bounty42 wrote:Yeah the problem is the devil may care attitude doesn't drive decisions like outsourcing blanks, it drives ones like paying more for made in the US blanks. I'm not saying they can't run it like a professional business, but they can't do so and try to act like iconoclasts.
You make two separate points here: one that woot can't both run woot like a professional business and act like iconoclasts, and another one - if I'm extrapolating correctly - that printing on more-expensive blanks is a decision that can be made only by a company using a devil-may-care approach. I strongly disagree on both counts; I have personal experience in my own profession with the former, and some of the research that I've been doing over the past few weeks has convinced me that the latter isn't true either. I don't have time right now to say much more (and while I find this to be an interesting conversation and I enjoy reading others' opinions/views - and learn quite a bit from them - this is, in the end, merely an intellectual exercise for me when I get paid by someone else to engage in intellectual exercise on their behalf) - but: I believe that the absolute, fundamental key here is message, message discipline, and marketing in line with the message. As a very brief example: apparel companies who pay higher prices for US-made goods and in turn charge higher prices from their consumers are actually able to do quite well for themselves, as long as their company message and marketing strategy are in line with that choice. Woot could easily have incorporated American-made blanks into a marketing strategy and I can think of a dozen ways to tie that decision into the company ethos that woot attempts to project. When I think back, however, woot essentially used the opposite marketing strategy of what works for US-made apparel (among other factors, hedonistic versus pragmatic marketing). So yeah, woot was probably throwing money away on AA blanks because they were marketing themselves towards fly-by, irregular impulse customers. It turns out, of course, that the average buyer at shirt.woot is different than the average buyer at other.woot (I suspect: woot probably has data that would get at this, but I'd bake cookies and sent them to both headquarters if it turned out that anyone had looked at that data meaningfully in terms of the decision to change blanks). Shirt.woot now has the customer to whom they've been marketing for quite a while - but dollars to donuts shirt.woot didn't realize either that the shirt.woot customer base was not who they were appealing to based on their marketing, or that they could have increased their sales/profits by continuing to produce the same product but changing how they were presenting it.
The new website, FWIW, is even farther in the direction of hedonistic marketing than the old site, by a factor of about a billion (warning: numbers may appear smaller in reality), and what are we seeing? Sales dropping by half over the relaunch. I am firmly convinced that shirt.woot is deliberately and desperately going in the opposite direction, marketing- and message-wise, compared to what it should have done in order to appeal to the customer base that it had nine months ago. Of course, I wouldn't be surprised that the marketing is working well on the other.woots: shirt.woot is a very, very different animal, and treating it like the others isn't working.
For that matter, the message confusion isn't working either. Woot can't operate with message discipline when they're not quite sure what their message is - and to the extent that they think they know what their message is, it's clear that they don't understand how certain elements of it come across to the customer base, and there's no top-down emphasis on message discipline, either. It's entirely possible to run a tight, disciplined company that projects a devil-may-care attitude, but everyone involved needs to understand both sides of that. When amazon said, "we'll be hands off," I bet they have been, except when it comes to the bottom line and telling woot to contribute more to amazon's profits. If amazon were actually heavily involved in every aspect of woot, there's no way we'd be seeing the lack of message discipline and poor marketing that we're seeing, because amazon excels at both.
Right, time... my apologies to the person I was supposed to call 30 minutes ago.
ETA: Several hours after posting this, I realized that it was in the Side Sale Feedback thread. Tgentry, I'm sorry about that. I'm going to leave it here for now because I was responding to a previous post in this thread, but if you feel that it doesn't belong, please move it to another thread instead of simply deleting it, please.