EVERY RAFFLE MUST HAVE A WINNER
Lately, I’ve noticed a new advertising blitz on TV relating to Domino's Pizza. The ad states that if you arrive to pick up your pizza and it isn’t delivered to your car within 2 minutes of its completion, Domino’s will give you a free Pizza. After watching and analyzing the ad, I realized just how stupid Domino’s believes the public is. Think about what they are saying. The ad brought back some memories I had during the early days of my career.
At one time, I had a wholesale distributor client in New Haven, Conn. The family-owned company had been in business for many years and was well known in the industry. It was handed down from father to son and then from son to grandson. Bobby, running the enterprise, was my contemporary and still green behind the ears and very naive.
One day Bobby asked me to create a sales promotion for my products. He caught me totally flat-footed with his request. I had no idea what to do. I wondered how in the hell could I romance carpet cushion to the point where I could garner interest amongst his weathered sales force. The product was a mere commodity and nothing special at that. I responded by telling him I would give it some thought and get back to him in a couple of days.
What to do? All I could think of was to offer a series of prizes based on performance for his sales force. Sell so much, and you get this. Sell so much more, and you get that. It was basic and simple, but the big question was how would I fund the rewards? I had no flexibility in price, and we were already selling the product at an almost bare-bones profit. I had no wiggle room.
I finally developed a program that looked very good on paper. I set the parameters and rules for sale, printed fliers, and contacted Bobby. We set a time and date for a sales meeting for the presentation. The one thing I failed to do was to collaborate with my boss. After all, I was a hotshot and I thought I knew everything.
The next week I drove to New Haven for the great, bull shit presentation. I call it bullshit because it was. I thought I pulled off a big one. For the time being, I had everybody in Bobby’s organization fooled. Amazingly the promotion was met with great enthusiasm and I really thought I fooled everyone. I remember thinking I was better than I thought I was. Well, sooner or later one pays the piper.
Two weeks went by and I checked in with Bobby. I asked him how the promotion was going and he said it started off very well. As a matter of fact, he gave a large order to me to cover the anticipated increase in sales. Wow, it worked without reducing prices or spending a dime. It was great.
Another week went by and I contacted Bobby again for further progress. Bobby was elated and decided to call another sales meeting for the prize presentations. I asked for his tally sheet. That afternoon I received the tally sheet and to my horror and pleasure, there wasn’t a single winner. My scheme had worked. Sales increased with no expense. I had orchestrated the parameters perfectly. I immediately called my boss and told him of our success. He answered with and I quote “You fucking schmuck, you did more harm than good.” He went on to explain that whenever you have a contest there always has to be a winner otherwise you lose all credibility. A raffle must have a legitimate winner. I gave it some thought and realized how bad of a blunder I had made. I told Harold why and what I had done. He told me to adjust the parameters and to make sure there were prizes presented at the meeting. He covered me and asked I always communicate with him in the future. Not only did Harold save the day he taught me an invaluable lesson. If we had no winners we would have alienated not only the salesforce but Bobby would have e been very embarrassed and disappointed. It also proved I didn’t know shit about sales promotion at the time.
Now getting back to Domino’s. The two-minute promotion they have going on is a crock of bull. They have set an unrealistic parameter and once it is discovered the public will not be happy. People are not as stupid as one would think. Once they get duped or tricked they will never forget. Whoever in Domino’s white tower who is responsible for this promotion needs to be taught the same lesson I received. They are mocking the publics' intelligence and they will pay the price sooner or later unless they soften the parameters.
As an afterthought. Warranties and guarantees are not dissimilar. Nor are insurance claims. It is a shallow business ploy and technique. It creates distrust and pisses people off.
You will never learn this at Harvard.