This Christmas season you may want to think twice before buying a gift card for a loved one, regardless of whether or not they’ve been naughty or nice.
According to the research done by Tower Group, Approximately 10% of the value of all gift cards go to waste to due to fees, expiration, and consumers who left them in drawers or just didn’t use them. This research has either inspired you to be less wasteful, or it has caused you to start frantically rifling through your drawers and bags looking for the Visa gift card Aunt Karen gave you for Christmas last year. Either way, it is a shocking amount of money, and it was actually The Wall Street Journal’s “number of the week” in their Real Time Economics blog.
This absurd amount of waste and the lessons learned from it can be applied to every American consumer, but also to every Marketer. Maybe only $2 billion would’ve gone to waste in the past 13 years if people like Aunt Karen had actually sat down and did their research about what tangible products you actually wanted for Christmas. Maybe marketers too, should take the time to understand their audience’s interests and passions too before they make the same mistake.
It is so easy to stop at the store to pick up an iTunes gift card for your friend’s birthday, but it might be better to just give them something else because they just switched their accounts from iTunes to Spotify that day. In an ever-changing economic and multi media society it is tricky to keep up with what is going to be used and what is going to be thrown away or forgotten…
Gift cards are the perfect example of what can go wrong when money is invested into something that you think might be fun for them or could be worth their time. Keep in mind that the words “might be” or “could be” are not in a successful marketer’s vocabulary when they are coming up with campaigns. When coming up with ideas for what your audience would like to see or what they would like to purchase do not default to a “gift card campaign” (something generic that can be interpreted by a mass audience.) Figure out who your audience is first, then cater to what they want to see, read, and purchase.
Miscommunication and misinterpretation are both common downfalls between marketers, but all it takes to fix that is a little extra thought. Just a little more sentimental thinking needs to be applied when buying gifts and when creating campaigns this year because we can’t afford to lose another $41 billion.