When marketing trumps operations it can all go wrong

By Martin Dower, CEO (and beer lover)

Even the brightest and best can get it very wrong when it comes to the execution of marketing plans. And we’re not just talking about high-profile, indignation-raising cock-ups that offend members of parliament or outraged special-interest groups.

Day to day, companies often make marketing promises that operations cannot deliver, leaving in it’s wake a bad impression. It’s the disconnect that can create a toxic “them vs us” culture.

Take this fabulous little marketing offer from Beer52:

It’s purity is impressive. “Simply text us back and we’ll deliver you a crate a beer for St Patrick’s Day. All for a bargain price.”

The plan is simple: send a bulk text to previous purchasers (possibly ignoring GDPR), use a simple “respond to buy” message to create an almost frictionless ordering experience. Set a delivery expectation of a few days (on or before St Patricks Day). Wham-bang, thank-you mam. Back of the net, another priceless win for marketing!

Until you learn that the original offer text was sent 3 days before the St Patrick’s Day weekend, yet the delivery didn’t arrive until the following Thursday, 5 days after St Patrick’s Day,

I can imagine the marketing meeting where the idea came up. It was a great idea – in fact almost genius – but everything else about it went wrong. It probably violated GDPR, on-time delivery was never going to happen, and Operations had no reasonable way of keeping the customer informed without pissing them off.

The customer was me, I got my beer eventually and, probably like most of Beer52’s customers, I wasn’t too bothered as the deal was a good one. But, as a marketer, rewording the offer to remove the brutal deadline would have still worked, as would of a bit more communication during the operational phase.

Will they learn from this? Well, thats an interesting point. I imagine the campaign was a sales success so from a turnover, and maybe stock-turn point of view it worked well. Not so sure about customer relations, though, it must have been stressful.