I was interviewed for a USA Today article about a promotion by American Express and Facebook.  Basically, for every few thousand dollars you charge on your AmEx card you receive $50 worth of ads on Facebook.  The promo is designed to give small business owners another reason to use their AmEx cards.

Fair enough.  There’s some logic to the promo.  But, I didn’t think it was doing AmEx customers any real favors (he didn’t print that, though).

I bring the article up for two reasons:

  1. Hey, I want you to know freaking USA Today is calling me for my opinion!!
  2. There is a larger point, something I see a lot with how small business owners manage their marketing.  They respond to a deal when it may not be the best thing for them.

When is a deal not a deal?

I asked a business owner yesterday to tell me about his current marketing.  About a third of his budget is committed to a single trade publication.  When I wondered why he simply said “They gave us a great deal.”  Not “The publication pulls two to one over the others” or “We get the best quality leads from that magazine.”

I hate to hear that because a deal isn’t a deal unless it makes sense on its own merits.  I also hate to hear that because if you shouldn’t be there in the first place, it’s a double whammy.  You’re doing something for the wrong reason, which means it probably won’t work (Ouch!), AND  you probably can’t do something else that may make more sense (Ouch!).

Don’t do something just because it’s a good deal unless it makes sense on its own merits.  An obvious point, right?  Then it’s also an often ignored one as well.