Today’s Mail & Marketing Blunders

by Sandra Fathi on June 7, 2007

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Vocus CookiesThis morning I came in and found a big box on my desk. It was a ‘cookie bouquet’ from Vocus. Vocus is a company that provides software/services for the PR industry. It enables PR practioners to manage their relationships with media and analysts, track projects, conduct email campaigns, generate activity reports etc. It’s truly top of the line. Alas, its also very expensive. And, as a small firm, we simply can’t afford it.

The nice folks at Vocus continue to shower my staff and I with lovely gifts like today’s cookies and last year’s $50 gift certificates to Barnes & Noble. I estimate that in the last 2-3 years, Vocus has spent anywhere between $250-$350 marketing to my company.

I have spoken to a sales person and explained, on more than one occasion, that their pricing is just out of our league. (Maybe if they didn’t send all those cookie bouquets their pricing would come down a bit!) The company’s persistence and creativity are admirable. However, I wish they would listen to the prospect (me) – unless they are offering a lower-cost solution, they should save their marketing dollars. I am not going to buy.

Now if the Vocus execs want to keep their ‘luxury’ pricing and not offer a lower-cost service, that’s a valid approach to market positioning. Still, they need to know who is and who is not a valid customer prospect. Not everyone can afford to shop at Louis Vuitton, even if we all secretly want to. (That’s probably why I don’t get any direct mail from them – smart of them, heh?)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lela Cocoros 06.12.07 at 2:28 pm

Hi, Sandra. I’m a principal of a small strategic communications/PR firm in the Denver area specializing in media, entertainment, technology and telecomunications, and this story really caught my eye, because as a small firm, we also thought Vocus was very expensive. But we gave them a whirl becuase they said that they’d help us customize the program for our very specialized approach to the world. They failed miserably. Their customer service was terrible – we could never get them to pay any attention to us. To add insult to injury, we never even got our promised B&N gift card!! We settled for a partial refund after about three months of back and forth negotiating. Just thought I’d share…enjoy your cookies!!

Sandra 06.12.07 at 4:57 pm

Hi Lela. Sorry to hear about your experience. I’m happy to share a cookie with you, virtually at least. Its dissapointing to hear because we hoped that one day we would join the ‘exclusive club’ of Vocus clients – I guess we might be dissapointed when/if we finally get past the velvet rope!

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