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Campaigns not worth the pay off (2️⃣ examples)

marketing examples

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Happy Wednesday, Earth Folk. Today’s Feature Story gets into the question of “Is it worth the money.” I’ve got two examples of decent revenue being generated that might have been better off not generated at all. After that, we get into…

  • The Knowledge Base (includes gift tactics & getting chosen)
  • Self Help 
  • Facts & Stats 
  • Get Hacking (drop it)

Ok, let’s see if the money is worth it for every marketing campaign or strategy.

Our Two Marketing Examples

These two involve totally different ventures.

A non-profit and a convenience store.

The first marketing example we’ll look at is for the store. 

My buddy owned the convenience store (mainly beer, no gas) for about 14 years. The first two years were a slow start but he ramped up and did well afterward, eventually selling the business and retiring at 50 years old.

One of the biggest draws to his store? Cheap sodas. 50 cents for name-brand cans. 85 cents for bottles. You know those cost at least double at any gas station. Shoppers who didn’t drink beer or need a payroll check cashed came just for the cheap Coke and Pepsi products.

A lot of foot traffic arrived daily from this “loss leader.” And it wasn’t really a loss. My buddy profited from the sales since he bought the drinks wholesale and picked them up himself in his truck versus having them delivered by Coke or Pepsi.

However…

This Marketing Example Was a Ton of Work

Not only was it labor intensive, but he could have raised the prices by 50% and still had the cheapest sodas in the state!

But he thought it was cool to be unbeatable and have locals bragging about how cheap the drinks were.

What wasn’t cool about this marketing example?

  • He was constantly picking up drinks
  • Filling up his (self-owned) vending machines was tedious
  • Storage was a nightmare
  • Bad for your back hauling drinks up stairs!
  • No downtime at store for staff as drinks sold rapidly (+restocking coolers)

Overall, you could say this loss leader marketing tactic paid off. He had big sales volumes to show potential buyers when he was ready to sell the store.

However, there was just too much effort required. It was unnecessary after he had momentum and customers had built the habit of buying from him. He could’ve raised those prices to profit more and sell less. 

“Sell less” may sound crazy, but he was a hands-on business owner, so the extra work was mostly on his shoulders due to this marketing example.

Next up…

Non-profit Marketing Example

In this one, there’s no wasted effort. The person affiliated with this non-profit doesn’t do any hard work or go out of her way to generate the impressive revenue (donations) she consistently generates.

She enjoys what she does as a volunteer and apparently wants to do some good, as the organization aims to help people in tough situations. 

The problem with this marketing example? She’s a bully. A real direct person, who basically demands businesses donate money to the cause.

She may’ve been a high-pressure aluminum siding salesperson back in the day, no idea. And, I don’t see how her demanding style is successful, but it 100% is.

And you may think, “What’s the problem if she’s racking up donations?”. 

I’ve thought about that a lot. And I’m not sure if her approach is right or wrong. Though, I believe it’s a…

Short Sighted Marketing Example

Yeah, she’s helping the non-profit by getting funding and support it needs today.

But how many of those businesses are turned off by her demands after they’ve had time to think about it — after writing that check? No different than being sold a car you can’t afford by a high-pressure salesperson. That new car smell fades fast.

What kind of negative impact is this volunteer having that might linger for the next ten years? Each check she collects could be the last check.

Her abrasive style will be connected to the non-profit organization. It will stand out for some businesses and donors despite all the other great vibes given off by the organization. No different than 99 people smiling at you and the one sour-face that stands out (and whines about the heat😉) and ruins your day.

I could be wrong about both marketing examples not being worth the money or effort. Let me know what you think.

Knowledge awaits below…


The Knowledge Base 

🤔Picking new martech tools is tough – here’s guidance

Got brand awareness? Now, how to get chosen

🎁Creative gifting strategies (video)

FTC gonna smack companies for AI lies?

🤑Raising $120 million no problem (just drop outta college)

Will the end of passwords help businesses?

🗣️How Reddit affects brand reputation (more than ever)

BIMI & DMARC in plain English (podcast)

📧How to end an email (stop typing)

Now easier to get lead credits from Google (Local Service Ads)


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Start scaling now.


Self Help

The longer I write, the more I see the importance of understanding the readers (audience).

The longer I live, the more I see the importance of understanding the people around me.


Facts and Stats

  • 75% of companies still use paper checks (Association of Financial Professionals)
  • Consumers are willing to pay a fee to receive a refund/rebate instantly versus waiting (PYMNTS) 
  • Bots compose 42% of overall web traffic & 65% of these bots are malicious (Akamai Technologies)

Bonus: Kroger seeing 18% increase in __________ compared to last year. Answer: digital coupons clipped


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Get Hacking

Today’s Hack

You’ll love this one. Unless you’re a stage-5 clinger.

Give up on something that isn’t worth your time or effort. Might be a certain ad campaign or a whole social media platform. Ditch it just to free yourself up a little, or replace it with something that might have a better ROI.

Cutting your losses is smart sometimes. My Dad gave that advice to a builder he did painting work for…

“Steve, this delusional couple will never be satisfied with the work. You should write them a check for $25k and wash your hands of this.”

Steve didn’t listen. He wasted several months of effort on those two unhinged homeowners and about $30k out of his pocket (they were never satisfied).


If you know another heroic marketer with a swole brain, share Inbox Hacking with them. Thanks for reading.

Shane McLendon, Copy Kingpin – Inbox Hacking