Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What an Andy Warhol Painting Taught Me About Marketing

I loved visiting The British Museum in London a few weeks ago. Other than the original Rosetta Stone, this painting caught my eye the most. It's Andy Warhol's painting called $9. (It stuck out among the 500+ year old artifacts in the museum). The obvious name is why it is so memorable to me.

Focusing on the obvious will make your business memorable. You'd think it would be easy to focus on the obvious because...it's so obvious. But it's easier said than done. You don't always need slicked out ΓΌber clever strategies.  Here are 3 ways to focus on the obvious:

  1. Let  your customers tell  you how to market to them.  Ask your customers how they found you, who referred you and why they called you. Invite them to tell you what they think of your product/business using social media campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Customers love to tell you what they think and if you listen - they'll tell you the best way to attract them.
  2. Let your customers market for you. My previous blog on this topic outlines how you can use your vendors and suppliers to market for you. Treat them like customers because they are good referral sources. Also, encourage your customers to blog, tweet and post on social media sites about your business. Respond to them online - both their good and bad comments.  Reward them for their posts by providing an offer or link to a coupon on your website.  Your customers are likely to post unique ways of using your product/service that others haven't discovered.
  3. Make it simple. Can you explain your product or service in a sentence or two? Simplifying a complex issue makes it easier for people to make a decision. There was a time 10 years ago when constructing a complex proposal would justify charging a higher price. But customers, even the savvy ones, have shorter attention spans now and won't weed through complex rhetoric.  Simplify the problem your product or service solves. And simplify the product/service you provide.
Strive for authenticity and simplicity and you will be focusing on the obvious.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Brown Shirt Marketing Lesson - Part 2

In my last blog post called The Brown Shirt Marketing Lesson I revealed a recent "run-in" I'd had at my dry cleaners. I thought it only appropriate to tell you how the situation was resolved.

When I arrived at the dry cleaners to pick up my brown shirt - it wasn't there! (This was after I had received a phone call 2 days prior telling me to come pick up my shirt by Friday or they were going to donate it to charity).   Apparently my dry cleaner transports clothing drop-offs to another location for cleaning and then transports them back to my location. My shirt was at this other store location.

Imagine how smug you feel when you find out someone who has admonished you for something is actually wrong. When I went back a day later to finally pick up my brown shirt, guess what?? No charge! I was told, "Ms. Jones, we are so sorry for your inconvenience. We didn't handle this properly and the person who called you to come get your shirt was rude. No charge for this." Way to go for handling this correctly!!!

I'm sure you know what happened here - a supervisor told an employee to get rid of the excess dry cleaning  and the employee picked up the phone and started calling people.  The supervisor probably mentioned that left over items would be donated to charity but didn't take think about coaching the employee on the best way to handle the phone calls with customers.

This brings up the most cliche of all business lessons: Never lose touch with your customers.   People who have money to pay you take priority over cleaning out inventory, filing paperwork, building a display, or any other pressing business matters (no pun intended!).

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Brown Shirt Marketing Lesson

My old dry cleaners called me to today. I think it was their version of a courtesy call. Here's how it went:

     "Ms. Jones, we have a brown shirt
      here and you need to pick it up by
      Friday or we are donating it to charity."

What I said with every ounce of sarcasm I could muster:

      "Wow, that is so GENEROUS of you
        to hold on to my shirt until Friday.
        Thank you SO much."

I'm not proud of being sarcastic but the call really made me mad.  It solidified my decision not to use this dry cleaners again.

I'll call the dry cleaners "B." After being a 15-year loyal "B" customer I recently decided to try another dry cleaners because "B" removed the standing 20% discount they had been giving me for the entire 15 years.  And less than 2 weeks later I receive this "courtesy call."

All they had to say is:

      "Ms. Jones, you still have a brown shirt here.  We think we missed giving it
       to you last time you were here. Do you think you can pick it up this week?" 

If the person had worded the call this way I would've been sincerely grateful for her call.  And I wouldn't be as irritated about the 48 hour notice to pick up my shirt.

However, I had been wondering where my brown shirt was...