The Rocky Road to Redemption

I decided to road test and redeem my retailer birthday freebies noted in yesterday’s blog. First up, Sephora. Their Beauty Insider program has received our kudos in the past and this was no exception. As always, I couldn’t make it to the register without picking up two new fall lipsticks, a lip plumper and a new mascara (because of course, I don’t have any of those!)

At checkout, I presented my birthday gift card and the nicest associate smiled out, “Happy Birthday!” three different times. And he offered me another free gift for my accumulated points, but I decided to hold out for a better choice next time. Great retail execution of a marketing concept.

Next stop, the Diane Von Furstenberg boutique for a party dress. I tried on at least seven with a very helpful associate who observed my usual disparaging mirror chants, “Do I look fat in this?” “Is this too young for me? “ . Then I presented their very generous $50 credit birthday offer toward a pretty red dress. But my associate friend offered no birthday woot at all. If I were a salesperson (well, I am, sort of…), I would have put two and two together (appearance anxiety and a birthday) and said, “Happy Birthday…by the way, you look fabulous in that red dress” thereby getting the full punch from the promotion. But no dice. Just the discounted receipt, which was swell but not sweet.

My point isn’t that I need salespeople to blow out my candles. It’s that when you invest big bucks in a promotion, train your sales floor to execute. “Gift” doesn’t mean “giveaway”…it means, thank you, I love you, come back. Make it feel that way and she will.

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Happy Birthday, Buy something from me!

My birthday is over a month away but according to a few retailers, the time to spend is NOW! Though I avoid store cards no matter what the offer, I am a sucker for the ‘what’s your birthday?’ come-on ‘s at major retailers. So, it’s a nice treat when all my store friends help me blow out the candles. Of course, some retailer programs are more generous and less self-serving than others.

As a Sephora Insider, I received “We’ve got a Beauty Insider Birthday Gift waiting for you.” Can’t hate that because it’s a really good bunch of eye makeup. No strings—yippee!
DSW promises $5 off a pair of shoes, Victoria’s Secret, $10 off a purchase and J.Crew, 25% whatever I buy, as many times as I like, for the next two weeks. Very nice! The biggest discount was from upscale boutique Diane Von Furstenberg who’s sporting me to $50 off my next purchase.

For my money, J.Crew and DVF are the most appealing because they’re being generous with quality merchandise. As much as DSW and Vicky’s Secret are fun stores, a further discount wouldn’t entice me into a special trip to stores which are already low-priced. If I were their marketing director, I’d come up with free product instead. DSW might offer a cute clutch or on-the-spot free waterproofing for new boots. And VS ought to give away a free pair of undies or black tights. In both cases, they’d reinforce their product story vs just money off. I know that I can’t go to either store without buying something unplanned, but they need to lure me in with more perceived value than five or ten bucks.

Yeah, yeah, don’t look a gift (certifcate!) in the mouth! But it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.

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May 23, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

A look at an early production of WORK


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The God Box Goes Global!

“The God Box” has grown to include an app, audio book, philanthropic venture and solo show performed by Mary Lou across the US. Now The God Box Project goes global to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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