Showing posts with label content. Show all posts
Showing posts with label content. Show all posts

5/25/2022

PayPal: Where $1 Cash Back For Every $20 Spent Is Less Than 5%

Since last July, the value of PayPal stock has fallen by about 75%. While many analysts are discussing the company's "fundamentals" and suggesting at what price to purchase the stock, I'm staying away for a different reason -- because they often produce Mail That Fails. 

My first post about PayPal's several Fails was in 2011 when they mailed me a shoddy credit offer. There are a few more, including a recent one about a confusing and poorly targeted Venmo offer. Now, add to my list of PayPal Fails this offer of "$1 cash back for every $20 spent at restaurants." 

PayPal Restaurant Rebate Offer - May, 2022

PayPal Restaurant Cash Card Offer - May, 2022

PayPal Restaurant Rebate Offer - Disclosures

PayPal Restaurant Rebate Offer - More Disclosures
PayPal Cash Card Restaurant Rebate Offer
Received May 9, 2022

Scanning the headline might make you think that going out to lunch four times -- spending $25 each time with your GooglePay app to use your PayPal balance for those lunches -- would earn you $5 cash back ($100 divided by $20 equals $5). But you'd be wrong…twice. The offer requires me to first request a PayPal Cash Card, then receive it in the mail and use it at a restaurant. All within 5 weeks of first receiving the offer – some of which is spent waiting for PayPal to process my request for the card. That's a lot of effort and a short window of opportunity for a small benefit, e.g. a Fail for Offer

PayPal could have easily avoided this by using a rolling offer expiration date. For example, PayPal could require the customer to request the card by a specific date, but then give the customer a reasonable amount of time to use the card after activation, say, 60 days. That would be clear to explain and fair to the customer -- unless, of course, the intent is to make imply the offer is more generous then it actually is.

Which leads me to the actual offer value. I read through the disclosure text a few times, and I'm pretty sure that cash back offer is on a per-transaction basis. So, while each purchase of $25 would be worth $1 cash back and a $100 dinner might net $5 cash back, four lunches adding up to $100 would be worth only $4 cash back. If I'm right, this is a Fail for Offer and Content for being misleading. If I'm wrong, it is a Fail for Content for lack of clarity.

Another Fail for Content lies in the disclosures. It appears this disclosure was rushed and not proofread. Take this paragraph, for example:

"Eligible Purchase(s)": Eligible Purchase is defined as every $20.00 USD spent in-store or onlineusing the Card and finalized by the merchant during the Offer Period (defined below) in thefollowing category: restaurants (according to the Merchant Category Code (“MCC”) assigned byeach merchant, their processor, and the credit card networks. Only acceptable MCCs for this offerare 5812 and 5814). PayPal is not responsible for assignment of MCC codes. As a result, Reward willnot be awarded if the MCC code assigned to a particular merchant does not fall within a restaurantcategory, even if you believe that the merchant is a restaurant. Eligible Purchases do not include:(1) purchases that are marked as “pending” in your Card account as of the end of the Offer Period,(2) purchases made at eligible merchants using a third-party delivery service (3) ATM transactions,(4) gift card purchases, (5) any purchase or portion of a purchase that involves a payment methodother than the Card, or (6) in-store cash withdrawals/cash back. 

Spaces are missing between words. The punctuation is inconsistent. Some numbers in parentheses have spaces before them; some do not. There’s also a missing comma after "service" in the last sentence. 

There are references to "e-mail" in some paragraphs and "email" in other paragraphs. According to grammarly.com, both are correct as long as you use it consistently. PayPal is not being consistent.

These types of possibly misleading offers and unclear communications suggest to me that PayPal's leadership is spending their marketing dollars without full consideration of what they are doing and how they are doing it. As a stockholder, that would frighten me. As a customer, that also scares me a bit. If I can't expect to get a clean offer and clear communication, should I really be trusting PayPal to keep my personal information secure?

Lessons:

  1. Clearly communicate your offer.
  2. Allow your customers adequate time to respond to your offer and benefit from it's value.
  3. Proofread your entire communication, including your disclosures.
  4. Your customers' trust is potentially built or destroyed by every communication.
  5. The debate between "e-mail" and "email" isn't over, but at least pick a side.

3/06/2022

BCHP: A hard-to-find doctor for my non-existent child

When someone asks me if I have children, I sometimes joke, "None to my knowledge." In that context, when I receive a postcard asking me, "Looking for a pediatrician or pediatric specialist?" I have to wonder if someone knows something I don't.

Maybe I do have a child. Maybe my wife has a bun in the oven. Or maybe the reason I received this postcard is less dramatic  that the postcard from Boston Children's Health Physicians (BCHP) merits a Fail for Targeting.

Let's set aside for the moment the fact that I do not have any offspring and break down the postcard's content.

Boston Children's Heath Physicians
Mommy is happy with her healthy baby.

The front of the postcard simply suggests that I choose Bost Children's Health Physicians. It doesn't suggest why I choose one of their doctors. What makes their physicians desirable? To put it in marketing terms, what is BCHP's unique selling proposition?

BCHP Boston Children's Health Physicians
Where is Forest Hills, Queens?
Not in the area shown on the postcard.

The address side of the postcard includes a minor sales message that supports the Call to Action – to “find the expert care your child needs to grow and thrive.” And the postcard displays a map that appears to show the locations of doctors. There is an arrow pointing to the map, reading, “Find a pediatric provider in your area” with emphasis on “your.” Quick takeaway: most of New York City doesn’t even appear on the map.

Maybe there is a provider near me, but how would I know? Rather than communicating how to find the provider – and placing it next to the Call to Action to do so – there is a bunch of white space below the map. The response method is on the other side of the postcard…well, sort of.

Buried on the bottom right corner of the picture of mom and her smiling baby is a URL leading to the Boston Children’s Health Physicians home page. Somewhere on that home page is information that supports the postcard’s messaging, but it isn’t easy to find. The QR code doesn’t lead to the same page as the URL; it leads directly to the practice locator page. And the placement of the QR code (within an image on the opposite side) is a Fail for Creative.

BCHP Boston Children's Health Physicians
BCHP locations not quite near Queens
Let’s get back to finding a provider in my area. I tried the QR code on my smartphone. It indicated that the nearest practice was in Bardonia, NY.

As the crow flies, the distance from Forest Hills, Queens, NY to Bardonia is about 27 miles. As the parent drives in traffic, however, it is two toll bridges and typically an hour drive or longer with a sick or tired child in the back seat. (That assumes the parent has a car. After all, this is New York City.) This long distance to a physician confirms that the postcard was poorly targeted geographically – another Fail for Targeting.

Returning to the caption below the map, what is a “pediatric provider?” Why use that kind of industry jargon when the front of the postcard uses “pediatrician” and “pediatric specialist” while the address side of the postcard cites having 55 “practices”? Why throw yet another term out there? I realize I’m not a parent but, if I were, wouldn’t I want to find a “doctor” for my child?

IMHO, this postcard from Spectrum Marketing Services does not really support Boston Children’s Health Physicians. It is poorly designed, written, and targeted.
 
Finally, unless there is a back-end method in place for tracking response to the individuals being mailed, this isn’t direct marketing – it’s mailed advertising.


Lessons:

  1. Vet your data sources to target matching demographics.
  2. Just being available is not enough. Even a medical practice needs a differentiator.
  3. The means of following through on a Call to Action should be located close to the Call to Action, and easy to find.
  4. Vet your physical targeting to people who can easily get to your physical business or medical practice.
  5. If your Call to Action includes a web site, don’t just list a home page. Use a direct URL that aligns with the Call to Action.
  6. Apply jargon consistently using terms your customers understand.
  7. Even a postcard for a medical practice should include some method of tracking results.


8/26/2021

Hard Rock Casino: Guns N' Rose ?!?

The Hard Rock Hotel Casino recently sent this email about upcoming entertainment that included a band called "Guns N' Rose".

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino email for Guns N' Roses
Email from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

This is a Fail for Creative, but no worries -- the band is going to make up for this faux pas by playing their new song "Sweet Children of Ours."

Lesson: 
Be sure to thoroughly proofread your communications, including the email Subject Line.