Good marketing & bad marketing – all in one day

I like to champion examples of good marketing and I also like to rant about what I perceive to be bad marketing. Over the last 24 hours, one company has provided me with the opportunity to do both.

Yesterday morning I went on to an airport parking website to book parking at Bristol airport. I had done a few searches and found the most competitive price so started the booking process with this company. Part way through I got distracted by something else so left the web page open and intended to come back to it a bit later.

Good Marketing

About five minutes later I received an email from the airport parking company, let’s call them X, with the following message:

[blockquote]

Dear Customer,
Thank you for visiting X.com. As a token of our appreciation, we would like to offer you a 5% discount on your next Airport Parking booking which means if for any reason you did not manage to complete your booking today you can take advantage of this offer straight away.

All you need to do is Click Here or click the banner to use your discount now!

[/blockquote]

“Ooh” I thought, “That’s good marketing.”

Bad Marketing

I duly clicked on the link, entered my requirements and up popped the price. I was dismayed, and annoyed, to discover that my new ‘discounted’ price was more expensive than my original price!

I decided to vent my annoyance and replied to the email:

[blockquote class=”pull-right”]I’ve just tried your “5% discount” and the price came up higher than your original quote – which I was intending to purchase, I just got distracted during the payment stage. Now you’ve just annoyed me and I won’t be booking with X even if it costs me more to book elsewhere.

Bad marketing!

[/blockquote]

So, what happened next?

Good Marketing

1. Telephone Call

Shortly after sending my email I received a phone call from the email recipient. He politely explained how their booking system works and gave a credible reason for the difference in price. He then asked if I had made my car parking arrangements and offered me an additional discount.

As a result of this phone call my perception of X immediately changed from negative to positive, I was delighted to save £15 and I made a booking straight away.

Overall I was impressed with the response and my judgment of “bad marketing” was reversed. I thought this was the end of the matter.

2. Email

This morning I received an email from X’s Marketing Manager. He had been passed my email by their customer services department and was keen to explain the situation, reassure me that they take all feedback seriously and thank me for my comments.

Now I was doubly impressed, albeit a little surprised that my email had generated such a stir!

We had a friendly email exchange and I thanked him for taking the trouble to contact me.

Good v Bad Marketing

I’m being flippant here about what constitutes good or bad marketing and obviously this is just my opinion judged on a fairly superficial level. Marketing is not an exact science. What might work for 99% of your audience, can fail for the remaining 1%. In this case I was one of the 1%, so does that mean that the overall marketing approach was bad? Maybe not.

However, the most valuable lesson to take from this example is the importance of good customer service. Reacting to feedback from your customers and demonstrating that you genuinely care can change negative perceptions in an instant and turn brand critics into brand ambassadors.

Have you had any similar experiences, good or bad, that you would like to share? Please comment below.

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