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Denny Hatch's Blog

Denny Hatch's Blog

By Denny Hatch

About Denny

Author, direct marketing guru, and always entertaining Denny Hatch focuses on a major story in the news and shows how businesses can take advantage of–or avoid the pitfalls from–the lessons to be learned in terms of marketing, sales, PR and communications.

 

The Power Punch

Carolyn Goodman
Marketing Awards: What Are They Good For?
May 22, 2015

When I first started in this business, I remember that our new business pitch at Ogilvy & Mather Direct always...



Here's What Counts

Chuck McLeester
Why Won’t Millennials Call Me?
May 21, 2015

Maybe it all started with AOL Instant Messenger when they were teens. They created acronyms like PIR (parent in room),...



Search Made Simple

Phil Frost
How to Double Your Landing Page Conversion Rates With 6 Easy Tune-ups
May 20, 2015

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your Google AdWords campaign is failing to optimize your landing page....



The Data Athlete

Mike Ferranti
Target Marketing Analytics Isn't Reporting
May 19, 2015

Today, virtually all organizations have challenges in effectively leveraging analytics to drive business performance. Odds are pretty good that when...



Creative Caffeine

Dani Cantor
10 Marketing Clichés I'd Challenge to a Fight if I Met Them in the Street
May 18, 2015

There you are, minding your own business, when it rounds the corner and rams into you full speed: the copywriting...



Making Social Sell

Jeff Molander
Is InMail Worth It? 3 Reasons It May Not Be.
May 15, 2015

Is InMail worth it? LinkedIn wants you to think so. But is it a good investment for you, in your...



Direct Mail for the Modern Marketer

Summer Gould
Direct Mail: A New Perspective
May 14, 2015

The key to effective direct mail is perspective. Perspective is a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a...



Ruthless B-to-B Marketing

Ruth P.  Stevens
A Case Study in Data-driven B-to-B Customer Acquisition Marketing
May 14, 2015

While preparing case studies for my new book, I had the fun of interviewing a bunch of very smart B-to-B...



Reinventing Direct

Gary Hennerberg
Why Direct Mail Won’t Die
May 13, 2015

You've seen the proclamations over the years that direct mail is near death, along with the counter-arguments that it's nowhere...



Big Data, Small Data, Clean Data, Messy Data

Stephen  H. Yu
How to Outsource Analytics
May 5, 2015

In this series, I have been emphasizing the importance of statistical modeling in almost every article. While there are plenty...



Psychology-Based Marketing

Jeanette McMurtry
Dysrationalia and Other Consumer Disorders
May 12, 2015

It's true. Most consumers suffer from a bad case of dysrationalia which, according to Keith Stanovich, emeritus professor of applied...



Marketing Sustainably

Chet Dalzell
Benchmarking: There's No Such Thing as an Average 2% Response Rate
May 11, 2015

It seems easy enough to answer the question: How to know if a marketing campaign measures up? But managing client...



IMM-Possible ROI

Stephanie Miller
Your Secret Weapon for Amplification: Employees!
May 7, 2015

There are sales enablement programs, partner and channel enablement programs and even influencer enablement programs. Why are there then, so...



Keeping Search Profitable

Amanda G. Watlington, Ph.D.
Any Time Is Search Time for Consumers
Apr 28, 2015

At a baseball game the other day, I couldn't help but notice how many people in my seating area were...



Brand Matters

Andrea Syverson
I Dare You: Create a Brand Challenge!
Mar 17, 2015

Challenging something we do quite naturally and easily is indeed the perfect challenge. We all get into ruts—some even good...



The Integrated Email

Cyndie Shaffstall
Google Announces Significant Changes
Mar 9, 2015

As a marketer who uses email, you know as well as I do, your campaigns do not stand alone. Without...



Mobile-First Marketing

Greg Hoy
5 Mobile Marketing Trends You Can't Ignore in 2015
Jan 14, 2015

I don't have to tell you that we are living in a mobile-first world that continues to drive brands to...



Muscle Marketing

Wendy Montes de Oca
Converting Your Social Media Triple-Fs: Friends, Followers and Fans
Dec 16, 2014

I've heard many gurus, marketers and publishers brag about their social media followers. They'll say things like, "Isn't it great...



Marketing Nuggets

Michael Lowenstein
Marketing Success Is (Almost) All About the Data: Optimizing Customer Loyalty Behavior Initiatives
Oct 7, 2014

Much of what I've learned over the years about sales, marketing and customer service has to do with the critical...



Triple Venti Dolce Data...

Vince Pickett
Clue Me In, Please
Aug 21, 2013

So here we are, halfway through 2013. You, along with everyone, are still trying to find that magic formula to...



Who's Your Data?

Rio Longacre
Instagram: Does It Matter That It Will Make Money on Your Pics?
Dec 19, 2012

Instagram announced the company will soon begin using your content to sell targeted advertising products to the highest bidder. Does...



SEO & Content Marketing Revue

Heather Lloyd-Martin
5 Tips for Top Positioning (And Converting) Page Titles
Aug 11, 2010

Wondering about a SEO content strategy that offers the biggest impact in the shortest time? Try tweaking your page titles....



Yblog

Yory Wurmser
Privacy in the Age of Big Data
Jul 10, 2013

Consumers reveal more than ever before consciously through social media and, just as importantly, unconsciously through their behaviors. This data...



The Whole Magilla

Ken Magill
What Marketers Can Learn From Maine's Political Email Idiocy
Feb 24, 2012

It finally happened. Politicians' idiotic email practices had a measurable negative effect. "Maine Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster has admitted...



Online Video Marketing Deep Dive

Eve Grey
Are Your Videos Champions of Your Brand?
Feb 3, 2014

If you advertise in an ordinary way, it's safe to expect ordinary results. However, when you take the extreme and...



Think Mobility

Greg Hickman
‘I Can't Because, I Need ... ’
Oct 7, 2013

Does this sound like you? Have you ever set up a goal, but then realized (either quickly or too late)...



The Yin and Yang of Dealing with Good and Lousy Customers

 
One of the most fascinating figures in modern retailing is Bradbury H. (Brad) Anderson, a Northwestern Seminary dropout who went to work for a small midwestern music store called Sound Music. Over the years, Anderson turned the little shop into electronics behemoth Best Buy, with 1,400 stores across the United States and Canada, $45 billion in sales and 155,000 full- and part-time employees.

The corporate philosophy of most giant retailers is to drive every possible consumer into the store with TV advertising, cents-off coupons, mail shots, special newspaper offers and all the other bells and whistles of marketing wizardry.

But Anderson saw that many of these giants were performing poorly.

Several years ago in analyzing Best Buy's customer file, he discovered that of the 500 million customer visits a year, 20 percent—or 100 million—were unprofitable.

So he hired on as a consultant Columbia Business School Professor Larry Selden, author of "Angel Customers and Demon Customers: Discover Which Is Which and Turbo-Charge Your Stock."

It was Selden who came up with the revolutionary theory that a company is not a portfolio of product lines, but rather a portfolio of customers.

Direct marketers have operated on that premise since the 1920s.

Selden divides customers into "angels" and "devils." Angels are the desirable customers who buy stuff and keep it—the kind of folks worth doing business with.

"The devils are its worst customers," writes Gary McWilliams in his Wall Street Journal account of Best Buy. "They buy products, apply for rebates, return the purchases, then buy them back at returned-merchandise discounts. They load up on 'loss leaders,' severely discounted merchandise designed to boost store traffic, then flip the goods at a profit on eBay. They slap down rock-bottom price quotes from Web sites and demand that Best Buy make good on its lowest-price pledge."

As with direct marketers, Best Buy carefully analyzes its customer base, spending time and money to lure the angels into the store and eliminate promotional efforts to the devils. It is also enforcing a 15 percent restocking fee for bad actors.

Unlike direct marketers, Best Buy cannot keep these sleaze balls out of its stores. But it can make life difficult for them while, at the same time, giving excellent service to its good customers.

On the other hand, when you have 155,000 employees, not all are smooth schmoozers or judges of people and absolutely "go by the book." The result, nice folks can have miserable customer experiences and tell the world.

Satisfied Customers vs. Angry Customers
For years I used to quote the statistic that a satisfied customer will tell three people, while an unhappy customer will tell 11 people. This was B.I. (before the Internet).

Today, an unhappy customer can go online and reach tens of millions of people around the world with an angry message.

What triggered this story was the following e-mail forwarded to me last week by a long-time colleague that directly relates to Brad Anderson's customer angels-and-devils policy.

Dear friends:

I received several copies of this email. My own take on dealing with retailers like this: Use a credit card.

BEST BUY, MY FOOT
Best Buy has some bad policies.... Normally, I would not share this with others. However, since this could happen to you or your friends, I decided to share it. If you purchase something from Wal-Mart, Sears etc. and you return the item with the receipt they will give you your money back if you paid cash, or credit your account if paid by plastic.

Well, I purchased a GPS for my car, a Tom Tom XL.S from 'Best Buy'. They have a policy that it must be returned within 14 days for a refund!

So after 4 days I returned it in the original box with all the items in the box, with paper work and cords all wrapped in the plastic. Just as I received it, including the receipt.

I explained to the lady at the return desk I did not like the way it could not find store names. The lady at the refund desk said there is a 15% restock fee for items returned. I said no one told me that. I said how much would that be. She said it goes by the price of the item. It will be $45 for you. I said, all you're going to do is walk over and place it back on the shelf then charge me $45 of my money for restocking? She said that's the store policy. I said if more people were aware of it they would not buy anything here! If I bought a $2,000 computer or TV and returned it I would be charged a $300 restock fee? She said yes, 15%.

I said OK, just give me my money minus the restock fee.

She said since the item is over $200, she can't give me my money back!!!

Corporate has to and they will mail you a check in 7 to ten days. I said 'WHAT?!'

It's my money! I paid in cash! I want to buy a different brand. Now I have to wait 7 to 10 days. She said the policy is on the back of the receipt.

I said, Do you read the front or back of your receipt? She said well, the front! I said so do I. I want to talk to the manager!

So the manager comes over, I explained everything to him, and he said, Well, sir, they should have told you about the policy when you got the item. I said, No one has ever told me about the check refund or restock fee, whenever I bought items from computers to TVs from Best Buy. The only thing they ever discussed was the worthless extended warranty program. He said, Well, I can give you the corporate phone number.

I called corporate. The guy said, well, I'm not supposed to do this but I can give you a $45 gift card and you can use it at Best Buy. I told him if I bought something and returned it, you would charge me a restock fee on the item and then send me a check for the remaining $3. You can keep your gift card, I'm never shopping in Best Buy ever again, and if I would of been smart, I would of charged the whole thing on my credit card! Then I could have canceled the transaction.

I would of gotten all my money back including your stupid fees! He didn't say a word!

I informed him that I was going to e-mail my friends and give them a heads up on this store's policy, as they don't tell you about all the little caveats.

So please pass this on. It may save your friends from having a bad experience of shopping at Best Buy

It's true! read it for yourself!!

Takeaways to Consider

  • As a result of this letter, I will think twice about ever shopping at Best Buy.
  • If this letter was forwarded—and re-forwarded—around the world, tens of thousands of wary prospects will drive right past Best Buy make a point of shopping at Wal-Mart, Target or Radio Shack.
  • It is assumed that you analyze your customers every which way to Sunday. The simplest formula in the direct marketing community is recency-frequency-monetary value (RFM). (Other highly sophisticated systems are available and should be looked into.)
  • Divide customers into quintiles, with the top quintile being your caviar and cream.
  • The bottom quintile is very likely costing you money.
  • The object of marketing is to move customers in the second quintile into the first quintile, the third quintile customers into the second quintile and so on.
  • In direct marketing, it is relatively easy to control the bottom quintile by marketing to it with less frequency, but keeping the addresses current so you can make money off of list rentals.
  • In retail, the bottom quintile is a nightmare. It's tough to keep undesirable customers out of stores. One possibility is to divide the bottom quintile into its own quintile with the bottom two-fifths—the serial returners and shysters whom you do not want as customers—dealt with firmly.
  • This must be handled with great delicacy. Otherwise consumer activist groups can get on your case and create a flurry of poor publicity.
  • When you go to www.bestbuysux.org, you will find that Best Buy owns it and has turned it into a sales pitch for its products and services.
  • You may want to own the following URLs: www.[YourCompanyName]sucks.org and www.[YourCompanyName]sux.org and follow Best Buy’s example.
  • It used to be axiomatic that a happy customer will tell three people; an unhappy customer will tell 11 others. Today, with the Internet, an unhappy customer can tell the entire world.

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