Marketing lessons from Matthew McConaughey

Did you hear that? It was the collective sigh of relief South Floridians breathed upon learning they were out of the forecast cone for Hurricane Dorian. The uncertain path of sloth-like storm relegated many to 48+ hours of hunkering down in our homes and streaming countless videos while gorging ourselves on the “survival snacks” we bought in preparation for the worst possible outcome. (Thankfully, we were very fortunate this time!)

As for myself, I cozied up with a glass of wine and selected “The Lincoln Lawyer” for my viewing pleasure. In it, Matthew McConaughey plays a slick yet likable criminal defense attorney in L.A. named Mick Haller. The intermittent flash of McConaughey’s smile was successful in brightening an otherwise stressful day of storm-tracking. The last line of the film, however, aroused the marketer in me. Mick’s driver asks him if he’s feeling alright after he pledges to defend the friend of a familiar client, the head of a local biker gang, for FREE. Mick swiftly replies, “Repeat customers…stick it to ‘em next time.”

While this approach might prove profitable for those whose clients consist of the criminal and the destitute, it won’t work on the average consumer who has constant access to a multitude of options across multiple platforms. It turns out, the typical American consumer doesn’t appreciate being screwed over. Ever. According to Hubspot, 33% of American consumers say they’ll consider switching companies immediately following a single instance of poor service. And, while the average person doesn’t have a biker gang at their beck and call to do their bidding when they feel taken advantage of by someone, they do have social media outlets and consumer forums where they can vent their anger online.

So, while Mick’s enthusiasm for repeat customers is commendable, his methods are a bit too crude for a culture cultivated in the information age.

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