Dave Free thought he had a service that marketing-oriented business owners would kill for: "an inexpensive, do-it-yourself system to collect customer feedback, generate referrals and stay in touch with their customers." It was a way to ensure their customers are happy and get them talking to their friends. And according to Free, testing showed users received substantial benefits, at low cost.
Funny thing, though. "As we've met with business owners in person or attracted them to our website, it has become clear that most of them don't want to be taught how to use the tool. They don't have time. They would much prefer to pay for a service."
Like many marketers before him, Free overestimated business owners' interest in learning new processes - even if it helps them save money. Time is their most precious commodity - and on their endless list of things to do, learning to use your service ranks, oh, somewhere about nowhere.
The ironically-named Free is now revamping his pricing model to cover the additional service his company must provide. "Some small businesses may balk, but I am now convinced that there are more small businesses looking for a fillet on the platter (complete with a wedge of lemon) than those interested in buying a fishing pole--even if it comes with a fly-tying kit."
Very interesting post from the front lines of small business marketing. Read the whole post here.
(Thanks to Dean Jones for the heads-up.)