Organizational Change and Marketing

Many companies are now engaged in some interesting and “out there” attempts at organizational change – for example, Neiman Marcus and Target are collaborating on merchandising for the upcoming holidays. Recently, when I was checking out two make-up companies that seem to offer interesting products online, I experienced some new marketing ideas. Here’s the story of that scenario; I won’t name the companies other than Company One and Company Two. On Company One’s site, they invited you to sample their products by indicating three items that you’d like to receive samples of. On Company Two’s site, they offered an elaborate online selection process of a number of their products – and charged $15. (plus 5.50 shipping) for the “sample kit” – the implication seemed to be that the potential customer would receive a generous sampling. Because I’m writing about this, I’m sure that you can guess the results – the company that sent their samples free (shipping was free also, by the way) – Company One – sent generous sample sizes of the three items that were selected. Company Two on the other hand must have decided that they’ll be making their money on selling “sample kits” rather than products – because I can assure you that after receiving the minuscule samples I definitely won’t be placing orders with them. I, will, however be ordering from Company One. The message here is that when a company is attempting to break out of the marketing mold by making changes and presenting items in interesting ways – the online sampling opportunities is a very good marketing idea – there should be good attention paid to what is trying to be achieved. Company Two became so enamored with selling their sample kit (that is, not giving away anything, but making money on everything) that they lost sight of the real goal: to have customers buy their products. Most potential customers will do the same thing as I – throw away the skimpy samples without ever testing them – and go on to shop with a company that has a more generous spirit and engages the customer in this way. Customer loyalty is an emotional experience – as is organizational change, for the most part. Making sure that one taps into the customers’ pleasurable emotions is the goal of any new and “out there” marketing experience. Change is, indeed, difficult. And the lessons of change are very difficult to learn – as the comparison of these two companies shows.

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