Cost of Stolen Towels Comes Out of Marketing Budget

A couple years back, Amazon attempted two things:

  1. Advertising in print and on television.
  2. Charging for shipping.

They found little return on the first, and a found a huge backlash against the second.

Amazon now finances their Super Saver shipping with their advertising budget: NY Times – Amazon Tries Word of Mouth

Holiday Inn just took a page from Amazon’s playbook.

About the Towels We Forgive You, documents guests’ stories of ‘borrowed’ Holiday Inn towels. An excellent idea, capturing the enthusiasm of their most brand-passionate guests and giving the proceeds to charity.

Yet the idea is only being half-executed.

I agree with David Paul at Perceptional Analyzer when he says:

“I think hotels should encourage guests to take a towel or robe anyway. They take it home, use it, see the logo all the time. What better way to stay top-of-mind for when people are making their next travel plans? Sure there is a cost involved, but it’s called the marketing budget.”

I see a similar phenomenon in talking with clients. They want to proceed with a project, and aren’t able to support it in their discreet budget. While other, related budgets have a surplus.

Should redesigning a website or software product come out of product development’s, customer service’s, training’s, or marketing’s budget? Yes.

As should the customer research driving the redesign. As all those departments are intertwined in your customer’s mind, building a passionate customer base will help all those departments. In this cooperative environment, to paraphrase Seth Godin, everyone gets a Free Prize Inside.