When I’m consulting my clients on marketing it gets hard to determine the line of where marketing stops. Many think it’s tied to the advertising, when in fact it goes way beyond that, but I’m not sure how far. A great story I heard a few years ago by a very successful retailer in Naples Florida makes me wonder if it does stop.
Noel was the business owner’s name. He had a very high-end boat dealership and his customers were the wealthiest in the area. He was in his office overlooking the showroom as a couple was completing the paperwork on their purchase. The wife excused herself and a few minutes later came over and whispered in the husband’s ear. Poof, they were gone. He couldn’t believe his eyes. One minute they were customers and the next they are bolting for their Mercedes Benz. He had to know what happened. He rushed out of his office and caught them in the parking lot. Noel introduced himself as the owner and asked “what happened?” The wife told him she went to use the restroom and was upset with how disgusting it was. She wondered how a business that just recently remodeled their beautiful showroom could ignore the women’s restroom. She questioned him about whether he wanted female clients.
He was crushed. Of course he wanted female clients, but thought I could I miss this? If I remember the story correctly, he mentioned that they didn’t have female employees who used that bathroom and somehow it fell between the cracks. Of course they fixed it ASAP and invited the young lady to come back and give them her thoughts. She did, she approved and finished their paperwork.
This begs the question, where does your marketing stop? Recently I was in a business that had an underage girl working the counter (presumably the owner’s kid). Another business I was in had their “Employee of the Month” plaque displayed next to the register; the problem was the last time it was updated for 2007??? So I guess no one has done a good enough job to earn this distinction in over 3 years? Then my favorite was a business that had different colors on their P.O.P displays, store sign, website and employees shirts. I had no clue where I was.
Do you really want your customers being waited on by someone who can’t possibly represent your company in a professional manner? Do you want people to see that you are so lazy that you can’t fix your plaque? And more importantly do you want to confuse people about your brand?
I guess the conclusion is that your marketing touches every part of your business. You MUST be aware of everything going on within your organization. In fact, before you buy a SINGLE advertisement you need to make sure everything under your roof is ready for the customers to come in. Don’t invite customers in until you are ready for them. Would you rather grow slower and correctly? Or faster and burn through customers with bad experiences?
Matt Plapp is a the President of Driven Media Solutions, a Full Service Marketing Firm in the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area specializing in small business marketing via grass-roots, events, guerilla, online and social media marketing. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.