Of course you are familiar with how bad news travels faster and is remembered longer than good news. This means that you have to do about 4-5 good things for every not so good thing you do. That is how you keep a balance.
Similarly, customer experiences will have a recency effect also. The last portion of their experience will carry the most weight in their overall rating of their experience. For this reason, you have to be very sure you do a very nice job with all the finer details even when the transaction is over. There is a grocery store near me that has not mastered this concept. They have great fresh food, excellent selection and other things that contribute to a top notch user experience.
Unfortunately, the paper bags they provide have an issue with the handles. On more than one occasion, the handles have failed resulting in a scramble to keep the groceries from spilling all over the place.
In this instance, these were an “afterthought” for the store. If they had a good handle on the recency effect, they would understand that this is a CRUCIAL aspect to the shopping experience, trumping most other shopping experiences.
In your business, dont skimp on the bags (or whatever they customers takes home from you). It could leave a lasting negative impression, even if you do everything else right!
To deliver a fabulous customer experience, you have to end in a fabuloous way!
I was meeting with some collegues today, and we were discussing a particular Web site. This was a bit of a brainstorming session, so conversations were quick to take a left turn and then quickly (too quickly) evolve into an action plan. Hosting a brainstorming session can be challenging, because while you want to encourage freeform thinking, you also want to keep the discussion fairly grounded in reality. It is a delicate balance.
After a few consecutive left turns, I felt compelled to reign it in a bit. I asked the group “What is the REASON for this Web site. In other words, why should a consumer choose this over the competition”. This is central to branding, and unfortunately many business ignore this rudimentary aspect.
If you do not know what the “reason for your existence” is – start thinking about it immediately. It is the core of your marketing strategy and should be central to your marketing plans. It is the foundation you build upon. Think of it like a house – if you have issues with the foundation of your house, everything else is questionable in that house. The foundation must be solid – and from there you can build fabulous things.
I recommend you read Jim Collins’ classic business book “Good to Great”. Great read – and applies to all aspect of business, Marketing of course included as well.
While you should still read the whole book, one of the central themes is that to become a great business, you have to do every little thing great. The collective result is that it all adds up to being a great entity.
This point obviously holds true with your Marketing – you can’t do some of it “great” and then let other parts go. You have to be “consistently great”. The old cliche is that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link – that is the point exactly.
Can’t just be great in some areas – it must transcend all aspects of your business. All customer touches, communications, packaging, staff apparel and messaging (another future post), every single element.
If you can dot every I and cross every T – VOILA – you will have FABULOUS marketing.
You hear about Apple EVERYWHERE. I recently bought a new Apple Time Capsule hard drive – so I can backup my family video and photo files. Upon opening the package, it occurred to me that in addition to the normal great packaging of Apple products, the Time Capsule actually had a pleasant aroma to it! Maybe it is placebo effect because i am very much an Apple fan, but honestly it smelled nice.
I am not sure it was intentional, but whether intentional or not it certainly speaks to the “total product” concept. Your customer’s perceptions (and therefore your branding) are tuned in to EVERY ASPECT of your product. It is not just the function, the packaging, the quality it is every single thing. Be aware of this – and strive to do every possible thing you can to make it all “top notch”. The result will be customers who are satisfied at every level of their experience! This will lock them in to your brand.
I cannot say for sure that Apple strives to make their products smell nice, but I will tell you that I have unboxed other products that have an unpleasant smell to them. In these cases, the manufacturer was not considering the “total product” concept. They thought their responsibilities ended with the product, but how wrong they were. Their customers consciously and subconsciously attach all kinds of attributes and feeling to the product. If you are aware of this, you can capitalize on it. If you are not aware, you miss an opportunity that may work against you. Especially if your competition is more thorough than you are.
You can’t be fabulous without addressing every aspect of your product!
I was on a plane last night, and i was casually browsing through a “SkyMall” catalog. On the inside front cover is a product called “Bottle Armor” which is intended for travelers who purchase wine or spirits while traveling, to safely transport it home.
What struck me about the catalog listing was that the product was unpriced. Where almost all of the other products showed the price, this one said “go to SKYMALL.com to check the price”. Either this was the result of having the product unpriced at the time of printing the catalog (unlikely) or it was an enticement to go to the Web site – and likely browse other products there. (Orders can also be placed using a toll-free number).
Customer interest is a fleeting event, and it keeps getting shorter. My belief is if you have to wait for the customer to be online, not always convenient on a plane) you have missed the opportunity to capture their interest. How many people (aside from marketing hobbyists like me) will remember this “Bottle Armor” 30 seconds after they turn the page. Not many!
Far better would have been to list a price for the product, with an enticement to select an online coupon code – which would get them to the Web site.
There is a pizza place North of Chicago “Madhu’s Pizza” – it just closed in the last year or so. I don’t know about you, but when I am looking for a pizza place, I look for some sort of Italian flavor. My personal favorite is Lou Malnati’s here in Chicago. Wonderful Pizza and a good name.
Now let’s talk about Madhu’s pizza. I am sure Madhu is a fine fellow who makes a nice pizza (I have never tried it) but I do know that Madhu should have chosen a different name. I will bet he worked very hard in putting the money together to build his restaurant. By the time he was ready to launch, he was probably so proud and so excited there was only one name the establishment could be. Unfortunately using his own name was a mistake. Madhu apparently let his own personal pride take precedence over what is truly best for his business. He would have been far better off choosing “Antonio’s” or “Tina’s”.
Everything you do from a marketing standpoint should be “customer-centric”. That is the first question to ask yourself, “What would the customer want” (WWCW). If you are continually focused on the customers, they will be far more likely to focus on you.
Swallow your pride, and choose your name based on what the customers are looking for, not just to satisfy your ego.
I just bought a slideshow remote from Logitech – and it comes with two AAA batteries. I am accustomed to companies going “on the cheap” and including very poor quality batteries in the package for electronics remotes. Not Logitech. Two Duracell Alkaline. It was a pleasant surprise!
The old saying is “Penny wise and pound foolish”. Companies that don’t delight customers every chance they get and go for the money grab will suffer for their shortsighted decision.
Logitech is smarter than that – certainly makes me more likely to choose their product next time.
Yesterday we mentioned the importance of following the first key step in marketing – finding out what the customer wants.
For some reason even thought his is EXTREMELY important, it often goes ignored. We often kid ourselves into thinking we are so smart we can “figure out” what the customers need. After all, we are “experts”.
The true leaders in this field do not even bother wasting their time to “figure it out”. In fact, the best of the best don’t even worry about asking people their opinions and desires (they could get some bias – more on that another time). They realize that actions speak louder than words, and devote their energies to observing behavior.
So the goal is to figure out what customers want – spend most of your time on this. If you can’t practically observe customer actions and tendencies, then go ahead and ask them. Once you have this, finding a way to get it to them becomes much easier.
Spending over 25 years doing marketing of various sorts, I have come to realize some simple truths. First of all many folks try to paint the profession of marketing as some sort of elusive pursuit that can only be accomplished by a select few who have been blessed with the genius required to unlock these mysteries and create an effective marketing campaign.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of examples of “bad marketing” out there in this world of ours. However a lot of it originates from these so called “experts”. My point here today is to explain to you that you dont have to be a “genius” to create and implement an effective marketing plan. It involves two key steps.
- Find out what the customer wants.
- Find a way to get them what they want
There it is – the secret recipe for marketing genius! Simple – yes. Easy – NO!!!! people often get wrapped up in trying to figure out what number 2 is, that they forget the important first step.
More on these key steps in our next post. Stay tuned!