Clay's recruiting and strategic consulting efforts over the past 20 years have provided firms in the printing and communications industries the talent and perspective that has enabled them to navigate the constant change they’ve faced.
His current company, the bleedingEDGE, provides digital printing firms with 1:1 marketing solutions that enable their small- and medium-sized clients to compete with larger competitors using a cooperative strategy and production model. In addition to the normal 1:1 marketing techniques of personalization and customization, the bleedingEDGE incorporates timing strategies, generational analysis and sociological factors in producing results well above the norm.
This post has been brewing inside me for a couple of months now. I think it started when I heard that Groupon had turned down a $6 billion buyout offer from Google. I couldn't see how these guys could turn down $6 billion. Maybe they had other ideas for the company—a grand vision to jump-start humanity and right the world's wrongs. I doubt it. We're not talking about Twitter or Facebook, here. Groupon is a damn coupon company.
Now here's why I hate Groupon:
1. Groupon is all about consumption. "We want you to buy and buy now." It doesn't make a difference what it is...just get out there and buy it. This model is just so archaic that in a time where conservation and sustainability, not endless consumption, should be in the front of our minds—Groupon is about just the opposite. Remember the attitude that put this country in insurmountable credit card debt a few years ago. It was all about stuff, more stuff, and more stuff on top of that. The Pied Piper has been here and gone...and we don't need him back any time soon.
2. Not only is Groupon about consumption, they don't care what they fling at you. They are non-discriminatory carnival barkers. In a world of the Long Tail and focused marketing, we expect not to be bombarded by irrelevant advertising—but Groupon's all about it. I'm 52 years old and I don't want to marketed diapers. Been there and done that. My data is flying all over the place—grab some of it and tell me about things that might matter to me. I have to manage enough information as it is...don't spam me.
3. Groupon is a one night stand for businesses. Now I know I shouldn't feel sorry for the lemmings out there masquerading as business owners—but I kind of do. How can you not be mesmerized by all the attention and media fawning Groupon's been getting? "If I don't jump on I'll miss the chance to be part of the "second coming." If a merchant is lucky, a Groupon promotion will bring in a surge of traffic. The business better be ready to handle this influx. If they're not, not only will they not get repeat business—they'll get negative word of mouth.
And, speaking of repeat business. Will all these new customers want to come back if they're not getting 50 percent off? Hard to say. And what sort of future communication will there be with these customers? If the merchant doesn't have a follow-up loyalty program in place, there won't be any. Groupon doesn't offer one. Maybe these are a couple of reasons; according to several independent reports—as much as 40 percent of businesses that use Groupon once, don't use it again. I'm sure there's conflicting reports otherwise, depending on who you talked to—but having it even surface as much as it has, raises concerns.
4. And, finally, the last reason (at least for the purpose of this piece) really isn't Groupon's fault, but I have to say it anyway. I'm so over hearing about the next "great thing," "the killer app," and a company that will change our lives once and for all and lead us into enlightenment. Why isn't it that we can't all just like, well...what we each want to like? Why is it that we have to always be alerted of the next "crusade to the cliff?" I haven't grown a tail, a pointy nose and my eyesight's fine (at least with my glasses). Groupon is a coupon company. It may wear a pretty dress and a nice pair of shoes...but it's still a coupon company.
If I could click my heals and wake up in my "Perfect World"...it would be a world where we reward giving, not consuming...and the businesses I patronize understand that. It would be where we could enjoy our journey with less, not more...where conservation and conversation are the priority, not an afterthought.
I love Twitter and what it's meant to the world and, specifically, to me. I'm not a big fan of Facebook—but I can't help but give it kudos for being part of the solution to healing some of the earth's ills. And it's bad enough we have Foursquare. But at least I can see some potential in it.
*Oh, gotta go, just got an offer for half off on a tanning session. Wonder how much time I have left?*
A successful blog post is when the comment flow provides more insight than the post itself. Please comment and add to the flow.