Marketing Lessons from Blockbuster’s Bankruptcy

As a former Blockbuster Total Access customer (this was their DVD-by-mail service; we’ve since transplanted to Netflix) I have some personal experience to add to these business lessons:

* It got to where people didn’t know what kind of company Blockbuster was. Was it an in-store movie rental company, or a DVD-by-mail company? This was a marketing problem.

* Late fees or no late fees? Restocking fees? Could we exchange our movies at the store? (We could, until we couldn’t.) We had no idea. The messages and the rules changed endlessly — it was obvious the company was floundering, scrambling. This isn’t working so lets try that. Wait, the first way was better. No wait… This was a consistency, leadership and marketing problem. This was frustrating.

* Towards the end of our membership with Blockbuster Total Access (about a year ago), the movies took forever to arrive. Weeks. This was an inventory management problem, and a marketing problem because promises were being broken.

* Meanwhile, there was sexy new option called Netflix. Its customers were happy. Not only that, they were excited. Netflix itself was exciting. Blockbuster’s job was to keep us  loyal, as we were being wooed, and tempted by competition.  They could not. This was a marketing and delivery problem. (This is happening right now with Research in Motion. Has been for years. Blackberry customers are endlessly looking at the pretty new things from Apple and various Android makers. Yet they stay with RIM! Not only that, but new Blackberry users are being christened every day. Lots of them. This is a massive marketing achievement.)

What are the lessons, then?

* You must never stop marketing. Blockbuster kept marketing, until the end.

* Your marketing messages must be consistent. Toe the line. Don’t flip flop (almost sounds political, doesn’t it?). Blockbuster SO did not do this.

* Deliver on what you promise. Business 101. Not only did Blockbuster not do this, but they changed what customers got — diminished it! — without lowering its price.

* Don’t piss off your customers. Through its actions Blockbuster sent a lot of its angry customers into the sweet, warm, waiting, welcoming arms of Netflix.

Fonte: (por Alex Goldfayn)

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About the Author:

Mestre em Economia, especialização em gestão financeira e controladoria, além de MBA em Marketing. Experiência focada em gestão de inteligência competitiva, trade marketing e risco de crédito. Focado no desenvolvimento de estudos de cenários para a tomada de decisão em nível estratégico. Vivência internacional e fluência em inglês e espanhol. Autor do livro: Por Que Me Endivido? - Dicas para entender o endividamento e sair dele.

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