Kohl's Case Study: Motivational Marketing

Kohls Receipt It often so happens that just as good customer service can exist alongside with bad customer service in the same organization [example here] so can excellent marketing exist alongside with less than motivating marketing. My example comes from my yesterday’s experience at a “brick and mortar” Kohl’s store.

We have received an $10 gift card from Kohl’s in the mail about a week ago. I only shopped there once in the past, and it was certainly nice to hear from them; especially in such a form — no fine print, no additional requirements to meet; just come to the store and spend your $10 gift card on whatever you want. “Isn’t this amazing?” — I thought to myself — “What a terrific marketing!” And yesterday evening when we were passing by one of their stores, I had to pop in and use that card.

I picked an item that had an MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) of $59.90, Kohl’s price tag of $29.75, and applied my $10.00 card at the checkout. Ended up paying $20.74, and saving close to 40 bucks on this one item. All of this was reflected on my receipt [image on the right], which made me feel even better. Another excellent marketing step by Kohl’s.

The receipt was followed by a “Tell us what you think today!” call-to-action inviting me to participate in their online survey. There was also an interesting move on creating a sense of urgency included: “Respond with 48 hrs to participate”.

“To participate in what?” — I wondered. Normally, retailers include information on an incentive/prize here, motivating the customer to keep the receipt and upon getting to a computer, get online, and take the survey. But because of the great marketing and customer service I’ve received I decided to go to www.kohls.com/survey anyway.

In anticipation of finding out what am I getting “to participate” in by taking their survey, I landed on the following page (which contained no information about any prizes/draws), which upon clicking the “Start the survey” link opened a pop-up window (which neither had any such information).

Kohl's Survey (printscreen 1)

I went through the whole 18-question survey, hoping to find out what it is that I’m going to participate in at least at the end of the survey, but guess what? Once I’ve completed the survey, I got the following “Thank you” page:

Kohl's Survey (printscreen 2)

Wow. That’s it?!

I had to “respond within 48 hrs to participate” in the survey, and that was it. No $500 cash draw, or even a chance to win another gift card… Either my expectations were set too high by that no-ties-attached gift card (or by saving over 65% on the item I’ve purchased, or by both), or Kohl’s just forgot to stay consistent with their motivational marketing throughout the whole process (from pre-sale on through the customer feedback survey). It seems like it was the latter.

11 thoughts on “Kohl's Case Study: Motivational Marketing”

  1. Interesting. I wonder if the thank you page would have looked a bit different should your answers were less favorable. Something like “we are sorry you feel this way, here is a gift card to bring that smile back”.

  2. Juvaly, good point. I don’t know. Maybe. 🙂

    Either way, it doesn’t change my point. It’s still deceptive of the merchant, and somewhat disappointing for the customer to take the time and effort, and not even get a chance to participate in a draw, or something similar.

  3. A visitor from Orlando, FL has just come to my blog searching for “Kohl’s survey coupon” on Google. There’s a coupon? Intriguing…

  4. Yep, could be a language problem, Gab, I agree. The “to participate” part seemed to be unnecessary unless, as Juvaly has mentioned, they offer some kind of compensation to those who are not as happy as I was. Either way, there definitely was a problem.

  5. My dialog (after paying for my $38 purchase) with a sales assistant at the same Kohl’s store this morning:

    — Do you ever mail out any coupons?
    — No. We don’t.
    — Oh, I thought you do…
    — No. Today we just have this cashback offer (pulls out a flier from behind the cashier’s machine, shows it quickly and puts it back).
    — What exactly is it?
    — Oh, you get $10 off every $50 purchase.

    Wow! Something is definitely wrong with such a marketing!! No sign around the store saying that they are running this great offer (which is essentially a 20% discount off every $50 purchase), and that it’s good for just today, and that I should better add another little something to my order to make that $38 become at least $50, and get the $10 off… Why are those fliers located only behind that checkout counter, and not a single ad of it around the store (or on the front of the store)?!

  6. 1.The initial marketing was good with a $10 value coupon .

    2. Disappointed with no reward for the consumers time in filling out the survey.

    3. If i were marketing manager I would offer a coupon or incentive for filling out the survey.

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