Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A Sirius Error

Ok, see that card? It was sent as part of a direct marketing campaign from Sirius/XM. See, I bought a car a while ago, and considered activating the Sirius receiver built in. However, I am so rarely in my car, and usually listen to my iPhone, it didn't seem worth it. However, this was a nice gimmick: reactivate the receiver for 2 weeks with the selected channels, and try to get me hooked. Like what the premium channels do on cable and satellite. Kudos on the creative marketing idea.

Just one problem. See that picture of the card? See where it says the free preview starts May 24th? Ah yes. Guess when I got this in the mail.

Today. June 1st. 

Yep, my two week free preview is now reduced to 5 days. This is a significant error. Sirius took on some costs to give away their premium product. They targeted this to let potential subscribers who already had the hardware know. And now more than 60% of the potential to get me to try Sirius is gone. Squandered. Poof. And why? Well, it's easy to blame it on the US Mail, but this should have been targeted to deliver to me as close to the start date of the campaign, but definitely before it started. In essence, this is more than a week late. Blame it on the holiday? Uh, they knew it was there when the chose the dates.

Here's what I really blame it on: their online marketing. See, back months ago, when I went to their website to see if I could use my in-dash hardware, it asked me for the make and model of my car. It asked me for my address. But it did NOT ask me for my e-mail address. Would I have given it? Probably not...unless they had said "Periodically, Sirius offers a free preview of the services on your car, giving you a chance to try out Sirius free and without commitment. Would you like us to e-mail you when that is happening?" Yep, I'd have handed over my e-mail for that.

Look, I came up in a direct mail company; I know it's value. But it's 2011: if you are spending millions on a direct mail campaign to get low hanging fruit subscribers like me, and you can't get within a week of a two week window, you really need to look at different ways of doing business. How about a TownHog deal for 50% off after the free preview for a 6 month subscription (plug, plug)? Social media word spreading through current subscribers (give them a month free for every friend who signs up from their Facebook share)? Basic e-mail marketing, or give away the subscription through an iPhone app for the time window. Any one of those would have reached me and the thousands like me a lot more effectively and more timely than a trial that I feel  I will not get the time to do a fair shake on. As a result, even if I wanted the service, I would probably pass for now.

C'mon, Sirius. Your competition is my iPhone, terrestrial radio, HD radio....and your weapon of choice is a tactic from 1950 that you can't even aim right? I love competition, and I actually think Sirius is great for some things (sports, comedy). I know friends and family who swear by it. You clearly know the value of me as a subscriber, so fight to get me. Just don't bring a knife to a gunfight next time.

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