Promotions…Who Should You Reward?

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I recently saw the following information pop into my social media stream:

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As someone who has run a business, I hate these kinds of promotions and ads.  I want your opinion on this as well.  I will lay out my thoughts, and then welcome your comments back, if you are so inclined.

First, I understand full well that as a business you always need to be looking to bring in more clients and more business.  I get that, I just don’t think that this is the way that you should do it.  Let me explain my thought process:

  1. The primary reason that I do not like this style is that you alienate your current customer.  You treat them poorly and demonstrate that since you are already a customer, you have no value to us as a business.  These are the people that have already committed to you and your service.  They should be who you are taking care of first and foremost.  By always offering things to people who switch teams, you are sending a clear message of neglecting those that have been with you for a prolonged period of time.  I would rather see a company find a way to constantly reward longevity…not newness.
  2. The second reason, I don’t like this, is a direct result of reason 1.  When you do something like this, your competitor will probably do something similar and now you lose a large portion of those customers that you neglected.  That one is pretty simple.
  3. Reason number 3…I agree with Seth Godin when he talked about people being highly unlikely to switch tribes.  That is to say, if someone likes the way Gym A operates, it will be hard to convince them that Gym B’s way is better.  People do not generally switch tribes.  So don’t go after getting people to switch just because, give your current tribes more reasons to stay.  Let them talk to the people of other tribes and help make your argument.

So there you have my rant for the day in a nutshell.  Instead of spending your time, energy and resources on converting people, help them take notice of how much you reward those people who stick with you.  If you are a telecommunications company offer a 5% discount every year that they remain with you.  If you are a gym owner, give them a free private session for every year they have been with you or a discount on their rate.  Get them talking about how well they are taken care of.  The more they talk, the more others will listen and want to be treated that way…then your tribe might just be a little more appealing.