18 Sep Marketers keep forgetting this one true fact..
I was reading Forbes’ recent story about the ouster of Michael Francis, President of J.C. Penney and I was reminded of my intense dislike of JCP’s new advertising campaign, an immensely unpopular opinion back in January. Unfortunately I was right. The company is in turmoil, sales are dismal and heads are rolling.
JCP’s ads didn’t sell anything because they, like Saturn before them, forgot that we absolutely love a deal.
My friend Craig and I regularly try to one-up each other on our steals we find at the “best” Goodwill in town, often brand new, designer label clothing that some rich person bought and never wore. My mother is a die-hard Herberger’s fan and regularly uses their coupons to buy “this fantastic amazing shirt for $7” that I have to hear about for at least 30 minutes. We just got through a recession for goodness sake and people are still hurting financially. When we buy something, we better know it’s a great goddamn deal.
I have four questions for J.C. Penney:
- Did no one at this giant retailer realize that trends toward couponing were booming? In fact, shoppers received 12.2% more in coupon savings in 2011 than in 2010, according to Nielsen Shoppers redeemed $4.6 billion in coupon savings in 2011.
- Did no one realize that in order to move older inventory you need sales?
- Did no one realize that by backpedaling and adding “Best Price Friday Sales” just a short while after introducing the new policy, shoppers would feel as though they had been lied to?
- Did Michael Francis learn nothing at Target except for hubris?
Listen, I don’t like to stomp all over someone’s failure. I’ve had a few of my own. I was actually working at J.C. Penney when they re-branded from Penney’s and it was a fresh, smart campaign that retained old customers and brought in new ones. They should bring that guy back and have him run marketing again. Although he’s probably dead by now.