In marketing, the ‘call to action’ is the moment where you ask your audience to do something: “buy now”, “sign this petition” and so forth. This week, I encountered a couple of odd and, to my mind, poorly-executed examples of these invitations to ask.
I recently received this text (the lower one in the screenshot) from Fido:
As you can see, Fido, my mobile provider has texted me with the promise of “a great, limited time offer” to thank me for my loyalty. And thank me they should, for I’ve been loyal to them for a number of years in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
In a free moment, I called the number provided. Then I immediately hung up. The number they included in the message connected me, as far as I could tell, to the standard Fido customer service and sales phone tree. I had to press 1 for billing, 2 for outages and so forth.
Fido valued my custom so much that they tossed me in the big bucket with every other caller, and invited me to wait on hold. What a kindly gesture. It’s classic corporate marketing body language–we say one thing, but we behave quite differently.
How difficult would it have been for Fido to create a special number that they offer to their loyal customers for renewal? Surely not very, because, after all, they are a phone company.
Betrayed by a URL
I heard my second example while listening to the Canucks game Monday evening. A Toyota ad asked me to visit AskAnOwner.ca, where I could learn more about their vehicles.
I’m not in the market for a car, but being a marketer, I was intrigued by the promise of the URL. Could I actually go to this site and connect with existing Toyota owners, and ask them about their vehicles? That seemed like a creative and original approach to demystifying the car-shopping process.
Sadly, it seems like the one thing I cannot do at AskAnOwner.ca is ask an actual owner anything. There are links to other sites (including some clunky, old-school use of frames), ads for upcoming sales events and some mini-reviews, allegedly from actual car owners, but no actual two-way communication.
The site is fine in and of itself–it’s a plain old brochure site. However, I felt a little betrayed by the URL.
Where’s the…oh, never mind
Lastly, while at Mt. Baker this weekend, I spotted this prominent sign above a general store attached to a gas station:
It reminded me of my technical writing days, where you wanted to be sure the documentation prominently addressed the users’ most common questions. I should have gone in and asked what impact the sign has had on bathroom location requests.
The worst part of that Toyota ad is them asking me to “join the conversation”. Is that still the best phrase marketers can come up with?
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