Exclusive Marketing

When exclusive marketing goes wrong

Exclusive member sales make sense, you get to reward your loyal customers and you create a little bit of extra hype. It’s a great strategy, it seems straight forward, but it’s easy to get it wrong.

I was at Capital Square Mall with my family, my wife was already inside ToysRus, and my son & I couldn’t get in. We were told that without a membership card there was no entry today, but that we could come back tomorrow. Whilst I was waiting for my wife to exit the store with the membership card to bring my son & I in, I watched as lots of families with children were refused entry at the door to the store. I couldn’t but help think, isn’t there a better way to do this? Perhaps give members and additional discount or a special (exclusively discounted) price on some items, maybe even a members only section?

heinz limited editiom

Being exclusive and driving people away to create demand makes sense for exclusive (lifestyle) products (clothing, perfumes, iPhones, etc.). Apple uses exclusive marketing techniques extensively to create demand – limited quantities, big lines, lots of demand. but turning away kids and families looking to buy (cheaper) toys doesn’t make too much sense to me. How many are really going to come back the next day? How many are going to find an alternative and consider the “toy shopping adventure” done? By comparison Van Heusen regularly invites me to “exclusive member only” end of season sales, and new season launches. They’re all held at the main store and are conducted out of regular hours so as to not interrupt regular business. There’s a little bit of a show usually some soft drinks, and then you can buy whatever it is you would like. There’s nothing hyper-exclusive about their clothes, but they make their regular customers feel special, and don’t get in the way of the casual shoppers. Even if you miss the event, you still get a larger discount for a few days during the sale/launch period.

Heinz has been doing a pretty good job of “Limited Edition” exclusive marketing. Leveraging their loyal customer base, without compromising their regular buyers, to create demand for a higher priced (yet distinctly) commodity product. That’s an impressively inclusive way of making something exclusive.

I’m sure it depends upon your product/service, but it seems to me that today’s exclusive campaigns need to be more inclusive than exclusive. Burberry’s now legendary revamp of the catwalk, is a great demonstration of how even high end fashion, has begun realising that exclusivity isn’t as straight forward as it used to be.