Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Poorly Timed Price Increase

We're getting started with a new client this week, one who's been on our "dream list" for as long as we've been in business. This is one of the larger independent, retail merchants in Charleston and one of the most respected companies in the region. The owners are community leaders in every sense. Any marketing firm in America would give their right arm to have this company as a client.

So how did we get in the door?

It seems that about five years ago, their advertising agent tried to push a 15% price increase on them. His request came at a very inopportune time. The client's business was down, store traffic was down at the time and (in their estimation) the advertising program had failed them. Imagine their umbrage when this guy came in demanding a higher retainer for his services!

In the words of the owner, "That must have happened about 4 or 5 years ago, but I still haven't gotten over it. He blew it that day."

Today, store traffic has sagged again. This time the guy's gone. Now's our time chance, our time to shine!

Thankfully, the owners called us and said, "Traffic is down 30%, and we need help. What can you do for us?" [You'll hear more about our program for them in the weeks and months ahead!]

There are several key lessons to be learned from this case for those of us in marketing and sales:

1- Watch your timing on requests for price/rate increases. Take time to assess what the view looks like from the client's side of the table, before you ask for more.

2- Customers are emotional creatures who hold on to things. Our new customer still feels the emotion and insult that stemmed from the ad man's attempted price increase from five years ago.

3- You can blow it and never even know it. It may take a while for you to find out why; you may not ever find out what you did to lose the business.

4- Persistence pays off. We've courted this client for four years, sometimes gently - sometimes more directly. They weren't ready ... the timing was not right ... until this month.

Who's that prospect that's been on your "dream list" for years? Have you contacted them lately? If not, give it another run. Now might just the time for you to get your shot.

Go get 'em!


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