Famous Last Words: The Selling of TSA Precheck
TSA Precheck Website
The Homeland Security folks wanted to sell us on joining TSA Precheck. I went online and discovered if we visited any of 250 application centers nationwide, filled out an application, showed some government ID, gave them fingerprints and parted with $85, we could be part of the TSA Precheck program.
The Federal Government Is an Abysmal Salesman
I saw the following line on the site: "Not sure which [Department of Homeland Security] DHS Trusted Traveler program is right for you? View a comparison chart of the four DHS Trusted Traveler programs."
Here's where the Feds' marketing falls apart: Four different programs—one TSA program and three customs and border protection programs—are offered, ranging in price from $50 to $122.25. The chart was confusing as hell.
Too many choices; would I need TSA Precheck to cover me for overseas travel, or would I have to enroll in a second program? And which one? Further, all fees cover five years—a huge selling point which the amateur writer failed to mention in the early promo. So $85 is really a good deal!
Takeaways to Consider
- If you are a competent direct marketer, the government needs your skills.
- Always use professionals. Going with the lowest bidder is lousy policy.
- Don't offer too many choices.
- "Confuse 'em, ya lose 'em." —Paul Goldberg
Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is "Write Everything Right!" Visit him at dennyhatch.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.