Thursday, October 19, 2006

Radio Shack's Not So Smart Marketing Investment

This morning I was driving down to an appointment when I turned on one of the local talk radio stations to hear the latest ramblings about world happenings. A commercial came on during a much welcomed break from the two disputing talk-show hosts which caught my attention. It was commercial for the upcoming Rolling Stones concert that is happening here on Sunday. Specifically it was "The Rolling Stones presented by Radio Shack."

Radio Shack?

I only sort of laughed to myself as I just couldn't see the connection and Radio Shack's desire to be affiliated and the Stonesand vice versa. Now if it had been the Stones presented by Luby's, The Scooter Store (elderly mobility vehicles) or an oxygen supply company, it might be a little easier to understand, but Radio Shack? What are they hoping....the Stones audience might run out and get this year's remote controlled Lamborghini Turbo 9000 or perhaps decide RCA "Hi-Fi" really does sound better than the BOSE? I mean if the Stones think so, then it must be true right?

Now I will be the first to say that I am not a genius when it comes to marketing. I do believe I have a good eye for what works and what doesn't however and this apparent mismatch bothers me. I don't at all see the connection between the two and wonder what the Radio Shack management team might be thinking. Perhaps their logic is that the audience will be so amazed by Mick's lips flapping for three hours or the fact Keith Richards is actually still breathing at the end of the show will somehow motivate us to hit "The Shack" on the way home to grab some batteries and the new Romco Mr. Microphone.

Perhaps, and this is a stretch, they got this gig because they are providing all of the Everready batteries for the portable defibrillators that assuredly are near by any time these guys play a concert. Who knows!

My point is....are they really getting their money's worth? Is there a direct connection between what they do and want to sell you and how you as a potential fan of the Stones might be motivated to do business with them? Sure, The Rolling Stones are legendary and there is a certain amount of allure and prestige by just saying we were "attached" to a Stones project, but will it actually stimulate any real dollars for the company that has seen better financial times?

I see pointless opportunities like this all of the time in business. Granted no one is calling me from Stones management asking me to help headline The Rolling Stone: Ripple Effect Tour but I doubt seriously if I could sell any more or any less books if they did. Maybe, but I doubt it. Either way, it would be as dumb an investment as what Radio Shack is doing.

Radio Shack, the company that announced layoffs via email (story article here), of all companies should be looking at their investments a little more closely and asking if the dollars spent in marketing this venture are really worth it. Perhaps without decisions like this layoffs might not be necessary? I suspect those former employees who got their layoff notices via email wouldn't think the marketing dollars were smartly spent. But heck, maybe they will get their $ 1.00 off coaxial cable purchase coupon in the mail with their complimentary concert tickets.

Now that might be smart marketing and a little better PR.

Ripple On My Friends!!!

Steve Harper

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