Monthly Archives: September 2011

An Open Letter to Current and Future Groupon Vendors

Hi, it’s me.  I’m the person you’re trying to entice to your salon, restaurant, resort, Zumba class, and Groupon is the tool you’re using to accomplish that.  Makes sense, I mean it’s a win-win (win) right?  I get a great deal on whatever it is you do.  Groupon gets a cut for bringing us together.  And you?  Well, you get shafted.  At least that what it seems like to me.  If my math is correct you’re giving me your product orGroupon is bad service in exchange for 25 cents on the dollar in the hopes of gaining me as a repeat customer.  It’s the Wimpy Business Strategy – “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”.  There’s just one problem.  I’m not coming back.  There I said it, I. Am. Not. Coming. Back.  Or, at the very least, I was already a customer and all you’ve done is given me a steep discount for something I had been paying full price for.  In short I am a retail predator, preying on merchants who are willing to undercut themselves.

Harsh, I know, but I am divulging this information to so that you’ll understand how most of your “customers” view the deals they purchase through Groupon.  In doing so I want you to reconsider your decision to buy into Groupon’s sales pitch or at least understand what you are getting into and devise a strategy to fully leverage your Groupon offer.  So here a few unsolicited tips from someone who loves taking advantage of you.

1.       Understand Your Business:  Do you provide a service used infrequently?  Are you a commodity business?  Have you got limited resources?  If so, then why are you even considering Groupon?  Let’s look at an example.  I recently purchased a Groupon to have my carpets steam-cleaned.  This was the first time in 5 years I had done that and yes it was prompted by a great Groupon offer.  By all accounts, the company that cleaned my carpets did a great job.  They showed up at the appointed time, were friendly and polite, and got my carpets as clean as they have ever been.

So who won here?  Certainly me, after all I paid only $49 for the service that might have cost me$100 otherwise.  Groupon did well also, taking their usual 25% cut.  How about the guy doing the work?  I spoke with him afterward about Groupon and what he said stunned me.  Because of the popularity of his offer, he was fully booked with Groupon redemptions though mid-June.  It was February 18th. So, for 4 months he would be unable to take on any full-price customers and was working below cost in the meantime.  But certainly, if he could struggle through then his business would flourish right?  Well, I suppose except for the fact that I have no recollection of what his company’s name is or even his contact information.  To me he was the “Carpet Cleaning Guy” just like a hundred other “Carpet Cleaning Guys” that exist in my area.  His business is generic enough and his service infrequent enough that in 5 years when my carpets need steam-cleaning again there’ll be another sucker establishment offering his services at a low-low Groupon price.

LESSON: If you offer a generic service that is used infrequently you have no business even considering a Groupon offer, because predators like me will bleed you dry.

2.       For God’s Sake Have a Strategy: Do you know that of all the “Daily Deal” offers I’ve redeemed I have never once been contacted after the redemption?  It’s stoopifying to me that after giving away your service, you aren’t going to encourage me to become a repeat customer or at least take my contact info and use it for future communication.

So what exactly was your master plan?  That I was going to beat a path to your door to pay full price?  That’s not gonna happen.  I got what I wanted.  It’s your turn to decide what you want out of the arrangement.  You’re at least going to have to follow-up with me (and probably dangle another offer in my face) if you want me to do business with you again.  Remember I am a predator.

 

LESSON: Before you undertake any Groupon offer, (or any promotion) have a strategy for how you are going to leverage that promotion for your own good.  At the very least, get my contact info AND for Crissakes pester me once in a while with some communication, offer, update, or newsletter.

3.       Treat Me Like Gold: I am all too familiar with the icy stares I get from merchants when I utter the words “I have a Groupon”.  Some merchants seem to have a disdain for those customers who dare take them up on their Groupon offers and reflect that in the service they provide.  I know, I know, I already told you I am not coming back so why shouldn’t I get 2nd class citizen treatment.  Well, there are a few reasons.  First and foremost, despite what I have paid, I AM YOUR CUSTOMER, and I expect to be treated like any other one that walks through the door.  It doesn’t matter to me what I paid and it shouldn’t matter to you.  Secondly, just because I may not come back (and maybe I will) doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend you to someone else. And guess what, they might even pay full price.  Finally, if you give an experience that is anything less than the one given full-priced customers, I will destroy you.  Be it online or offline I will eagerly tell my circle about my dissatisfaction and Shazam!  You’ve turned your Groupon campaign into a reputation crisis.

LESSON: You might see me as a low-margin, price sensitive, deal-monger.  You’re right I am.  But treat me like that and I’ll be a low-margin, price sensitive, deal-monger who’ll bad mouth you outta business.

4.       Do not alienate your regular customers: At the end of the day it’s not Groupon predators like me that will keep you in business.  It’s the customers you already have that keep coming back and pay retail for your products and service…because they genuinely like you.  Whatever you do, do not restrict your current customers from taking advantage of your Groupon offer.  Recently, a company offered a Groupon “for new customers only”.  The response from existing customer was swift and clear.  Existing customers felt unappreciated and taken for granted.  Rather than launching a Groupon offer, the company had inadvertently launched a delicious online debate amongst existing customers about how much the company sucked for not appreciate and rewarding their regular customers.  Ultimatley, the company relented and removed the Groupon restrictions, but not before creating ill-will with their “real” customers.

LESSON: Whatever you do, DO NOT fuck with your loyal customers.  They are worth a gazillion times more than any Groupon customer.  Embrace them, coddle them, make them feel so special they’ll spew goodwill about you wherever they go.

So there you go, a little insight about the painfully obvious.  And best of all you didn’t need a Groupon.

 

Regards,

Dean

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The Adventures of Social Media Guy

Follow the life and times of everyone’s favorite douchebag, Social Media Guy.

Updated! The Complete List of 27 Tweet Types

[UPDATED: 2 brand new Tweet types were just discovered and amazingly overlooked in the initial analysis. They appear at #26 and #27]

So I was reading the @jaydolan post “Top 5 Tweets I Hate to See” and it made me realize that when it comes right down to it there are only a few types of tweets that get replicated a bazillion times a day (that number drops to a few million if you exclude @GuyKawasaki). So I went back to the lab and using over 27 years of tweeting history developed an insanely complicated algorithm that told me that there are, in fact, only 25 different types of tweets in the world each with its own Douchebag Ranking.

25 Types of Tweets

The 25 Types of Tweetsdifferent types of tweets in the world each with its own Douchebag Ranking.

1. The ‘Look How Important I Am’ Tweet: Usually defined by mentioning the exotic location you are at ‘The scenery in Bora Bora is breathtaking!’), it could also include important people you talked to, or the front row seats you have to the Yanni concert. This type of tweet peaks
during SXSW where the primary agenda is for attendees to tell the world how much fun they’re having.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 8

2. The ‘HumbleBrag’ Tweet: Just follow @humblebrag and you’ll get the point. If you engage in this type of tweeting, you will slowly become as popular as that friend of yours who joined Amway.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 10

3. The ‘RT of Any Tweet You’re Mentioned In’ Tweet: It’s not enough to be pleased that you were mentioned by someone else in a tweet, but now you have to share that with all your followers to show them just how great you are. It’s usually couched with a “Thanks” or “Blush” comment that feigns humility but really screams, “I got retweeted, people like me, they really like me!”

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 7

4. The ‘I Automate Tweets Every 3 Minutes’ Tweet: A close relative of the ‘I Tweet the Same Tweet Several Times a Day Because It’s Too Good to Miss’ Tweet: this person uses twitter as his own personal bullhorn and pollutes his followers’ twitterstream. Yes, I am looking at you @GuyKawasaki. From here to fore, I am instituting the global limit of 12 tweets per day. Exceed that and I’ll have Joe Pesci pay you a visit with a Louisville Slugger.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 9

5. The ‘Multi-Hashtag’ Tweet: From the same family as the ‘Insane Hashtag Tweet’ this tweet seeks to maximize visibility by including every hashtag that might be remotely related to the content of the tweet. This tweet also tends to stuff itself with high SEO qualities and link-bait messaging. This tweeter is trying way too hard to be popular and is the same high school guy that belonged to every club imaginable. My advice? Roll the dice with one hashtag, ok Sparky? #Idiot #TryingToHard #NobodyCares

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 5

6. The ‘Look What I Can Do That You Can’t’ Tweet: Wow! You just went for a 50 mile bike ride? Just finished that IronMan? Scaled Mt. Everest while balancing 2 Sherpas on your head? Ok, ok, I get it; you are waaaaaay better than me. Now go DM @ShutYourPieHole with your vast accomplishments, Superstar.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 9

7. The ‘Conversation’ Tweet: Rather than using the DM feature, this tweet seeks to share a conversation between two tweeters generally to prove to their followers that they are good buddies with someone that others wish they were.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 5

8. The ‘Wanna Be’ Tweet: This is a lame attempt to seek attention from someone who has a degree of fame in their non-tweet life. It usually looks something like this: Hey @ChrisBrogan you know any good restaurants in Boston? I am here for a social media conference, you going?” It’s a painfully obvious and pathetic attempt to gain favor with pseudo-celebrity which largely goes unreciprocated because frankly you are below them in the Twitter caste system

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

9. The ‘Suck-Up’ Tweet; Very similar to the ‘Wanna Be’ Tweet this is where a generally anonymous tweeter attempts to get on the radar of a prominent tweeter through disingenuous and pathetic compliments. Typically the tweet looks similar to “You know who gets it? @Ambercadabra does?” This also usually leads to a ‘RT of any tweet you’re mentioned in’ Tweet by the person being complimented and a subsequent RT of the RT. It’s a vortex of douchebaggery you don’t want to get sucked into.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 8

10. The ‘I am a social media guru but hasn’t done any real social media work so I am just going to spend my day re-tweeting Mashable links all day because I got nothing better to do other than to perpetuate the myth that I am an expert’ Tweet: This family of tweets seeks to deceive followers into thinking the Tweeter is an industry thought leader when, in fact, they just have an internet connection, RSS feed, and a shitload of time

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 4

11. The ‘Goodnight’ Tweet: Let’s face it, the Twittersphere is a much lonelier place without you and doesn’t shut down until you do. This Tweet tells its followers that it’s ok to get off Twitter and go do other things, you know, like having a life.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

12. The ‘Be Right Back’ Tweet: Let’s face it, even you need to take a break from the madness that is Twitter. Telling us that you’re just “jumping off for a bit” gives us comfort that you haven’t perished in a terrible industrial accident.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

13. The ‘Good Morning’ Tweet: Like its brethren the ‘Goodnight’ Tweet, this tweets tells the world that Twitter is open for business because you are there.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

14. The ‘Twitter is how I catalog everything I do’ Tweet: “I was going to go to the movies but I think I’ll just stay in a read a book.” Gee, thanks for telling us. I am impressed you are able to make the ‘tough decisions’ and still have the confidence to share that with a doubting and skeptical world.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

15. The ‘Foursquare Check-in’ Tweet: Hey! You ousted another idiot for Mayor of the local hardware store! 1. We don’t give a shit. 2. Unless you’re Mayoralship can get me out of my speeding ticket I don’t give a crap where you are and what you’re Mayor of. 3. We don’t give a shit. I also don’t care where you’re eating, what airport you’re at or which show you are watching.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 7

16. The ‘If I compliment them enough they’ll give me something free’ tweet: This particular tweet type was aggravated by Wheat Thins who turned the practice into an ad campaign. The typical tweet goes: “Aw shucks I am all out of @XYZProduct. Oh boy, do I loooove @XYZProduct. I don’t know how I am going to make it through the day without my @XYZProduct. If I could only get my hands on some more @XYZProduct.” By the way I’ve calculated the odds of winning favor with the product manufacturer and it is less than 0%. On the bright side, the chances of you looking like a desperate stooge who wants free crap is close to 100%

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 8

17. The ‘I’m too much of a coward to complain to someone face so I’ll do it over twitter’ tweet: I can’t believe the restaurant made me wait 4 minutes for my chardonnay, I am really gonna let them have it………on Twitter. Twitter has been enabling cowardice since 2005 and has turned people everywhere into over-demanding, spoiled, whining douchebags. Back in the day, if something really bothered you, you’d have to actually talk to someone who could make it right. Thankfully, Twitter has taken that uncomfortable encounter away and replaced it with one that encourages the crucifixion of companies that dare to perform at an impossible level to those who never ever make mistakes.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 7

18. The ‘Good Lord its hot/cold/wet/dry/humid/blustery) and I can prove it’ Tweet: A relatively new genre, this tweet has become hugely popular during this summer’s heat wave. This tweet seeks to remind people of weather conditions that are painfully obvious and familiar to people. This tweet has mutated recently to include photographic evidence of the weather condition, usually through a blurry photograph of the temperature reading on a car dashboard which as everyone knows is accurate to within 47 degrees.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

19. The ‘Color Commentary’ Tweet: This tweet lulls the overzealous tweeter into thinking that doing play by play of a sporting event makes any sense to their followers or that their followers even give a crap about in the first place. What? Dustin Pedroya just stretched a single into a double off of Jared Weaver? Can ya retweet that with sound and moving images? Oh wait that TV, which is what I would be watching this on if I gave a shit. This tweet has found its way to also include live commentary of shows.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

20. The ‘Cause’ Tweet: These come in a few varieties:

– The local variety is when the tweeter asks you support a cause near & dear to them. You know, like the 5K he’s running to raise money for some local arm of a national charity. It doesn’t matter that you’ve already donated to 4,000 charitable events this year already, because this is social media and you’re supposed to genuinely care about each of your followers.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 5

– The next variety is a Global event. Remember the Haitian Earthquake? Or the Japanese Tsunami, or Hurricane Katrina. In this version you are asked to donate money to a national organization only to find out later that the money you donated still hasn’t gotten to the victims but has gotten to the 450K salary the Charity’s CEO makes who by the way is on vacation in Turks & Caicos

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

– The final variety is the moral support cause. Remember when we all changed our avatars to green in support of Iranian demonstrators? Because nothing says “I want to show I care without really having to think about it too much” better than a meaningless and disingenuous avatar color.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 8

21. The ‘News Aggregation’ Tweet: I remember first seeing these becoming more popular several months ago and at first I was impressed at how the owners were able to maintain a clean looking site that brought together relatively focused industry stories. Then upon further investigation, I realized that they were generated by a site called paper.li that was easier to set-up than Brad Pitt at a sorority party. Knowing what I know now every time I see the parade of news aggregation sites tweeted I want to scream “you lazy sack of sh#t!”

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 7

22. The ‘Double Agent’ Tweet: This is a tricky one. Here, the tweeter RTs a message that is his alter twitter handle. To the unaware it attempts to add unbiased credibility and promotion to, well, themselves. They will usually look something like this:

@JoeSmith: I couldn’t agree more RT @JoesConsulting Consultants are indispensible to your business, especially if they’re expensive.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 7

23. The “Fake Outrage” Tweet: Remember when The Gap changed their logo and all Hell broke loose on the Twittersphere? Seriously America, we used to make steel in this country and now we get our noses bent out of shape by any subtle change to our daily existence. Go ahead, stop buying chinos from the Gap. Just shut the fuck up about it.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 8

24. The “Shower me With Sympathy” Tweet: Here the victim typically describes in tragic detail an ailment that has them on death’s door. Usually, no more than a mild cold, the tweeter will tweet in Shakespearian terms to elicit the maximum volume of sympathy from followers. It’s usually a desperate cry for attention. Ignore them or better yet, find them and punch them in the face and really give them something to cry about.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

25. The ‘Hot Chick’ Tweet: Listen, I’m a sucker for a pretty face just like every other guy but when you get a tweet from someone with the twitter handle @LabaRaE6zww8jh with nothing but a link don’t click on it. REPEAT: DO NOT CLICK ON IT. This is not a “Hot Chick” who finds your 140 character musings fascinating. It’s a 32 year-old Russian named Sergei and he will fuck you over.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 11

26. The “I’m so awesome I RT myself ” Tweet: It’s almost hard to fathom that this kind of tweet actually exists. It’s the sasquatch of tweets in that you’ve probably heard that its been done but never beleived it. Well my friends, I actually spotted this one last week. We reached a new shallowness and egomanaical point in Twitter evolution where some douchebags are so in love with themselves they actually RT their own tweets. I know, right? Like what self-absorb ignoramus does that?  This one is so agregious that it actually broke my Douchebag Ranking algorithm so I’m just gonna have to guess….

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 15

27. The “I Have No Sense of Humility but an Obvious and Severe Inferiority Complex” Tweet: A particularly nasty hybrid of the ‘HumbleBrag’ Tweet and the ‘Look What I Can Do That You Can’t’ Tweet and chronicled at TweetingTooHard.com. These tweets are a public display of the clinical definition of ‘egomaniac’.  The only cure for this behavior of course, is a good hard punch to the nose. If you aren’t close enough to do that, then all you can do is not do what they do.  Hey I think its great that when your Porsche is in the shop you have to drive your Mercedes, but either way it’s a douchebag behind the steering wheel.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 14

 

So there you have it, THE complete collection of Tweet Classifications. Did I miss anything? Didn’t think so but if you invent a new one let me know.

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