Sales! Everything –50%

I was rather surprised to see that this article (PDF/Dutch) didn’t generate more buzz in the Belgian blogosphere. Let me explain.

It’s sales period in Belgium as always during the first month of January. These sales are indeed only allowed a certain moments of the year and are heavily regulated. I won’t go into the details as it’s not to the point (and I would have to look them up ;)).

So what happens at Mango, a fashion retailer? They have almost everything at 50% off, great sales. But if you take away the sales price tag? You notice the ‘real’ original price, shown quite clearly on this photo:

mango

So in reality they’re only giving like 30% off versus what they are advertising right now. According to the folks at the Federal Dept. of Economics what happened here is legally allowed so case closed.

I don’t get it though, legal or not, this is not really showing much respect for your customers is it? Legal or not, we should all find this a problem, seriously. I can already see how the conversation at the Mango office would have been a couple of weeks ago:

GM (General Moron): Alright, January sales are coming up, let’s do all at –50%
MD (Marketing/Sales Dude): Great idea boss, let’s go do it
MD: One problem though, we cannot afford –50%, we wouldn’t make enough profit
GM: That’s not what we want is it … mmm … still want those big –50% stickers on my shops though
MD: I got an idea, why don’t we claim the prices of our products are a bit higher than they really are… and then give 50% off, nobody will notice…
GM: You’re the best! Let’s go get them.

Common practice? According to some it is. Legally ok? Apparently yes. But what I remember from Mango is that they have made it clear they shouldn’t be trusted. Happy shopping.

[Via Goedles]

Marketing is an investment

John Dodds wrote down a good ‘description’ of what marketing really is as a response on the ‘marketing is the price you pay for creating mediocre products’ statement that was repeated heavily at SxSW.

“Marketing is not an expense, it’s an investment cost that is inherent in the creation of your product/service from development through promotion and distribution and on to the sales experience and post-sales service. That’s a subtle accounting distinction but a crucial one. The price you pay for not understanding marketing is much worse than mediocre products – it’s commercial extinction.”

Make sure you read the whole post, as I think it’s spot on!