Even the PR News fell prey to this tactic. Quoted from an actual email: "The entry deadline is today (July 11) for PR News' Digital PR Awards. If you can't submit by tonight at midnight ET, you can enter by next week's final deadline on July 18." Huh?
Why don't they just say the deadline is July 18 and stick with it?
I feel like the same thing happened when I applied to be a peer reviewer for an accreditation team. The deadline was May 15 and notification was due on June 15. When I did not hear back, I inquired as to my status. "We extended the deadline and got so many applications that it will take us until August 20 to decide," they said. Why did they extend the deadline if they did not need to? Do I get extra brownie points because I applied on time -- the first on time, not the second one?
My office is guilty of this tactic too, but hopefully not in such a blatant way as these examples.
Before you extend your fabulous offer, think about whether you wouldn't be better off just living with what you've got for this round and then creating a whole new incentive for the next attempt. If one deadline becomes soft, it's hard to develop the credibility that is needed to make future deadlines firm in the client's mind.
-- beth triplett