Today: “Talk about a cliff hanger..!”

 > The Situation:
Christmas sales may have been down 35 to 40% across the board this year—but not at Mad Dog Source for Sports in Vancouver. Mad Dog owner, Randy (“Mad Dog”) Bishop, kept his numbers up by repeating a sales promotion at his suburban Langley and Abbotsford stores, that has been wildly successful for ten full years in a row. Read on.

 > The Idea:
Mad Dog advertised that if it snowed 4.9 inches (12.5 centimeters) on Christmas Day, then every cent of every purchase—made by every customer—from November 15 to December 10—would be fully refunded. When I first saw his advertising I was stunned. How could he do it? Well, fairly easily. He gets the same kind of insurance coverage that golf tournament organizers get when they offer a million dollar prize for a hole-in-one. With one catch. His coverage is not complete. If it snowed that much he would have had to cover over $100,000 of refunds out of his own pocket. Ouch.

 > The Risk:

What if it snows?  While he has never had to pay out before, this year was a cliff hanger. A reporter from The Province newspaper called him at Noon on Christmas day (talk about getting media attention) and he said, “I’m freaking out. It’s already about half way there, and we’re only half way through Christmas Day.” No worries. According to the weather experts at Environment Canada, it snowed less than five centimeters on Christmas Day (after more than 26 cm fell on Christmas Eve, and another 13 fell on Boxing Day) and Randy dodged a bullet. In a follow up story on December 28, Bishop told The Province, “people are in here screaming at me, but there’s nothing I can do until Monday morning…” (when the insurance company would make a final judgment). Now to us here at MD this was the biggest risk—customers choked at not being able to get a definitive answer—immediately—on the day after The Big Day. Our advice to anyone who does this type of promotion: Spell out the fine print (who decides, how they decide, when and how we notify customers), way in advance. AND DON’T PUT IT IN FINE PRINT. Then you’ve got people biting their nails with you, and laughing with you—instead of screaming at you.

 > The Reward:

This promotion draws huge numbers of customers; helps to sell  more (including several $10,000 hot tubs in this case)—and also draws media attention—which in turn attracts more customers—which in turn—you get the idea.

 > The Call to Action:

This is creative marketing in action. And (just about) anyone can do it. Either in a small way (that you can risk-finance yourself). Or in a bigger way, through an insurance company. Bottom line: There was no recessionary downturn in sales at Mad Dog Sports—arf, arf.

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  1. I am always thought about this, appreciate it for posting .

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