To Honor or Not Honor a Coupon

To Honor a Coupon or Not? Photo Courtesy of Frieda Tucker. Above Promotions Company, Tampa, FL 2012
To Honor a Coupon or Not? Photo Courtesy of Frieda Tucker. Above Promotions Company, Tampa, FL 2012

A recent experience by someone close to me really sent my marketing mind in a tizzy. I was in shock to see how even a larger “small” business with thousands of customers could handle a situation poorly.

Ready to hear what perplexed me? For purposes of this story, let’s call the main character Jon.

One Sunday afternoon Jon located a coupon for an oil change on a national coupon website for a local Toyota car dealership. Jon downloaded and printed the coupon. He immediately called the dealership to make an early morning appointment to obtain the service on that upcoming Wednesday. After a lengthy process of taking his contact and car information, the appointment was set.

Upon arriving early that Wednesday, the personnel in the service department refused to honor the coupon. Although the coupon had one rate and no stipulations on it but the expiration date, the employee at the dealership stated they could not offer the rate because his car was not a Toyota. The deal was only for Toyota cars. A big detail that the marketing department failed to include when submitting the promotion to the national coupon website. Jon eventually left without the oil change. The dealership lost their business and those who heard the story.

This incident really baffled me. With no restrictions on the coupon, nor the appointment setter asking anything regarding the coupon, you would think on customer service alone, the dealership would honor the coupon. Yet they chose not to, or should I say the personnel Jon spoke to opted to not offer it.

Is this coupon out in cyberspace to bait people to come into their dealership? Or does the dealership need to work on their customer service levels? Or maybe those in the marketing department need to articulate the rules of the promotion? Perhaps it is all three.

I pose this question to all of my business owners, would you honor or not honor a coupon that your organization submitted for a promotion regardless if you failed to include restrictions on it?

Please share your thoughts below. It could be used for an upcoming article.

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Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.

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Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the recent author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out more information on the book, please visit http://www.abovepromotions.com or purchase online at Amazon, Booktango and other online bookstores.

NBC and ABC Exposed for 911 Call and Video Image with George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman from 2005 arrest.  Image courtesy of AP/Miami Herald/CS Monitor.
George Zimmerman from 2005 arrest. Image courtesy of AP/Miami Herald/CS Monitor.

NBC, who is also facing backlash from the Sarah Palin guest co-host stint on the TODAY Show, is now facing the court of public opinion once again for editing a 911 call placed by George Zimmerman prior to him shooting Trayvon Martin.

Not only is NBC in question, but ABC as well for releasing raw footage from a video taken at the Sanford police department when Zimmerman was brought in for questioning.  ABC has since released a version which has been enhanced by an outside company and displays a gash on the back of Zimmerman’s head.

George Zimmerman at the Sanford police department.  Image courtesy of ABC/DailyMail UK.
Enhanced image of George Zimmerman at the Sanford police department. Image courtesy of ABC/DailyMail UK.

However, both networks have caused the public to once again question whether journalists and media outlets can provide fair reporting of incidents.  “Are liberal media outlets capable of not distorting the facts?” 

NBC has since issued an apology

“During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret. We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers.”

Now this is where Above Promotions Company is going to chime in on all of the excitement over the NBC and ABC controversy.

The public is not a patient group.  (Let’s not forget about how many wanted Roland Martin from CNN fired from the network over his off-duty Twitter comments.)  They do not want to await the outcome of a grand jury or the Justice Department‘s findings, they want justice now.  And as it relates to NBC’s editing, the public wants to know who made the error, who was at fault for not checking the error and if anyone was fired.  The official NBC statement leaves too many holes for the public and therefore causing the court of public opinion to find the media guilty of not being a reliable source for information.    ABC rushing to get the exclusive and showing the non-enhanced video was a mistake which only added people to question images being displayed and the manner they are presented. 

In business customers want to know your organization is using the best methods possible to provide the best product on the market.  These errors are like Gucci, leaving the “u” out and printing mass items in error; Chick-fil-a not providing the top of the bun with your sandwich; or  God forbid Toyota sold a car with their missing trunk ornament. 

People do not want a product that hasn’t undergone proper preparation and does not meet high standards.  Even if the public opted to believe the errors were not an attempt to skew the public or help to sell viewers on their version of reporting, the apology leaves to question by viewers, “Is NBC using the best practices in providing the truth?” or “Should we believe the video ABC is showing right now?”

Doubt for any business is huge issue for a brand.  Don’t just look at these networks and wonder why.  Look at your own business and see where it could happen to you.

NBC and ABC are going to have to go back to the drawing board and come up with responses and reporting on themselves which will appease the public and prove their brand is one to respect and for people to trust.

“Put more trust in nobility of character than in an oath.” – Solon.

The Super Bowl: It’s Never Just a Sporting Event

Victoria Secret Model Gisele Bundchen - Photo Courtesy of Fox Sports
Victoria Secret Model Gisele Bundchen - Photo Courtesy of Fox Sports

While we originally planned to discuss the various commercials that aired during the Super Bowl last Sunday and which ones were fan favorites, it became clearer that there was so much that the public had to say about the evening instead of the game. 

So let’s recap:

Racy ads under scrutiny.  Teleflora, Toyota, M&Ms and H

Chrysler’s ad feature Clint Eastwood and the assumed partisan love to President Barack Obama

M.I.A. gives the middle finger during the halftime performance with Madonna.

Gisele Bundchen responding to a heckler after the New England Patriots lose the Super Bowl.

If you had to vote, which topic requires an apology to the public? 

And here you thought it was just another football game.

Stay tuned with us this week as we discuss some Public Relations – Crisis Communication points this week for a couple of them.