Opinion  

Time to give your marketing message a good work-out

Gill Cardy

Back to the gym again today. It really is salutary. On 30 January 2014 I get an email saying: “Congratulations. You have reached our silver tier of rewards!” After five years of membership? About time!

“If you haven’t already your new membership card is ready to pick up at your club (why would I have done, given that I’m many things but not a mind-reader?). New cards will be ready for collection after the 5th of each month.”

Well, that would be another reason why I haven’t picked up my card, given that you sent me the email on 30 January and by your own admission it is not going to be ready to be collected for another six days.

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“You now have access to greater discount at our café bar and more guest passes – It’s our way of saying thank you.”

What discount? How do I get it? And why do you keep thinking that handing out guest passes is a reward for me when it is just a marketing tool for you to recruit new members?

At the gym reception on 11 February, nearly two weeks after this email and one week after the cards are supposed to be ready for collection, I pop in to collect my new upgraded membership card.

“We give it to you when your existing one stops working,” I’m told.

“When will that be?”

“I don’t know, but we have the cards here so will be able to give it to you straight away.”

“So if you have the cards ready, and the email says they will be ready after 5 February, why can’t you give it to me now?”

“That’s not how we do it.”

“But that’s not what the email says, and it actually invites me to come into the club to collect my card.”

“We don’t send those emails.”

“I realise that, but perhaps you could tell your manager or head office that their email is telling members to do something that is not reflected in practice, which is not consistent and creates unnecessary ill will, which you have to deal with, when it could be so easily resolved by simply changing the email so it says what you actually do.”

“We don’t write those emails.” [I want to cry.]

It’s so easy to give the impression that you have no idea what you are doing, and unbelievably easy (and cheap) to get it right. And when clients do not have to spend their money, at the gym or at the financial planner, no one can afford to get it so wrong.

Gill Cardy is network development director of Validpath