Bogo Sale

The Problem with BOGO

If you’re looking for hard-hitting, quality content you should check out some other Revenue Engineer posts.  This post is 95.2% insignificant rant!

One of my biggest marketing pet -peeves is the term ‘BOGO’. Buy One, Get One.

BOGO has been around for a long time but for some reason it has made a big comeback in radio and TV ads in the past few weeks (at least in my neck of the woods).  Perhaps it’s the over-saturation that’s driving me nuts.  Or perhaps it’s just a stupid term to begin with.  I’ll let you draw your own conclusions but here are my thoughts on BOGO…

Disclaimer: This rant is just for fun.  If you’re a die-hard BOGO supporter please don’t send death threats.

Discounts are Often a Bad Idea

DiscountsI spend about 80% of my time playing in the B2B space.  In general, I’m negative toward price promotions in B2B unless they are supported by a strong business case (“we need to sell more” is not a valid business case and is not always solved by discounts).

For example, if you’re a startup and you’re launching version 1.0 of your product with limited functionality it’s often a good idea to price the product at your intended long-term price (based on the value the product will offer according to your product roadmap) but discount it down to match the value you’re currently delivering with the product today.  That way you can remove the discount in the future without the hurt feelings that an explicit price increases will bring.  But I digress…

B2C is a completely different story and I agree price discounts often play an important psychological role – more so than in B2B.  Often it’s the only way to actually sell in B2C.  My argument is simply driven by my B2B focus.  Let’s move on…

Give Me My Product!

I'm kind of a big deal
“I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal.” ~Ron Burgundy

To ‘buy’ is to trade money for a good or service.  BOGO (taken literally) is to exchange money (buy) in exchange for something (get one).

If I bought one, I damn well better get one!  Why else would I give you my money?

Now I know fans of BOGO are going to argue that the ‘one’ is a second product (of equal or lesser value) that is offered for free.  So ‘BOGO’ really stands for ‘buy one, get one free’.

So I ask you this: where’s the F?  Perhaps marketers have avoided using ‘BOGOF’ because it sounds like something a ticked off Russian would say after you insult the quality of his borscht (I can say that with all political correctness because I’m half Russian and I believe there is no such thing as bad borscht).

Anyway, my point is that if the second ‘one’ is free then you should probably mention that in your messaging.  The ‘free’ part of the offer is kind of a big deal.

Marketing Terms DO NOT Equal Marketing Messages

No one cares what trendy terms marketing people are using so unless you’re selling directly to marketers keep your slang out of your messaging.  Non-marketers don’t think it’s cool.  Heck, real marketers don’t think it’s cool either.

Everyone knows you can’t talk about features in your messaging to prospects, so why is it ok to talk about the internal name for your campaign when you’re promoting the product?

BOGO = Food

CornDogI eat a lot and when I hear ‘BOGO’ I immediately think of ‘POGO’ (in Canada we often refer to Corn Dogs as ‘Pogo Sticks’).  Yes, I love those wonderful, over-processed, wieners covered in oil-soaked cornbread.  My point here is that unless your BOGO involves free food then please don’t tease me…especially before lunch.

Love BOGO?  Hate BOGO? Ticked off you wasted 4.5 minutes of work time reading this and want to tell me to “BOGOF”?  Comments are welcome!  Death threats are not.