Ranting about a Panera Bread Marketing Fail

I rarely rant publicly about stuff like this.  Oh, I used to… a few years ago I called out Arby’s and JC Penney. It got some attention.  But today, I’m going to do it again and this time Panera Bread’s online marketing department is getting my attention.

Over the weekend I received an email from Panera urging me to use a reward I earned.  It was $5 off an order and expired on July 21st.  So Tuesday my scheduled meetings allowed me to visit Panera for lunch.  $5 off would mean about half off.

The email

The email

I stopped in at noon, they swiped my Panera key fob and I placed my order.  But there was no discount.  They checked and said the reward was only for online orders. I missed that detail. My fault.

A little disgruntled but hungry, I went ahead with my order.  As I was eating, I thought, what can I order online before I leave to take home?  So I checked.

My online rewards dashboard

My online rewards dashboard

See the Order Online link in the upper right corner?  I clicked it and here’s what I got:

Looks like No Soup For You!

Looks like No Soup For You!

Okay, Panera, this is bad.  Most people will not speak out about this circle of marketing failure.  But then, I’m not like most people.

I have worked fulltime in internet marketing and I know that sometimes those IT people don’t communicate with the marketing people. But they should.  And unless your website is really broke, don’t do “system maintenance during your prime time busy hours.  Do it overnight on the weekend.  Not lunchtime on a weekday.

End of rant.

As a side note:

This week I am organizing an email campaign for one of my advertising partners that kicks off in August that was pretty simple.  And I’m also organizing another online campaign that includes weekly email offers, a text club offer, YouTube video mentions and social media contesting with Facebook and Twitter in addition to radio ads on WOWO.  We’ll kick this off next month for a local movie theater.

Both of these will be fun, not frustrating.

Scott Howard aka ScLoHo has 25+ years of experience in marketing , advertising, media and works directly in the radio and digital world from Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Contact him at Scott@ScLoHo.net or 260.255.4357.

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