Well, technically I'm not in Marketing any longer (a while back I moved into Support, but the way things work here I still have some input on Marketing endeavors).
While I have some slight reservations in the way this was presented (ie. perhaps we shouldn't have linked this to our birthday), I think I can shed some light on the thinking that went on prior to the sale.
This wasn't just a promotion, it was a test. There was a decision to push the limits (and PUSH we did!) on what we can offer and see if it would still be profitable in the longer term. Once we have a good idea what will result from this, we'll use that knowledge in deciding how to forge our future plans.
We're a little insane at times, but we're not stupid. To have extended this to all of our existing customers without a 100% firm grasp of what would have resulted could have jeopardized our company and put us out of business if the bet didn't pay off. It made much more sense to "test the waters" in as extreme a way as we could and take only a nominal hit if our expectations were off the mark.
So far, so good. While I can't guarantee that we'll be able to match the same level that this promotion offered (honestly, that seems unlikely), we're not going to rest on our laurels and keep our current plans as they are forever.
As a Marketing Type (albeit a fairly technical one), I think this is a pretty inaccurate characterization of how we work here. For one thing, the words "concoct" and "scheme" imply a far greater level of planning and organization than we're really used to. :>
I do think that you're a bit off the mark, though. It was us Marketing Types who have consistently made new plans available to existing customers at current rates every time we upgrade - often simply adding those benefits to everyone's (current, price-frozen) plan for free without them even having to ask.
We're also responsible for our customer-friendly "Price Freeze Pledge", "30 Day Money Back Refund", and "No Upgrade Fee" policies. We're usually the ones who have pushed Admin to add features asked for by current customers, we are the ones who participate in this forum when we're not required to do so, and we try to right any wrongs done by our company in the normal day to day operation of our business. We're also responsible for making it so that people can cash out their DH Rewards, which provides absolutely no business benefit to our company other than our current customers seem to like the option. When I was still in Marketing, we were also pretty much solely responsible for this forum even existing, which (I think) most companies would be very hesitant about offering as most prefer to keep communication going in one direction.
Also, there is nothing captive about our audience. People can and do leave us on a day-to-day basis, and customer retention is something that we take very seriously. This is a very competitive business that we're in, and to say that we don't care about our current customers is very inaccurate. We do almost no advertising whatsoever, and over half of our sign-ups come from referrals from existing customers. I believe there's a reason for this, and it's not just DH Rewards.
While there are some exceptions, most of our current customers are also very nice and fun to interact with. I certainly don't browse this forum out of some need of more work. :>
Yes, in hindsight I'd have liked to see us do things a little differently. Maybe adjusted what we offered a little bit, and possibly not have linked this to our 6 year birthday (making it a "regular" sale).
However, we can't just sit still and not do anything proactive to grow our business, and to do anything substantial in that way requires some market research. Sometimes, the only way to get that kind of valuable information is to run a sale for new customers and see what happens.
- Jeff @ DreamHost
- DH Discussion Forum Admin