He had produced at first 2,000 and then another 1,000 sets of his best marketing material containing 9 DVDs, a book, a 150 page special report, and a newsletter. Mid August 2008 he gave it all away for shipping cost only. Actually less than that, because it was a heavy box and Frank sponsored the cost out of his own pocket. This was not called a product launch, but a marketing experiment. A first time try for him and he, therefore, was not sure about the outcome at all.
The goal was to get as many new paying subscribers for his monthly printed newsletter as possible.
As everybody had expected the first offer of 2,000 sets was sold out in less than 1 hour (the kind of usual scenario with Frank's launches/experiments) and the feedback from his “new customers” was excellent. They loved the stuff.
The first part of this marketing experiment worked quite well. Many of those who have ordered the “almost free box of good stuff” said,
“The best package they ever received.”
As a result many people stuck with the newsletter for US$297.00 a month. Quite an expensive item, but obviously worth it to them.
However, some people had a huge problem!
The single biggest complaint and reason for cancellation was, “This is too much stuff!”
Those customers thought the materials they received in the first box will last them for several month and therefore they wouldn't be able to keep up with the new materials being sent each month.
The Big Lesson
Don't Make Value Assumptions
Don't force Your Values On Your Customers
Frank's values are obviously, “The more the better. Give me as much as you have. I will lock myself in a room for days and study it from A-Z”
His customer values were different, they'd prefer the “Give me chunks of info at a time” approach. They did not care for the “firehose” kind of attack.
What Frank thought will demonstrate immense value simply overwhelmed his prospects.
By forcing his values on them instead of honoring theirs, he lost the ability to serve them on a long term basis.
What should you do?
Build your products and campaigns with the end user in mind. Just because you like it, doesn't mean they will like it, too.
I keep this short and don't risk to overwhelm you. You can view Frank's original video message about this experiment on his blog as Frank Kern's Marketing Disaster -- However I don't think I left out anything important… Only one thing. Frank has left 390 boxes of the last 1,000 made. He sells it now. Click the link above for details, if you are interested. Once they are gone, they are gone. I don't think Frank will give away comparable heavy boxes in the near future again.
Anyway, this is not a sales pitch.
So let me just repeat the main message here.
Build your products and campaigns strictly with the end user in mind.
Just because you like it, doesn't mean they will like it, too.
I've often had to hold myself back from giving too much to folks. The idea of providing value is key to sustaining clients and customer and the question at times is whether what I want to give is what people want?
Thanks for the reminder that overwhelm can best be managed when things are chunked down into smaller pieces and the same is true for giving and receiving material.
I too have been on the receiving end of "too much" and have experienced two different outcomes than the original intent. The first was "Wow" this is sooo great, that I don't need to buy anything else... this is everything I need. The other is the "Brain Shutting Down" syndrome, where there is lots of valuable information, but not enough time for me to engulf the info and maintain my other life, let alone going forward with new product information. I was not a recipient of Franks free giveaway, but it would be interesting to see what Frank says about the results of his launch... I mean experiment.