So You Want Us to Beat a Path to Your Door?

An Awesome Promotion IS:

Designed entirely from the customer’s perspective, for convenience and delight.

Truthful. With no requirements, no small print, no confusion, no trickery, it enhances the company’s credibility.

A giveaway that will be talked about, both before and after it happens: something so rare, it becomes a buzz-worthy event!

A sampling of what the company offers, introducing them to new guests and rewarding loyal customers with a free treat.

More than a sales drive: an awesome promotion is a great Customer Experience.

I’ll Have Mine Well-Done

Today, a great story of promotion done to perfection, from comments on Saturday’s Tip of the Week. I was so wowed, I started to write a response with all my thoughts about the incentive being offered. It got long.  🙂  This subject deserves a post of its own, so I’ll let author and blog friend Friar start us off:

Turns out Harvey’s restaurant is giving out free burgers tomorrow (at least, around my area).

It might be a promo thing, for an anniversary or something.

But the ad in the paper said no coupons, no other purchase. Just come in and get a free burger.

Wow…now THAT is good deal (and smart marketing). Because almost everyone will probably buy fries and a drink on the side anyway,

Hmmmm…think I’ll go (But just for the burger!)

On Sunday, Friar turned in his follow-up report:

Well, that burger promo at Harvey’s was exactly as they said. A free burger…no coupons, no strings attached.

I went through drive-through, ordered one, and they said my total was “Zero” (Sweetest words I’ve never heard!)

I think it was a brilliant marketing ploy. The place was jam-packed, with wall-to-wall people, lined up outside the door.

Some (like me) just went for the free burger. But many, as I predicted, also bought the fries and drinks (especially the families with kids). I don’t think they lost any money.

What’s funny, is a burger is only worth a few bucks. But give it away for free, and everyone (including me) will be beating a path to their front door.

This is brilliant Experience Design.

Take This to Go: What Harvey’s Did Right

1. Put it in the paper in advance, but not too far in advance. What day? Tomorrow. You don’t want to give folks a chance to forget or come in on the wrong day, which might build resentment.

2. Skip the coupon. Lots of people read the ad just like Friar. They almost can’t believe it, and they want to share the information with someone. Telling a friend that they have to go find a paper and get a coupon will wreck the buzz. They’ll tell fewer people, knowing they’re adding a chore to their friend’s day. The way Harvey’s did it, they’re helping you be the hero to your friends. You can tell them about a steal!

Now, viral marketing (“buzz”) takes over. Friar spread the message from Canada to greater Philadelphia, USA, and to [where are you?], too. Most folks in his area are going to tell several people whom they run into. Words like “zero” and “no strings attached” travel fast.

3. As Friar said, “almost everyone will probably buy fries and a drink on the side anyway.” Even if it’s just the soda, that’s the highest-margin item on anyone’s menu. The cup costs more than what they put in it, literally.

The funny thing is, if they gave away the soda (on the theory that they wouldn’t be losing much money) no one would come in. They don’t travel to a burger joint for a drink. They have to give away the hamburger for it to work.

4. The right size incentive should still leave something to the imagination. How many people will go in, read the wonderful menu (I haven’t been, so I’m hoping for their sake the menu is great), and say, oh, now I don’t want that little burger for free, I’ll have the Super-Avalanche Burger instead?

5. People feel obligated when you give them something for nothing. It seems risky, but it’s a fabulous way to introduce yourself and create good feelings in your guests that will last far beyond that day.

Folks who did come in, will be back if the rest of the Experience lives up to this event. Folks who didn’t come in, will be nagged by what they missed, and will come give them a try on another day, because of the goodwill such an honest gesture created.

Pretty smart advertising, if you ask me.

Kudos to Harvey’s.

Kudos and thank you to Friar, for the buzz I couldn’t resist expanding on today.

What do you think of Harvey’s promotion? Would you take the (possible) short-term loss for long-term gains?

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson