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Marketing 101: Doing the Right Thing or Good Going Amazon

Note: It's been a while since I've written one of these pieces so bear with me if I'm rusty.

A constant theme in my writings on marketing is based on this one fact:

People are busy.  Very busy.

Well what's the natural consequence of this?  Simple.  People forget things.  Even important things.  And the right thing for a marketer to do is anticipate this and serve the customer – even when it is actually the wrong thing for them.  Here's an example:

  • In November, for a birthday present, a good friend sent me a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate
  • This arrived via Email
  • It was quickly lost in a torrent of other emails
  • I never redeemed it

Now here's the interesting thing, today I received this email from Amazon:

Dear Amazon Gift Certificate Recipient,

You have an unopened gift at your fingertips: a 50.00 dollar gift certificate that was sent to you over a month ago by XYZ, but has not yet been redeemed. Use it today and treat yourself to something you've had your eye on–music, books, videos, toys, games, electronics, things for the home, gifts, and much more.

If nothing comes to mind immediately, browse through our Top Sellers. Something will surely spark your interest.

To redeem your gift certificate, just follow the easy three-step instructions below.

Happy shopping,

Your Friends at

Here you'd think that Amazon would want to sit on the funds as long as possible for extra operating cash.  (Even though they've probably already reported it so it is on the books, if it isn't redeemed, it amounts to extra operating cash)  Still Amazon does the right thing.  And that's great.  I still stand a good chance of forgetting about this but I'm also pretty likely to go shopping and could even spend more than the $50 which would be good for Amazon.  It's also a chance for them to pitch their "Top Sellers" as you can see.  If I had written the marketing message, I might have added something like "Oh and in case you weren't aware, Amazon now sells clothing".  But that's just a flourish and not needed; although it would be good for Amazon since this is their newest category of products.

Bottom Line

Always, always do the right thing for the customer.  Too many businesses seem to have forgotten that.  But people do notice and appreciate it.  The "warm and fuzzy" that Amazon has created in me with just this simple act will keep me a loyal customer for years to come.


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