Nose Thumbing

by Bob Poole on November 11, 2009

I got a direct mail piece from my "Neighborhood Drugstore at Giant" today. It was addressed to resident. I've been a customer of this particular drugstore for as long as Giant has had a pharmacy in their supermarket.

I stopped and read the postcard because the front of the card said I could get up to $60 in free groceries. That sounded good to me especially since I'm a customer.

However, I need to give you a little back story. Within the last year a huge CVS drug store opened about 50 yards away from the Giant store. CVS is known for good prices, a frequent buyer club, and more importantly for me – a drive through.

If I need something from my Giant pharmacy I have to park and then go into the store. It's a hassle compared to drive through – especially when you're not feeling well. But, I didn't really think about moving my prescriptions and my wife's from Giant. I like the people at the pharmacy and they have given us good service.

Now someone in Giant marketing is offering me $60 in groceries for being a pharmacy customer. How great is that! Then I turn the card over and I read the sub-head after the $60 headline. It says, "for new or transferred prescriptions!"

I'm not so happy now. Giant is willing to pay out $60 to get new customers but nothing to keep the customers they have. Which do you think costs more – keeping customers or finding new ones? You know the answer. Everyone intuitively knows the answer. Everyone except the marketers at Giant.

I'm sure they have already lost plenty of customers to CVS. It wasn't like they didn't know they were coming. It took months to build the big store. Why didn't they launch a proactive plan to thrill their customers so they'd never want to leave? Why would they spend a lot of money on a resident mailing to try and lure people away from CVS?

And, why would any business reward new customers while thumbing their nose at the people who have supported them for years?

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