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Good idea. Bad idea.

16/04/2009

Last weekend, the weather was beautiful and the hills that I can see from my living-room window were crying out for the attention of a man and his backpack. However, my fiancé had other plans! This was the weekend we had put aside to get our gift registry sorted.

Being from the UK and South Africa, we needed a store that provided online access for overseas family members. As we’re getting married in Gisborne, we also wanted a store that had a branch in Gisborne for NZ-based family and friends without internet access. Gisborne being Gisborne, we were quite limited, so in the end we decided to have two gift registries; one at Ballantynes, a Christchurch department store with online access, and one at a nationwide homewares store with a branch in Gisborne.

Gift registries are amazing inventions. Let’s say we invite 100 people to our wedding. Now, those people are under no obligation to buy us a gift but, should they choose to do so, we are almost guaranteeing one store an extra 100 customers – possibly people who have never been in that store before. With that in mind, you’d think stores that had a registry facility would be really pushing the marketing to maximise their return. Especially with the current (so-called) recession that is affecting the retail industry.

At the nationwide store, my fiancé and I were handed a clipboard and a sheet of paper and left to wander the store. Ok, fine. Job done. Thanks very much.

However, at Ballantynes we were given the personal assistance of a dedicated staff member. This staff member, Emma, was at our service for the next two hours. Emma explained the process, gave us a tour of the store, introduced us to the helpful staff of each department, put up with our lack of decision making and even laughed at our jokes! Emma also put aside each item we pointed out, thus guaranteeing the stock would be there for our guests at the price that was displayed at the time of our visit. Knowing those products were the actual items that would appear on our list really helped us to take ownership and encourage us to keep on shopping!

The items were put online that afternoon and a thank-you e-mail was waiting for us when we got home. When we returned to the first store the next day, our list was still on the clipboard sitting under the check-out counter! Not very confidence inspiring.

On paper, both stores provided a service to meet the same goal. One store has taken that service, put it into place, clicked the “done” box on their electronic to-do list then moved onto something else. The other store has taken the same service and strategically analysed the best way to implement it to guarantee satisfaction and maximise the ROI from the whole gift-registry venture.

With the “recession”, the trap can be getting caught up in the panic and rushing headlong into marketing ventures simply because everyone else is. Generally this is based on a fear of being left behind. Companies start firing out one-off adverts left, right and centre and then wait nervously for the phone to ring.

Our speciality at Hot Pyjama Productions is actually caring about and taking pride in your marketing. Sometimes, even more than you do! If we think that an advert or other marketing tool that you would like us to create doesn’t fit your marketing strategy, even if it’s just a set of business cards, we’ll actually discuss it with you first to make sure you’re receiving the most from your investment. You may find that the money you have budgeted for one project would achieve far more if spent on an alternative project.

Essentially, we’re here to eliminate the nervousness that everyone experiences when starting a new marketing project.

It sounds simple but it’s what our clients love about us the most and what puts us ahead of our competition.

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