Here’s an example of how not to market to your audience, ESPECIALLY NOT to your existing customers.

Bank of America sent my business a letter indicating that they LOST some sensitive data at one of their partner’s facilities.   Just to be safe, they’ve sent us a new card.

Sounds relatively good so far, right?

They fessed up to a breach in their security, and in order to protect me, they are sending a new card. Their letter states that they understand this could cause an inconvenience, and they are sorry.

That’s a GREAT IDEA because it actually does cause unknown possible future inconvenience when their partners can’t hold onto our sensitive financial or contact data, and VERY REAL known inconvenience as we have to take a bunch to of time changing over any automatic payments or charges on our end.  The whole event takes them a notch down in convenience, obviously, not to mention generating a solid loss in confidence in their ability to protect us as their client.  That’s all assuming that we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt in selecting this third party partner in the first place.

Now here’s where it goes completely south…

When making the mandatory call to activate the new card, good ol’ BofA forces me to listen to an ad for their identity protection service “while they activate the card”.  Having activated a few cards in my time, I know that doing so does not take the same amount of time that this unrequested ad is taking away from me while I’m stuck listening to it.   I was not given a choice to hear the ad or to just have silence so that I could have kept doing what I was doing before their breach of security notice and new card arrived.

As the ad plays, I’m thinking to myself about how completely disrespectful this is to my time as a business owner, but there’s nothing I can do about it, so I just wait it out.

At the end of the ad, they give an option to “Press 1” to hear more, or “Press 2” to move along in the card confirmation process.

So what happens when you press 2?  THEY FORCE YOU TO HEAR AN EVEN STRONGER PITCH OF THE SAME AD AGAIN saying that they just want to be really sure you don’t want their “valuable” service.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE:  At the end of this second go round, they tell you to press 1 for more information.  What other option do they give?  NONE.  In fact, trying to press anything other than 1 like say zero to get to the operator, just left me sitting on the line.   I remained on the line just hoping to hear that card confirmation message, SO THEY PLAYED THE AD FOR A THIRD TIME.

At the end of the third play through of an ad that I didn’t want to hear in the first place, that I had already indicated I was not interested in after the first play, and after hearing their “BUT YOU REALLY SHOULD DO THIS” pitch two more times, I finally heard an automated confirmation that my new card was now active.  I wish I’d looked at the phone to see how much time they stole from my day!  I was so frustrated that I didn’t think to look.

Thanks Bank of America!  I’m feeling so much better about you now. I am excited to risk my business information and my time as a business owner with you all over again with my shiny new card!

…and that’s how you end up in my marketing blog as a bad example: frustrate me so much that I can’t help but write about it.  🙂

This isn’t the first pain I’ve felt at the hands of the Bank of America machine.  I should call Bob Seger and say, “Hey it’s me, and I feel like a number!

How about you?