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We were wrong

A month ago I took great delight in being able to stare at a pair of boobs in the Metro newspaper as I made my way to work.

I’m sure that many other marketers also appreciated the important message that this image brought to mind.

The advert in question was placed by M&S in response to the complaints made against its variable pricing according to the size of bra.  M&S came under intense criticism over its policy to charge more for the bigger garment.

The relevance to the construction industry is not immediately obvious but lets look at this at from a marketing best practice point of view.

M&S had a problem. It identified this and did something about it. The adverts both explained that they were doing something about the pricing policy and gave an additional discount as way of apologising for its action.

It short, M&S listened to its customers, dealt with the issue and turned a negative into a positive. Not just for the special offer but did something that I am sure many of its customers will have greater respect for the M&S brand.

It is not every day that you meet companies, let alone people, that admit that they got it wrong. M&S used those exact words “… we were wrong…”.

Now I am not suggesting that we, in the construction industry, run ads apologising every time that we got it wrong. But I do think that we should spend more time listening to our customers and take on board what they have to say. Do this, correct the problems and tell people that you have done that and you may well find that your customers think better of you for it.

Ian Exall is the Communications Manager at insulation manufacturer Rockwool and a committee member of CIMCIG, the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s construction industry group.

CIMCIG organises many events for construction marketers, including, on the 24th June, our summer social event at The Grange, St. Pauls hotel in London where our speaker will be Chad Harrell of UK-GBC. Visit the CIMCIG website for more details.

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