It's Always About the Experience

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PopShops provides real-time pricing and product data.
PopShops provides real-time pricing and product data.

If the daily Amazon Deals emails I receive are any indication, geographic targeting is obviously the hot trend. There's no doubt that the ability to use online or email advertising to reach only people within a specific geography is of huge benefit to a brick-and-mortar business.

What saddens me is the eagerness that most advertisers (and presumably their clients) seem to have to use this technology to devalue their business. Yep, I said “devalue.”

Take the ad I received this morning. An eye exam package worth $285 for the amazing price of $49.00! I immediately wanted to know if it came with a set steak knives, but the idea of offering sharp knives to prospects with vision problems is probably an approach of questionable wisdom.

Here's the problem. If you're selling a package of services for $49, it's no longer worth $285—it's worth $49. What's worse, the business proffering this special has just told me (and 200,000 other prospective clients) that it values its ability to impress me with such a lower offer as to practically give its services away. It also suggests to me that it'll gouge me on the frames.

If you tell your clients and prospects that you don't value your services, than why should they?

Of course you need to have a sexy offer, but price is not the only option—in fact it's a terrible option.

A far better approach—and one that protects the value of your product or services—is to find something of limited cost to you that is of value to your prospects. Maybe it's a free upgrade to transitional bifocals, which after you ask your vendor to kick in, may not cost anything at all, or a free scalp massage. Whatever it is, make it's something that is in addition to your fee, not a discount of it.

But, and here's the but, this approach carries a pretty big obligation—the obligation to provide a service that actually wows your clients. Why? Because then they'll post on Yelp how awesome you are. They'll tell their friends about how you listened to their concerns, and took extra time to teach them how to use contact lenses. Do that and you'll have people lining up at your door to pay full-price for your eye exams, or whatever product or service you offer. Because as the smart folks at Porsche know, there is no substitute for quality, and you don't see Porsche offering 80% off.

Market a quality experience, not discounts, and then live up to your promise. The rest is inevitable.

David van Toor is CEO of Data Fusion Technologies.
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