Watering Down the Message: 3 Marketing Mistakes from Maker's Mark
2. If You Want Loyal Customers, You Have to be Loyal
Would you call up a reliable customer who regularly ordered the same calendar year after year and excitedly tell them that you were able to reduce the paper quality of the product, allowing you to sell more of the items to other people? That's what Maker's Mark did in the press release issued to customers and the media. It touted a change in the beloved formula as a benefit, because it would allow the company to overcome a shortage of product. The problem? The "shortage" wasn't domestic, but a result of the expansion to India and other international markets. The company took away the steak then offered back the bone, expecting users to be grateful. The lesson here is simple: Don't sell out your most loyal customers for the prospect of new ones.
3. Don't Assume Any Press Is Good Press
Promotional products are a marketing medium: at their core, they exist to spread awareness of a brand. If those products are able to gain mainstream press and spread that brand awareness further, they are considered exceptionally successful... that is, unless they're in the press due to a gross misspelling or for injuring consumers. February's announcement and subsequent reaction is the most exposure Maker's Mark has ever received and it was entirely negative; someone just discovering the company is immediately left with a bad taste in their mouth. The press did more harm than good for the brand, and chairman Bill Samuels, Jr. has described the period as "the worst four or five days in my life." Listen to what your client is asking you for, and if you think it could backfire if it got out to the wrong audience, advise them to take a different path; what may seem like a smart promotion to your client could be seen as offensive to someone else.