Friday, August 9, 2019

Kohls, CVS and Marketing Programs that could be Better

Marketing is supposed to deepen customer relationships. Unfortunately, much marketing fails because it is not truly helpful to customers - the lifeblood of any business or organization.

When marketing is grounded in customer service, good things happen.

Do your customer service and operations policies support customer service? They should. And if they don't, they're undermining your marketing message.

Bad Examples: The Brands I Love to Hate

I know quite a few customers who have love-hate relationships with Kohl's and CVS because of those companies' preferred shopper programs. Both companies severely discount products to the point that they decrease value; the unintentional message they send is that customers should never pay the "full" price for anything in the store.

CVS's constant couponing is not only sending the wrong message to customers, it's got to be annoying the heck out of CVS associates. 

The employee - ever cheerful! at least at my local stores -  has to scan the shopper's loyalty card, scan any paper coupons, access coupons online, and then sort it all out. 

In the process, sometimes the line at CVS feels a little like the waning minutes of a garage sale or closing time at the farmer's market stand. As the cashier sorts through various discounts, and associated rules (no, this is on sale so you can't use the coupon...this is the wrong only got one...),  customers sometimes try to negotiate. And who wins? 

This probably sounds familiar to Kohl's shoppers, who know that Kohl's Cash can be used for anything in the store (but those expiration dates are set in stone) (unless the manager says otherwise) while the (constant stream of) 10, 20, and 30% off offers cannot be used on certain brands (Nike, UnderArmor, and about anything I might be shopping for on any given day.).

In other words, it's a game. It's a game to get shoppers to return to the store at least monthly  - and it works. But, I say it doesn't develop customers who are loyal to either brand. Both programs train shoppers to frequent stores and try to best the system...get the lowest price...quite often ending up in a negotiation (or outright argument) with store personnel.

Who really wins that game?

Not the customer.
Not the store employee.
And ultimately, not the brand or the company.

Imagine a company that rewards customers for doing business by being helpful, easy to work with, and offering good customer service and a fair value?

Crazy, right?

If that's how you'd like to build your business, get in touch here or contact Nurture Marketing & Communications