A couple of months ago I received a promo from LinkedIn for a month’s worth of free premium membership. The only thing I had to do is remind myself to cancel after a month if I didn’t see the value. After nearly a month, I did cancel and LinkedIn asked a smart question, “Why?” My response was simply that I didn’t see a significant enough difference (value) between the free and the paid account. I didn’t mention the rate being high or low, as it didn’t matter.

So what appears in my inbox this morning? Another promo email from LinkedIn offering me 50% off premium membership for two months. The result: a pointless foray of asking for my attention and then wasting it with something I don’t care about. It’s an effective way to diminish the LinkedIn brand by urging me to ignore them in the future.

If you’re going to bother to ask your customers questions about their experiences with you, the very least you can do is listen to what they say, and act accordingly. If the story you’re telling isn’t one your customers want to hear, you’re guilty of lowering our world’s signal-to-noise ratio, an increasingly severe infraction. LinkedIn’s story is the same–finding value in business connections–but they way they tell the story needs to change depending on the motivations of their individual users.

If enough users tell them there’s no difference between premium and free accounts in its usefulness to them, it’s not the price point that’s the issue. It’s the value of the offering. No discount can overcome this basic failing.

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