The devil is in the details

My friend Cindy says I’m unusual. While all my friends say I’m peculiar, Cindy’s comment seems to apply to my still getting two local newspapers delivered to my home daily.

On July 1, one of those newspapers proffered a sticker coupon for 25 percent off at an area restaurant. Tempting — but impractical. The coupon had expired before delivery. Obviously someone goofed. Was it the ad agency? The printer? The newspaper’s production department?

Though there is undoubtedly plenty of finger-pointing now taking place, we may never know the truth.

Regardless of the actual perpetrator, the client — who authorized the job before it went into production — must take ultimate responsibility. The client paid the price in lost sales for this oversight.

Theoretically there will be a make-good — a repeat distribution with a corrected coupon — at little or no cost to the client.

Stuff happens, of course, as Best Foods learned when it distributed several hundred thousand sample pouches of salad dressing in the Sunday NY Times. The newspapers, each weighing 4 to 5 pounds, were tossed from moving vehicles at 75 mph. The samples exploded and consumers blamed Best Foods for not planning their distribution intelligently.

Your business can avoid these kinds of problems with a production flowchart. Use it to document every step involved getting your offer from drawing board to consumer. Verify every logistic, date, cost, and responsible person, and do it early while there’s still time to make necessary changes.

In other words, anticipate your problems and prevent them from becoming expensive headaches.

Comprehensive quality control efforts typically include a dry run of fulfillment, such as mailing packages to see what condition they arrive in. Taking an extra few days up-front is a smarter investment than paying expenses associated with cleaning up a bad promotion later.

If Best Foods had made these advance efforts, they wouldn’t have upset prospective customers, had to pay to replace thousands of Sunday newspapers, or taken a hit to their reputation.

If our local restaurateur had planned more carefully, those coupons would have generated sales instead of complaints. It’s like my mom always tells me: “There’s never enough time to do it, but always enough time to do it right.”

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Mr. Marketing insists on reviewing every program’s results to improve future marketing efforts. Get his help at www.askmrmarketing.com.

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Sep 5 2012. Filed under Ask Mr. Marketing, Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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