What you should NOT learn about Marketing from HBR Campaigns?

I love Harvard Business Review. I really do. I have learned a number of things and got exposed to a number of thought leaders via the magazine.

However, I couldn’t help smiling when I watched some of their own marketing campaigns. For a company that is in the business of showcasing thought leadership, it was a bit of an irony.

Here is the scoop.

Today, both Kavitha (my wife) and I both received (via snail mail) offers to subscribe to HBR at a special rate. In fact, both the mailings said that this was the “lowest rate they allow”

The problem?

One mailing with the “lowest rate they allow” was priced at $89

Another mailing with the “lowest rate they allow” was priced at $79

Just did a Google search and there are were three advertisements – all for HBR. One of them said the price was $79 and the other one said, the price was $99. I wonder if someone would actually click the $99 offer link when there is a competing $79 offer link.

A few things that you should NOT learn from HBR campaigns

1. How to do split tests

There are many ways to do a pricing split test but this is NOT one of them. At least use a database that will ensure that the same household is not the target of split test mailings.

2. Marketing Integrity

There was no need to stamp “lowest we will allow” on the mailings. It just does not leave a good taste if you are exposed.

3. Keyword Campaigns

There are far better ways to organize a keyword campaign then showing two ads with inconsistent messages for the same keyword.

4. Being Green

The amount of paper wasted is unbelievable.

Anything else shows up for you?