Have you ever wanted to buy something and been upset about having to purchase it from a particular company?
Most likely, if you were upset about having to buy from that company, you stopped and didn’t complete the checkout. Or if you had no choice but to buy from that company, you also made the choice to not return.
As the world becomes flatter, our access to choices and options increases. No one likes to be fooled, so why is it that some companies feel like they can lie to us? Is it because they are worried that someone may copy them? That their “gig” will be up?
Building a Community 1 Shirt at a Time
When we began building Bonfire, we realized that we had the opportunity to build a community. And if our supporters were going to participate, transparency had to be part of our foundation. Our process had to be easily shared and people had to know where their money was going.
We thought this was simplest for all parties: for example, every $25 t-shirt that sold on our site, we would send $15 to that particular campaign’s cause. We would then make our money off the remaining $10. In order for those margins to work for us, we needed to make sure that we only bought and printed shirts in volume so we could pass the savings onto the fund.
Sticking to Our Guns
I’m sure if we let a really smart MBA type or marketing agency manage our business they would want us to decrease the quality of shirts that we offer, or increase our shipping and handling charges to ultimately increase our margins. But we actually did the opposite. We only use the best quality shirts and we even give each fund creator their own free shipping and handling pass code to help their supporters “group” ship for free.
Why? Because if you buy one of our shirts, we know you will be happy. And if you are happy, you will tell your friends. There is not one marketing campaign that has ever worked better than word of-mouth validation; one friend telling another friend firsthand about a product.
If you, or the company you run or work for, isn’t being transparent with whatever it is you do, get ready to be exposed. Create a good product, be open with your customers, and even tell them how you make money. You will create a fan base that will perform your marketing for free, and won’t leave you when a competitor opens up shop down the block.
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