Should You Market Against Your Own Services?

Here’s a tale about a counterproductive ad that completely slipped under the marketing department’s noses. Don’t make the same mistake…

I used to do some of my banking at the credit union I worked for. One day I was in line to make a withdrawal at one of the branches. I saw a direct deposit ad put up by our marketing department. It was placed where everyone waiting in line could see it.

After I read it, I had misgivings and became more disappointed with it as the day went along. I reported what I thought was wrong with the ad to marketing. They agreed and that ad was not to be seen again.

I was rewarded $50 for spotting it, and the credit union saved some of its reputation. Here’s what the headline said…

“Why wait in long lines at the credit union on payday?”

Now its a good reason for anyone depositing a work check to open a direct deposit account. The ad gives the big benefit…

So what could be wrong with it?

Well think about what people waiting in a line would think when they see that ad. They may start thinking…

“yeah, long lines. hmmmm this credit union does have long lines, even THEY admit it. Maybe they don’t care about my time that much…”

The ad blatantly implies “this credit union has long lines” in the subtext.

Now I don’t need go into the many reasons why long lines are not a boon to customer satisfaction or premier customer service.

Look at the spectacle they created. They were promoting direct deposit at the expense of branch service!

Oh yeah! Now that’s a winning strategy!

I can see customer service make an ad in response “Why use our lagging credit union website when you can get your statement in the branch right when you ask for it?”

Thankfully, marketing got the point. The new headline said “Where do you prefer to spend your lunch hour on payday?”

Ahhhh…much better.

So don’t make this mistake when promoting your business, or business products.

Promote how your customers will benefit from your new product without putting down some other aspect of your business operations.

If they replace another product or service of your business, don’t bring up that product or service (that itself sort of implies the product is replaced)

I mean, why wouldn’t McDonalds put out an ad with the headline…

“Why dig an early grave from our cheeseburger and fries when you can enjoy our fresh, healthy McSalads instead?”