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February 12, 2011

Groupon and I made similar mistake – Lesson Learnt

In my business portfolio, I am a partner in a niche business where our target market are moms.

Guess what?

I accidentally offended my audience more harshly than Groupon offended theirs.

If you are following world news, you already know that Groupon spent millions and ran a Superbowl commercial.

Here is the commercial if you haven’t seen it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gbzJ4bX8ec

Well, as you can see they intended to do good, but they indirectly offended all of its audience. My mentor told me that over 200,000 subscribers dropped out of Groupon in a couple of days after this commercial was aired. Now for just a moment imagine yourself in the shoes of Andrew Mason (founder & CEO of Groupon). Do you really think he intended to offend his audience and make fun of a culture?

Of course not

But there is a thing called “unintended consequences” in the world that we all fall prey to.

So here is my edition of GROUPON BLUNDER that cost me 50% of my market.

As I mentioned earlier, one of my niche businesses offers coupons and deals to “moms to be”. We give them coupon for clothing, cribs, toys and food for their new baby. Now I thought that since 50%+ women in America would like to loose at least 20 pounds, I should send them some free education on weight loss. It was 100% pure intention, nothing to sell, but just goodwill.

I began to brainstorm with my partner on how to make the message more compelling and interesting to our users so that they would take action and use this information we are sending them. As we were researching, I found this picture:

Source: http://www.icanhasinternets.com/2010/07/youre-only-fooling-yourself-lady/

I thought it was kinda funny yet it portrayed a really profound message about how most people are light years far from reality. I truly wanted them to see the point and then use the information we gave them as part of that email on weight loss.

So what happened?

I offended 50% of the audience who saw that message. My moms got so emotionally offended by that picture that they ignored our weight loss guide we gave them for free. Many reported that message as spam and a few people unsubscribed. Not just that, our email marketing company blocked our account because of the ridiculously high spam complains. Just to give you a better perspective, these people are double-optin subscribers and many of them have used our services.  They know us, they like us and they trust us.. but not anymore. One email destroyed our reputation in their eyes that we had built over a few years.

Lucky for us, we sent that email out to only 3500 members, so the rest of the 97% of our audience still love us.

Lesson learnt

Lesson 1: Empathy
You don’t make fun of peoples problems, even if it is for the sake of shaking them up to reality. You empathize with their situation and acknowledge that you would be sailing in the same boat given their situation and circumstances. My partner and I looked over that idea through the eyes of a man, our audience are women.. why would we even do that??? We did not empathize with our audience and didn’t take the time to really feel how it is like to see that picture through a woman’s eyes.

Lesson 2: Test Small and then Roll out.
Overconfidence is like a heavy fog, it blurs our vision and prevents us to see clearly. Even worse, while in the state of overconfidence, we don’t even realize that our visions are blurred. Lucky for us, we have a mindset of always questioning ideas and only believing in the ones that survive our tests. Even more lucky for us we sent this email out to only 3500 people and not the 98000+ people who are fans of our services.

Lesson 3: Humans are creatures of emotions
If you are part of our Domination community, you already know that you and I are more emotional than we would like to admit.

ITS TRUE….

And  Thank God, women are atleast 3X more emotional than men (I do not have any research to back this)
Why did I say “Thank God”?

Because only a woman can understand the feelings of a child who cannot speak.

Because only a woman can stand by a man and support him in his tough times while not making him feel like a failure.

ITS TRUE….

– Aziz

P.S. Share this blog post to your friends via facebook, twitter and email below.. and please tell me what you think about this in the comments section below 🙂

4 Comments on “Groupon and I made similar mistake – Lesson Learnt

whenkye
February 23, 2011 at 8:10 am

I am an MBA student in marketing from a prominent bschool in India. I m Impressed by the videos of your’s in youtube regarding apple, google and watches example . Your theories are backed by experiences, and there is an invisible zeal to learn from them . I like that brother ,keep going. U rock and see u soon wid another post . But B4 leavin does ur campaign if would hav like dis —- To our caring & beautiful MOM/s a small gift to make you more beautiful.

Khusairy Chen
June 23, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Yikes, that’s a scary mistake. But as what you’ve posted on EJ, we all learn from mistakes 🙂 You’re still the best!

Sheyi
October 31, 2011 at 8:56 am

I hope now that you have learnt you will not make same blumder again.

Sheyi

PETER TAFT
September 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I am also looking to target to Moms so if you have a list that you may want to earn extra on contact me. I loved you message

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