The Supreme Insult to Me From Jeff Bezos
As a 10+ years customer of Amazon with a flawless payment record and a history of never returning a book or anything else—and having just spent $359 on a highly questionable new gizmo—Jeff Bezos tells me:
“I will not send you this book, because you might stiff me for $9.99.”
In terms of a marketing cycle, this was a delicate moment. I was looking for affirmation and a long-term relationship with Kindle—hopefully the purchase of hundreds of books. Bezos chose to hit me in the face with a lemon cream pie.
I mean, in the unlikely event that I did stiff him for $9.99, what would he lose? Not paper, printing, binding or shipping. A single volt of electricity and some wireless air time!
“To be a successful direct marketer, you must be a conceptual thinker,” said Lew Smith, my first mentor in the business. “Like method acting, you have to get inside the head of your prospect and BECOME the prospect. Think how your prospect thinks ... Feel what your prospect feels.”
As Seattle guru Bob Hacker pointed out:
You must think through the entire sales process. Nothing can be taken for granted at any stage of the relationship, from the clicking onto the Web site or the opening of the envelope to the act of giving the credit card number or putting a check in the mail all the way through to the 10th renewal and beyond.
I have long said that one reason for the great dot-com implosion of 2000 was that the hotshot 20-somethings who dreamed up the protocols were totally unschooled in the rules of marketing. “This is a new medium and a new paradigm,” they told us geezers. “Old rules are out the window along with you old marketers. We make up the rules as we go along.”