It’s Just a Haircut, Not a Commitment

How many clubs do you belong to? I’m not talking about the health clubs to which you pay a monthly fee so you can feel guilty for not attending, nor do I mean book clubs or even beer or cheese of the month clubs (Christmas is coming in case someone wants to get me a gift). I’m talking about marketing clubs. I don’t know about you but I have a giant box filled with cards for Frequent Flyers, car rentals, grocery stores, pet stores, bookstores, wholesale shopping and a myriad of other bits of plastic that are supposed to give me volume discounts and rewards. If future generations learn how to convert plastic back to oil, my club memberships could probably fuel my car for a year. Most likely the next club I will join will be a club club which will manage my club and rewards cards. With the advent of following brands on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, I don’t think I really need more inclusivity when it comes to interacting with brands. I hardly spend enough time talking to my wife, why do I need even more communication with my brands?

This leads me to yesterday’s adventure. One of my least favorite things to do in this world is spending thirty to forty-five minutes getting my haircut. I’m not a huge fan of being forced to make small talk while a stranger contorts my head into awkward positions ensuring he or she doesn’t lop off a cosmetic, yet important, piece of my ear. Honestly, the only time I get motivated to get my haircut is when someone looks at the mullet emerging from the back of my head and confuses me for an out of shape hockey player. I just want to get in and out and get back on with my day.

I went to a new place yesterday based on the assumption that since it was geared toward men, with TV’s showing football and everything, that I’d be done with the process in ten minutes. I was wrong. I spent those ten minutes providing all of my personal information including my cat’s favorite beverage (coffee) so they could enter it into their customer database. Then another five minutes explaining how I wanted my hair trimmed because “just like it is, but a lot shorter” was clearly not enough instruction. Honestly, I am still not convinced that a “number four” is a thing and or what it represents. I’m guessing this is just an inside joke for those in the hair industry. Then I turned down a free upgrade to the expensive package as a first time customer, not because hot steamed towels don’t sound absolutely wonderful, but really I just came in for a trim.

Finally, I’m on my way out the door but I wasn’t able to leave just yet. My name was already written on a special club membership soon-to-be-recycled piece of paper with one visit already ticked off. There was another slip of paper with an upgrade to the deluxe package because I turned down the hot towels and other stuff this time, ANOTHER piece of paper eight foot long to get a discount on my next haircut by answering a survey, and finally my receipt. I walked out of the place with an adequate haircut and a wad of papers that made me look like an attorney who had just dropped all his briefs.

Who doesn’t like getting discounts? But with everything in life there’s a balance between time and effort. So I can save three bucks by doing a phone survey? No thanks. I somehow have to manage a little slip of paper so I can get a sticker every time I get a haircut? Unlikely to happen. Join your email list? Maybe, but I suspect you’ll send me too many emails and not think about when it would be appropriate to reach me.

Maybe I’m a curmudgeon, but as I look at my hairline I suspect the only hair club I’m likely to join in my life is the Hair Club for Men. Possibly I’m wrong, and there’s a great market for haircut rewards, but the only discount I’m really working toward is one that gives me a break based on how much hair is left on my head.

I don’t need a relationship with the national chain that cuts my hair; I need an inexpensive and quick hair cutting solution.

So to get back to the point, marketing programs should be easy to manage for the consumer and the business and targeted to what your customers want. Any business can set up rewards, but frequency and value are important to keep at the forefront of the program. And please don’t make me carry or have to remember another card, it is becoming too much to manage.

Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go find a barber shop run by some monks who have taken a vow of silence.

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