While reading a blog post from telecom and channel partner thought leader Peter Radizeski, on how small businesses are responsible for much of the nation's hiring I learned about the fact that Grasshopper is shutting down its Spreadable company - an organization focused on word-of-mouth spreading of customer referrals.
I haven't talked with the people at Grasshooper in years - certainly not since they changed their name to Grasshopper - but I have often had conversations with others in the market about how their marketing campaigns seem to be the most untargeted in the space since much of it is being placed on satellite radio. According to the company's competitors, their marketing is as shotgun as it gets because - they seem to be purposefully utilizing mediums which are difficult to measure and they are relatively nonexistent online.
And as more decisions are being made on the web - this is quite a surprising and counter-intuitive strategy.
But when I started to read the first post from the company related to why they shut down Spreadable I could see they understand digital marketing quite well - its just surprising that you rarely see them online. Kind of a paradox I got to thinking. It is worth mentioning Spreadable too relied on Satellite radio among perhaps other mediums for its sales.
Another thought I had while reading is what company shuts down a business and then celebrates its failure in public via a four-part series? Either these guys are marketing geniuses or marketing morons - its unclear which - but then again they did get me to cover the news so they probably partly achieved their objective already. Then again it is unclear what the objective was. We aren't able to find someone who wanted the job of leader? We are not capable of adjusting course? We can't take our own advice?
Yes, one main takeaway from the post is you need a strong leader with P&L responsibility if you want to be successful. I do agree with this thought.
But what I can't wrap my head around is if the business was making money and getting new customers, why shut it down? Google and Facebook seem to be buying companies as fast as they buy servers - is it possible neither of them would want a solid customer referral business? I don't buy it. But perhaps the rest of the series will shed some light on the situation.
Here is the first part of the series.
Be sure to read the comments on the post as well as Vitaly Kushner nails it when he says the following:
So many words, and you didn’t actually answer the question “Why We Shut Down a Business That Was Making Money & Getting New Customers Every Day”.