Monday, 24 June 2013

Marketing deception is not a way to win me as a customer

I own a car. As a requirement of owning a car that consumes petroleum fuel, I must take it in for servicing every few thousand kilometres or every six months depending on which comes first. It required during this servicing that its fluids and lubrication are changed, as well as check to see if there is any required maintenance to parts. While a bit of a hassle, it's necessary to ensure that my vehicle continues to operate for as long as it is possible.

Conveniently, a car dealership that services my brand of car is located en route to my office downtown. I choose to take my car there because the dealership where I had gotten my car in the first place is not located in a convenient spot and requires me to pay a toll to go and pay a visit. I can drop my car off at this place and they offer a nice shuttle service that will drop me off at my office. When I am done working for the day, it's just a short train and bus ride to pick up my car.

This is the relationship I expect to have with Destination Hyundai. They service my car, I pay them to service my car, I go home with my car, and business continues on as usual for all parties.

This is not the relationship I expect with Destination Hyundai. Why do I need an SMS message? Are you going to pay for the messages received on those with plans not as gracious as mine?

This is also not the relationship I expect with Destination Hyundai. Inside was 'awesome' details on 84-month financing at 0% interest with the purchase of a new car. Why do you guys think that I need a new car?

When I got the spam message, I was pretty livid and posted the above screenshot on Twitter. They were kind enough to provide me with an opt-out option, but when did I opt in to the direct marketing? When did I opt in to the deceptive letters being delivered to my mail?

After ranting about it on Twitter, I eventually got a call from one of their marketing coordinators. It was explained to me that they were really sorry about this and that I had been removed from their marketing list. Of course, I had questions for her and she was unable to answer some of these:

  • After stating that an employee at the service desk had likely selected me for being included in their marketing, I then asked if that employee was to get a 'spiv' out of the deal. Being involved with marketing, she was unable to answer that question.

  • When asking her about the physical letter I received in the mail, she told me that a third party mailer was sending these out and that she would investigate. I don't buy this one because if you're in charge of marketing, you're going to know how these are going to be sent out. It's either scummy at its finest (and I question if it is even legal but I am not a lawyer either) or the people at the helm of marketing are woefully unaware of things.

  • Lastly, a policy the dealership has is to add their own licence plate frame around the car's set (and replace the existing ones too) to advertise their business. You also have to opt-out of this and this policy of theirs ended up with their dumb frames on both my car and my girlfriend's. The coordinator was unable to explain this one to me.

Here's some context on the last point:

I didn't ask for them to install these borders. They just went ahead and installed them. When I took my car in for servicing the next time around, I requested that they removed them and so they did. When my girlfriend had her car serviced there recently, she too had the borders added to her plates (after them having removed the original dealership ones)

The licence plate one really is the one thing that makes me not believe that this me being forced to accept their marketing was a mistake. It is on this basis that I do not buy that customers are opted-out by default. This is not a relationship I wish to engage in.

So as a result, I will take the inconvenient option to get my car serviced as opposed to visiting Destination Hyundai.

1 comment:

  1. While in several job interviews I had people ask me about email marketing work I have done. They asked, specifically, how I could achieve such high open rates and stupidly high CTRs. I'd explain to them that I was extremely selective about who I emailed to, only allowed opt-ins, removed people who seemed inactive, only sent out content that I thought people would want, and never wrote overly promotional headlines.

    The result? Everywhere that I talked to scoffed at me, and a few even presumed I was lying to them. One went so far as to ask me to challenge me to produce something that could reproduce those numbers on the spot, not understanding that those successes were born not out of some sales trick, but out of providing for people.

    Permission is SUCH a foreign concept to many marketers that they don't understand how you can succeed with it. For so long marketing had almost no data behind it and so it became about getting in EVERYONEs face and throwing so much shit against the wall that eventually something had to stick, that often marketers forget that doing so makes people feel violated (god, imagine if our attitudes towards sex matched those towards marketing?).

    On a positive note, however, this is changing, and hopefully it won't get totally fucked up by people who mistake privacy for anonymity.