The question posed in the article is whether “rescue marketing” is a shady tactic. Like most things, the answer depends on context. Is it shady to find somebody in a bad situation and to try to help them out of it? Maybe not. Is there a time and place to offer services to people who are in trouble and need a way out? Perhaps.
But there’s a big difference between throwing somebody a life preserver who is drowning, and trying to convince somebody who just got splashed that they are drowning so you can SELL them a life preserver. THAT is a real shady tactic.
There’s an old adage in marketing that says that if you don’t have a product that sells itself there are three ways to get people in the door – fear, sex or deals. You can throw them a ‘killer’ price, you can… uhh… titillate them in some fashion or another… or you can scare them into feeling like they NEED to be with you. The problems with these techniques is that they have nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the product or service.
At least two of these tactics get used too much in hosting. In our industry there are lots of ‘cheap’ providers, but when your websites is down, so is your livelihood. The hosting provider with the best ‘deal’ could be the one who puts you out of business. As far as fear goes, well that’s used WAY too much in hosting – and to quote Shakespeare, the people who tend to speak most ill of their competitors’ infrastructure and reliability “doth protest too much”.
The companies who have lengthy reputations in this Industry (and I put ServInt and Rackspace both at the top of that list) have earned their customers the hard way – one satisfied customer at a time. I’m ultimately no fan of “rescue marketing” and won’t do it here at ServInt. I just think you should market services on the strength of those services, not on the misfortune of another group.
Photo by Till Krech