07 December 2006

Be wary of too much business

Once you know how much business you want you can start marketing and advertising to attract it. There are a few concerns in this area and one of the biggest is the problem associated with attracting too much business, yes that’s right – too much business. A couple of stories follow that illustrate my point:

A friend of mine was involved in building a large Oceanarium. The launch of the attraction was very big with hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on enticing crowds for the opening day. Well the crowds came – far more than the Oceanarium had allowed for and the result was that the day was a disaster. People were stuck in queues for hours, the crush of the crowds was crazy, the restaurants ran out of food, children were lost, people fainted and so on.

It took a long time for this attraction to rebuild its reputation. The grand opening was a financial success but a complete failure in terms of long-term marketing. The crowds left after a disappointing experience and consequently they told their family and friends not to bother visiting the attraction because it was a shambles.

Another short story that I have found fascinating has to do with smoking. A friend recently tried to stop smoking following an intensive advertising campaign from the QUIT line on television. The graphic blood and gore advertisements were too much and the quit line seemed to be a fabulous support for anyone trying to give up the dreaded nicotine. The advertisement worked and my friend made the decision to quit on the spot.

After a week without cigarettes she had a moment of weakness and decided that she needed help quickly – no problems. A quick call to the QUIT line and everything will be OK. She called the line, was put on hold for ten minutes and then a rather rude lady said that she couldn’t help now but someone would call back soon.

Seven days later someone called, apologising about the delay and protesting that the extra advertising had made them so busy that they could not cope with the thousands of calls they were getting every day. By this stage my friend had given up and she still smokes to this day.

There is a valuable lesson to be learned. If you start to do a lot of marketing make certain that your business can cope with the increase. All businesses want the phone to be running hot but few can cope with a sudden increase in business without making at least a few operational changes.

New customers that come to your business as a result of your marketing activity will be testing you to see if you can deliver what you promise. If you don’t impress them the first time around you may never get the opportunity to try again.

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