Punishing Loyalty: Rewarding First-Time Customers

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 2.27.39 PM

Let’s face it: Nothing says “We value our longtime customers” like making a discount available only to first-time customers. .

Let’s call it the First-Time Flyer approach: instead of encouraging loyalty among customers by rewarding them for it, the First-Time Flyer approach seeks to reward new customers for abandoning one of their competitors.

The mindset which focuses on gaining new customers by imposing costs on long-established ones is widespread.

You call an internet service provider to arrange web access in your new home or apartment. It’s explained to you that as a first-time customer you are eligible for a special discounted rate, one not available to those chumps who have been customers for as long as there’s been an Internet.

The next time you visit your local grocery store, consider the “15 items or less” sign above the check-out. Set aside that it should read “15 items or fewer“: the mindset encapsulated in such signs is crystal clear: “We aim to reward those the most who are profiting us the least”.

Imagine shopping at a grocery store where such signs are replaced with ones which read “Customers Shopping With Us For Three Years Or More”. I’d wager that such a sign would encourage first-time customers to become longtime customers. (I’d also wager that the novelty of such a rewards program would prompt some customers to take pictures of such signs and share them on social media.

Then you’re really in business.

Return to daviDDeeble.com or watch my most-recent performance at the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach.

Adding Value

VALUEYou go to a comedy club to see some comedians you’ve never heard of and who ends up doing a set but Jerry Seinfeld. Seinfeld benefits only little from the set – maybe he’s not getting paid and the short time he spends onstage helps only little to hone his set – but the value he ads to the show and your experience is incalculable.

In the same way, things have tremendous to your clients and others that cost you virtually nothing. A $5 bill left on the nightstand has a lot more value to the woman who cleans your hotel room than what it costs you.

How many ways can you add similar value to your product or service on behalf of your clients?

Return to daviDDeeble.com or watch me tell jokes about my wife.

Today in False Choices: People Versus Profits

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 3.42.32 PM

Consulting with corporations about the importance of putting “people before profits” is mutually beneficial to both speaker and corporation: the latter is afforded cheap virtue and the former an expensive lifestyle. In the world of speaking and corporate consulting, espousing the people-before-profits narrative is, as with authenticity and diversity, simply good business practice.

This value-for-value model is lost on the very same speakers who take it for granted that profits are suspect in and of themselves. These self-styled experts fail to see that, unlike President Obama’s facile description of the tension between liberty and security, people v. profits really is a false choice. Yet companies throughout the U.S. are happy to self-flagellate before speaker after speaker, pretending to temporarily forget that which reality will forever remind them: that profits are a pretty darn good measure of the extent to which you have served others.

At the heart of the people-before-profits movement is a ambivalence about the dignity and morality of business. In popular culture this idea is most evident in movies and on television, where businessmen are almost invariably portrayed as either moral bankrupts (Wall Street) or courageous heroes who unveil the moral bankruptcy the business (Michael Clayton).

The Birkenstock set in particular has built an entire cottage industry around apologizing for being in business, from technology entrepreneur Kate Emery to speaker Dan Pallotta to the TED talks, where the “ideas worth spreading” overwhelmingly assume the people v. profits model.

Into this world of received wisdom enters Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments For Making Money. Lapin’s thesis is that far from being something to be ashamed of, profits should be seen for what they are: a blessing and a measure of our success serving our fellows.

Return to daviDDeeble.com or learn more about my corporate presentation.

Small Coffee Shops Adopting The Fee-Based Business Model?

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 2.56.30 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look around most coffee shops and you’ll see two types of customers. Let’s call them the Cuppa Coffees and the Cappuccinos.

The Cuppa Coffees are older and more likely to be male. They use terms like “tall” and “skinny” to describe their ideal secretary, not their coffee-based beverage. Even the term “coffee-based beverage” is alien to them. They drink coffee – and they’re lifers.

The Cappuccinos are younger and more likely to be female. Their favorite coffee-based beverages are more likely to be short stories with calories. They use terms like tall, grande, venti and skinny and are more likely to have an unhealthy relationship with caramel.

Lately I’ve noticed several small, individually-owned cafes try to increase their revenues by transforming the Cuppa Coffees into Cappuccinos. How are they going about this? By serving first-rate cappuccinos, world-class lattes and the kind of drip coffee one expects at a rural gas station. The message is loud and clear: if all you want to do is have a cup of filtered coffee you are not welcome here.

Starbucks – and larger coffee franchises generally – understand that most of the people who make the transition from filtered coffee to pumpkin spice latte have already done so. The small coffee shops I describe, on the other hand, seem to be adopting the fee-based business model of airlines: lowering the overall quality of their product in order to incentivize customers to pay fees (for carry-on bags, extra legroom, etc.)

Will it work? Leave your comments in the section below.

Return to www.daviDDeeble.com or watch me perform my Unnatural Act.

How SodaStream Might Reverse Its Fortunes By Telling A New Story

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 2.10.53 PM

Yesterday the New York Times published an article about the challenges facing SodaStream, the “once-hot device for do-it-yourself sodas”. SodaStream, according to the article, has responded to reduced sales and profits by unveiling “a new line of fruit flavorings like pomegranate açaí, green tea lychee and yuzo mandarin”. The article also outlines the difficulty SodaStream has encountered convincing Americans to make traditional soda (i.e. soft drinks) at home.

So what’s going on here? It seems to me that SodaStream is diluting its brand by telling two very different stories to two very different groups. One one hand they offer an array of exotic, healthy-sounding and unpronounceable beverages aimed at the health-concious, New Age-ists, women, etc. At the same time they promise the working-class the seemingly-irresistable allure of essentially making Red Bull at home. The disparity between these two stories might be what is causing SodaStream’s sales to flag.

So what to do?

What if SodaStream stopped telling both these stories and committed to a new, third story? The story is simple: Slake your real craving: bubbles.

It wouldn’t be difficult to find ways to make Diet Coke drinkers, for example, aware that what their bodies really crave isn’t aspartame but bubbles. Trying to convince the Mountain Dew and Red Bull crowd to make soft drinks at home is waste of time because it isn’t worth their time.

As for the yoga crowd who wouldn’t touch a can of soda with a ten-foot pole, SodaStream can offer the opportunity to make the healthiest of all beverages even more enjoyable right in the privacy of their home, not to mention the opportunity to advertise their virtue right there in the corner of their kitchen.

There are several ways to tell this new story. By reminding everyone, for example, of the adverse affects of virtually all non-water beverages on healthy teeth, SodaStream might be able to position itself as the purveyor of something remarkable: a healthy beverage that not only fills you up but does not make you think about your next trip to the dentist.

In short, SodaStream should consider getting out of the water-flavoring and pseudo-soft drink business and shake their real moneymaker: the tantalizing possibility of a perfectly-healthy beverage which also makes you feel full.

Thoughts or comments? Leave them in the section below.

Return to www.daviDDeeble.com or watch me juggle plastic grocery bags at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

Marketing 101: The Value Of Being “The Only”

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 11.09.52 AM

Thanks to the good people at “America’s Got Talent!” for the flattering photo.

In marketing – and certainly in show business – it never hurts to be able to call yourself “the one and only” of virtually anything. I am happy to inform audiences that I’m the only performer ever kicked off America’s Got Talent! by just describing my act.

The same goes for being the most, the least, the tallest, the ugliest. It piques people’s curiosity. From time to time I toy with the phrase “World’s funniest juggler” but then I realize that that’s tantamount to calling myself the world’s tallest dwarf.

Thoughts? Comments? Leave them in the section below.

Return to www.daviDDeeble.com or watch me tell jokes at the Magic Castle.