Author of "This Is Rage" and "Endless Encores"

Posts made in December, 2018

But We’ve Always…

By on Dec 3, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

It’s December. For those of us who make our living in any form of consumer business, that usually means two things: We have made it through Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with our projections now being evaluated against actuals. In less than a month it will be a new year, where we can either make the same mistakes again or invent new ones. That leads to two takeaways I would like you to consider before the year ends: Customer behavior tells us almost everything we need to know to be successful in business, particularly when we study data and benchmark assumptions against metrics. We ignore the realities of customer behavior at our own peril, but darn it all if we don’t come up with really good reasons to flagrantly repeat our mistakes with passion and conviction. How does our eye come off the ball precisely when it is crossing the plate and our bat is in swinging position? It all begins with three wretched words: BUT WE’VE ALWAYS. Perhaps you’ve heard a few of these pronouncements before: I know our customers complain when we send them too many emails, but we’ve always sent them at least four offers on Thanksgiving Day. I know our customers don’t trust our pricing, but we’ve always jacked up our regular prices in the weeks before Christmas so we can mark them “50% off.” I know it’s irrational to cover the cost of free expedited shipping and lose money on every sale, but we’ve always managed to convince our boss that losing money is the only way we can compete with Amazon. I know our brand promise is what matters most to our company, but we’ve always managed to slip in a few low-quality products with our best inventory to even out our margins. I know we believe our customers are loyal and have a lifetime value, but we’ve always cut our customer service costs to force our bottom line into compliance with our budget. Yep, we know what we are doing is wrong, but we’ve always found a way to justify our shortcomings, weak logic, or poor decision-making because we’re out of time, out of patience, or out of energy to argue for...

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