Several years ago, I bought my wife a new smartphone for her birthday. While her original reaction implied disappointment and disinterest, it didn’t take long for this feature-rich phone to become an integral part of her everyday life. Recently, the on-off button stopped working and now her phone is always on. We decided it was time to upgrade. At the same time, I noticed a full-page ad in Time magazine for a great deal on a new phone with unlimited voice, data and text package. The next day, my wife enthusiastically went to the nearest retail branch to inquire with intent to buy a new phone. The sales representative agreed that it sounded like a great deal, but knew nothing of the offer. My wife left the store disappointed with her old phone in hand.
This is a textbook example of what happens when a company’s internal teams aren’t in full communication. It could have been that the offer was only relevant in certain stores, but the sales attendant didn’t get the memo or related training to help redirect customers. Either way, I’m sure my wife wasn’t the only excited consumer to leave the store disappointed.
The cost and impact of this campaign goes beyond the cost of a full-page ad in Time. Take into consideration the time spent by many other disappointed customers and unaware sales representatives at thousands of other stores this retailer has across the country. The negative effect may also impact the retailer’s brand reputation and integrity. Next time one of these disappointed customers sees an ad from this retailer, they may not believe it to be real – and that’s just a waste of future marketing dollars.
This is not a singular event. I’m sure you’ve encountered many other examples where a marketing campaign promises something, but when you call the contact center or go to the store, nobody seems to know anything about it.
So the big question is how and why does this happen so often?
I believe the answer lies in how marketing campaigns are measured. Typically, measuring the impact on a campaign involves determining how many people recall seeing or hearing the ad, and how the campaign impacted actual sales or consumer behavior. Both of these metrics may actually be positive in the smartphone example above. I’m sure many people saw the advertisement, which likely boosted sales in some of the retail locations, so there is a measurable positive impact to this campaign. But it’s likely that no one actually quantified the negative impact of customers walking into the stores where this offer wasn’t available or speaking to attendants who didn’t know anything about it.
For marketers launching campaigns in today’s environment, it’s hard to be aware of the scale and scope of these unmet promises. You have print and online advertisements, social media outlets, retail store locations and more to take into consideration.
However, not all marketing campaigns are doomed to have unmeasured negative impact. A leading telecom provider in Europe, for instance, launched a new ‘help and support’ campaign to help promote self-service for its customer base. To kick off the program, it coordinated training for all the company agents, asking for their assistance to help promote the new self-service option. It also made sure to close the loop by leveraging speech analytics to analyze all customer calls and quantify how effective the campaign was. This included evaluating whether customers and agents understood how to use the new forum, identify agents that were not effectively promoting or articulating the benefits, and determining if inaccurate or incomplete information was being shared.
By leveraging this closed-loop approach, powered by a voice of the customer analytics solution, the organization managed to achieve its annual target for the campaign in less than two months of the launch. Measuring the positive impact of any marketing campaign is critical but it’s just as important to measure the potential negative impact caused by misunderstanding, confusion and wasted customer effort. Your brand’s reputation and your customers’ loyalty may depend on it.
Have you launched a marketing campaign that measured both positive and negative impact on your customers? Please share any experiences you’ve encountered as a customer or a marketing professional in the comments section below. I’d love to hear about your programs, initiatives and customer service experience examples.