What do you get from a piece of marketing communication in which you attempt to simultaneously speak to dual audiences? A whole lot of confused customers.
On a recent business trip I stayed at the Westin in Virginia Beach. Beautiful hotel. Accommodating staff. Comfortable room. Fantastic location. A four star experience.
As a marketing professional, I take note of things. I’m quick to see any special features or out-of-the-ordinary pieces of communication. It didn’t take long.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a two-headed shower as I entered the bathroom. The stainless steel was still shimmering. Was this a new feature in select rooms? Perhaps Westin’s brand managers are in the middle of a test and I’m a case study! Love the thought of that.
It wasn’t until I jumped in the shower and turned on the water that I noticed a fun little message eye level above the cold / hot water handle. How fantastic! A message directly from Westin’s marketing staff. I couldn’t wait to read it.
In case you can’t read it, the sign says:
Restore our world
One of your Heavenly Shower heads has been turned off in an effort to minimize water usage and protect one of our most precious natural resources.
To experience the most out of your Heavenly Shower, you can turn the second shower head on by pushing the small button behind the lower head.
See what I mean? Confused. Totally confused.
This is what happens when you try to please everyone. I’m impressed from their attempt but confused by the messaging. When I read this I was simultaneously encouraged and guilted, anticipating and dreading, affirmed and denied.
The message this sends is if I use the Heavenly Shower head I will have a luxurious enough experience to wash away all the guilt of my wastefulness.
The lesson? Pick a stance and stick to it or you’ll alienate both audiences. And nobody wants that.