Pictured at left is a picture of the SIX (count ’em – six!) solicitations to purchase Christmas greeting cards from AOPA’s Air Safety Foundation that I’ve received in the past couple of months. I like the ASF and, in fact, did purchase some (darned expensive!) cards last year from them. They do good work to promote education and safety for general aviation pilots. But their marketing group has run amuck! One solicitation is sufficient to remind me or at least entice me to purchase their wares. That’s all I need. Two – maybe one last month and another this month – I would find somewhat wasteful and in bad form. But this is just silly. They are ALL addressed to the same name and address (AOPA only has the single identification for me) so it’s not like an accidental duplication has occurred. While I was considering ordering the cards again (this week is when I order such things) I’m feeling peevish and may spitefully go elsewhere for my holiday cards.
On top of this I find it insulting that last month I began receiving reminders for my annual membership which will be due at the end of FEBRUARY 2008 (that’s 5 months advance soliciting if you’re counting).
Lest I single out only AOPA, last year NRA started pestering me for my next renewal – get this – one month after I had just renewed.
I no longer subscribe to any physical magazines beyond those included in my various association memberships, but my wife does. And the common practice there is to no longer include expiry information on the address label and to start pestering you well in advance of the actual renewal time while providing you with absolutely no reference as to the actual expiry date. I find this practice distasteful and this was a strong motivator when it came time for me to consider whether or not to renew my own subscriptions. Michelle definitely likes the tangible reality of a physical magazine and so insists on continuing to receive these relics. This is the ONLY reason that I continue to patronize them.
I presume that these aggressive marketing tactics (FUD) work, but I prefer to be a client to be wooed rather than an adversary to be conquered in my relationship with organizations.
Send me ONE notice ONE month before my membership / subscription is about to expire. Give me all the information I need on that reminder – The date of expiry of the current membership or subscription and the date I should renew by in order to prevent a gap in service. Send me ONE reminder after my membership or subscription has lapsed in case something was lost in the mail or in my filing system. After that please go away. You will only incite my ire by sending me solicitation after solicitation. I’ve made up my mind and your pestering will not change it.
Also, don’t screw me over on the price – my loyalty should not be an excuse for you to take advantage of me. One of Mich’s magazine subscriptions (Oh hell, it’s “Yoga Journal”) offered me a renewal rate of only $19 for 8 issues (one year). However heading over to their web site and signing up anew nets me 10 issues plus 2 “gifts” (pdfs that I’d picked up the last time I renewed) for $16. How am I supposed to trust them after that? It’s only a couple of bucks but nobody likes to be taken. I think these industries need to learn what “Starbucks” and many others are learning. It’s all about the customer experience. Your customer needs to feels like they’re being taken care of (and at $5 for a cup of coffee that better be *some* experience). It is no longer merely about the product, rather the experience surrounding its acquisition is now on par with value of the item itself.