing and sending their friends. If they knew the value of a new customer they would erase the restrictions—obviously. But wait.  Here is a coupon for Quiznos, one of my favorite lunch stops. And they have a coupon that works for me. It offers me two dollars off any regular or large sandwich. Perfect. No 2-for-1. No minimum purchase. No day of week, or time of day restrictions. Now this is more like it.

 > The Risk:

Here is the real point. When we advertise, we’ve got to include a compelling offer. Otherwise our ad actually works against us. If your offer—whether delivered in media advertising like this coupon—or included in an e-mail campaign (etc.)—turns your recipient off, in any way, then your entire effort and investment is lost—at least for that recipient. And when we turn a person off, we don’t just turn them off for now—we tend to turn them off forever. Next time they see your name they remember how you disappointed them—not how you turned them on.

 > The Reward:

Make a compelling offer. Deliver on your brand promise, in terms of quality and service. And your investment will pay off.

 > The Call to Action:

Before you release any offer, look for strings attached. If you find some, un-attach ‘em. See you tomorrow.

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