Published March 21, 2007
Read this article over at the Credibility Branding Blog. Apparently Ducati, the Italian motorcycle company, decided to drop its advertising budget and spend the money on more customer-centric projects.
The company, which saw sales increase 16% in North America–including a 50% spike in Canada–last year, has done so while all but eliminating its internal marketing department and focusing on communications, events, PR and relationships with dozens of independent clubs of “Ducatisti” or Ducati owners.
If you’re a marketer, does this news scare you or excite you?
Personally, I’m pumped!
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I (along with a talented web programmer) created a quiz for my company that generates leads for my department. Well, I have some good news. Within a week’s time the quiz has generated $1,290 worth of leads for the company! And that’s with virtually no promotion! That may not sound like a lot but multiply that total by the 52 weeks in a year minus very little development time. Now those are pretty cool numbers!
The quiz will be shown in the company’s newsletter next week and we are going to produce a radio spot that mentions it as well. Hopefully that will increase leads and revenue for the quiz! Stay tuned for more on this.
REI, the outdoor/adventure retail chain, knows how to keep their customers happy. They offer every person who enters one of their stores an opportunity to place membership. The membership is lifetime and only has a one-time charge of $15 dollars during signup. Trust me, it’s a sweet deal. Why? When you become a member of REI, the store sends you a 10% refund on all of your purchases at the end of the year. The refund can go towards any purchase at an REI store or you can turn it in for cash! I just became a member in December and I am already going to receive over $40.
But REI doesn’t stop there. They give back to the community and the outdoors by supporting hundreds of local efforts to preserve and protect the lands that adventure seekers love. For example, REI stores partner with local groups to improve local areas and trails. And by partnering I don’t mean they make a contribution to the group, even though they do that too. I mean that store employees get together in groups and go out to do the work themselves.
Yes, REI is company that not only believes in what it preaches but practices it as well. Many other businesses would do well to follow their example. By having such programs in place, they have made me a lifetime customer. That’s the genius of their membership program and why REI has over 2.5 million active members.
Published April 28, 2006
I was studying at my local Starbucks (I have about three in my immediate area) the other day and I overheard a unique conversation. This conversation took place between a patron and a barrista. The patron, obviously a regular customer due to his reception at the bar, was commenting on how he did not understand the success of Starbucks. “How can a company be so successful by charging three dollars for a cup of coffee when a person can buy the same drink for seventy-nine cents from the convenience store,” he asked. The barrista warmly smiled back and said, “I don’t know.” After a few more minutes of conversation, the two waved to each other and said their good-byes. It was at this moment that I started to smile because the answer to the patron’s question was staring him in the face, he was just too blind (or too close) to see it. The answer is great customer relations.
An old girlfriend of mine, who worked at Starbucks, told me that employees are instructed during training to remember the regulars’ names and to be friendly and energetic towards everyone. Thus the employees help produce a friendly, casual atmosphere. So friendly that many people rather meet their friends at Starbucks than at their own homes!
Starbucks employees are generally very helpful as well. I have seen customer after customer ask barristas how to make their favorite drink at home. Every barrista asked has always taken the time to thoroughly describe the process and has never said, “Sorry, I’m too busy.” I have even seen barristas give free drinks and various drink related trinkets to regular customers.
Starbucks obviously values great customer relations. Unlike many companies who claim that good customer relations is priority-one but often fail to prove it, Starbucks continually lives up to this claim. That is why they are successful. Well, that and good coffee!
Tags: PR, Public Relations, Marketing, Communications