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Marketing Fail – Are You Guilty of Overcomplicating Processes in Your Business?

By Holly Reisem Hanna

I love going to my nearby chain bakery/cafe, they have great food, free WIFI, and lots of space for me to work or have a leisurely lunch with friends. Not too long ago they offered me a rewards card, where you can earn free goodies simply by using this card and redeeming points.

Who doesn’t love free?!

So, I graciously accepted the card, which I was told that I would need to register online; no big deal.

Months went by, and every time I went there, they would ask me if I had a rewards card. Which I would reply, “Yes, but I haven’t registered it yet”. I don’t know how many times I went there and repeated this scenario, but it was a lot.

Finally, after about nine months of having the card, I pulled it out of my wallet and registered it online. The process took less than five minutes and within an hour I received an email confirmation saying that they card was good to go, AND that I had earned a free goodie for completing the process.

It just so happens that I went there the very next day. When they asked me if I had my rewards card, I excitedly replied, “Yes”! The cashier scanned my rewards card and then told me that it hadn’t been registered yet. I kindly asked her to try again, letting her know that I had just registered it and even received an email confirmation stating it was ready for action. She tried again and still nothing. She then handed me back my card and told me that I would need to register it again.

Frustrated, I said, “That’s okay, I don’t need the card, it’s way too complicated”.

Many times business owners have good intentions and nifty ideas, but they overcomplicate processes by making their customers jump through too many hoops, and in turn they end up frustrating and losing customers. I’m sure you’ve seen numerous examples of this online. Like bloggers who host giveaways and then have fifty methods of entry… Like me on Facebook, tweet here, share over there, sign up here – exhausting! Or what about newsletter signups that require every little detail about your life, then they make you double and triple confirm your subscriptions for multiple lists, draining!

So before you go down a complicated and a potentially expensive road, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need to have or use this process?
  • How can I make this simpler?
  • What are my competitors doing, and how can I improve it?
  • What is my goal with this marketing practice?
  • Are then any unnecessary steps that I can alleviate?
  • How will this benefit my customer? How will this benefit my business?
  • If I was Martha Stewart, how would she handle this?

By asking yourself the appropriate questions, and taking some time to think the process through, you can create a win-win situation for your business and your customers.

Have you ever dealt with a complicated business process? What did you do?

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4 Responses to “Marketing Fail – Are You Guilty of Overcomplicating Processes in Your Business?”

  1. 1

    Paying Time Warner internet bill online = PAIN. After trying a few times, I started paying them over the phone.

    A few months after, I received an email where they stated that they improved the process. It required a new registration and after spending about 10 minutes, it gave an error. I guess I’ll just keep calling, often late, to pay the bill.

  2. 2
    Britt Anderson says:

    I too hate having to like, tweet, fan, spread the word, etc just to enter something….but as a business owner, it sure does help if I can get new fans/followers/etc. Do the benefits to requiring all of that outweigh the possible alienation of fans? Or does requiring people to do that not really give us any real advantage?

    • 2.1

      I think having a couple of methods of entry is fine, just don’t over do it. As far as building your audience, I’m not sure how relevant it is as far as targeting your specific audience. I’ve participated in a couple of cash giveaways, where entrants were required to sign up for my newsletter. What I’ve found is that the people that signed up through these giveaways weren’t really interested in my niche, but just getting something free. What has your experience been?

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