The Bubble Gum Blunder: Turning a Mistake into a Marketing Opportunity!

In Customer Relationship Management by Kari SwitalaLeave a Comment

The “Bubble Gum Blunder” sounds like an intriguing title right? Well it’s actually quite a funny story (which didn’t seem too funny at the time) when I took a mistake I made and turned it into a marketing opportunity!

A New Business Opportunity…

It all happened several years ago when I was the Marketing Director at an accounting firm. We had just formed an agreement with a national franchise and were strategizing on how to best promote it to their 500+ franchisees across the country. Now you have to remember this was for an accounting firm and let’s face it, no one really wants to hear from an accounting firm so our challenge was that much greater.

In the end, we came up with a really cool, multi-medium, outreach campaign with 5 components (side note: I might be a bit biased as I created it). Our goal was to not only promote the agreement, but show them we were a “fun” accounting firm to work with and of course convert them into customers.

A snapshot of this campaign:

1. Personalized letter from the owner of the accounting firm with an overview of the program and testimonial from the national franchisee director regarding our services.

2. Postcard & Stress Ball – “Do taxes stress you out?”

3. Personalized email from me with our current e-newsletter attached and the option to join our list and get lots of great tips to avoid IRS penalties.

4. Educational Flyer – “Top 5 mistakes most small businesses make when it comes to their accounting/bookkeeping/taxes” along with a package of gum and a post-it note that said, “Something to Chew On…!”

5. Call from me to introduce our firm and see if they were interested in a complimentary assessment of their financial picture.

Pretty cool, right? Well things were moving along wonderfully, I had just completed step number 4 and was gearing myself up to make 500 semi-cold calls (think Rocky theme song here) when something unexpected happened. I got a call from the post office letting me know the mailing we had just sent out was short postage so it was sent out and marked “postage due upon delivery!”

A Tragic Tale…Turned Positive?

My heart sank and I instantly started sweating, what in the world happened and what was I going to do? Do I simply hide under my desk and forget the whole thing happened? Blame it on the post office or our postage machine (ironically it was an issue with the post office & our postage machine)? AAHHH!

After I collected myself (and picked myself up off the floor), I thought there actually is some humor in this and maybe, just maybe I could redeem myself. After all…we’re all human right?

So, I told my boss what happened and my new plan and promptly asked for a check for $500. I took the check and drove to the bank where I got 500, crisp $1 bills. Next, I found a clever/funny cartoon about the post office & postage mistakes (that wouldn’t be offensive, in case the prospect’s mom or spouse was a postal employee). I incorporated the cartoon into a letter apologizing and explaining the situation, added the $1 bill, sent off the mailing (after verifying the postage amount/weight 100x) and crossed my fingers.

Guess what happened? I got a TON of calls and emails from these franchise owners. Each one of them remarked on the fact that I came forward and explained the situation, compensated them for the postage and did it in a creative way. The end result: we brought on some new customers and more importantly, made a positive impression on our prospects which elevated our credibility.

Moral of the Story

The moral of the story…don’t forget we’re all human and mistakes happen. It’s what you do next that really matters! You never know…your outside-the-box solution might be your BEST marketing strategy yet!

If you could use some help in the marketing department, give us a call and experience the Wild Fig difference and see how much time and effort a crafted marketing strategy can save you and your business! Schedule your free consultation today:

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