Blockbuster: Smart or Desperate?

Last week I rented a movie from Blockbuster for the first time in a long time — probably over a year! More recently I have been renting movies from Red Box because there are two within close proximity to my house and because their rentals for only $1 per night. In fact, I only rented this particular title from Blockbuster because it was one that was out of stock in the Red Box nearest my home.

The day after I returned the Blockbuster movie I had rented, I received an e-mail from the company with the subject line “Eight Reasons to Come Back.”

I began thinking about this e-mail from a marketing/PR standpoint and could not decide whether or not it was a smart move on behalf of Blockbuster. On one hand, the e-mail made me feel acknowledged as a customer and recent patron, and that made me feel good. As did the fact that they were saying they wanted me to continue to do business with them; it made me feel valued. At the same time, it was sort of a turn off for me because it made the company look desperate — especially because it is relatively well-known that the company has faced financial troubles lately. After all, if I need to be told why to come back, it would seem that the company is aware of the fact that I may see few reasons to come back on my own.

Seeing that renting from Blockbuster costs five times the amount of money I pay to rent a movie at Red Box, a coupon for a free or discounted rental from Blockbuster would have been a much more persuasive marketing approach. An offer of this type would have made me feel valued and motivated to renew business with the company without making them look desperate.

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