x
Subscribe
emailSubscribe to my mailing list to get updates to your email inbox. The next 100 subscribers will get a free copy of my book UNRAVELING THE MYSTERIES OF MARKETING..
Delivered by FeedBurner | powered by blogtipsntricks

Google Analytics

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Let’s Not Blame Marketing


I read the news about McDonald’s drop in same store sales, the worst monthly drop in a decade. I am waiting to hear the cry- "blame marketing". We need new advertising. Fire the CMO. It is often like a default setting that marketing must be the problem.

Some have speculated that McDonald’s isn’t attractive enough low-income consumers but the numbers show that their prices are actually lower than previously. Consumers are choosing to go elsewhere for value meals. Have we reached a saturation point and is consistency and sameness the problem?

Part of the problem is that consumers are sick and tired of deception. The commercial shows a beautiful product but the reality is a sad imitation. 

Although I prefer to cook, there are times that I’ll want to grab something quick and easy. Occasionally I will stop at Chipolte to take out dinner. 

It is a real value. And, I share their real values. 

I can get an incredibly filling and healthy salad with a ton of protein (grilled chicken) for about $8.  The quality of the food is significantly higher than McDonald’s and their ads don't lie. Their food looks real. Their chicken isn't pulverized and pounded to death. It looks appetizing in the store as you watch the cooks prepping and marinating it for the grill. 

You can observe the cooks grilling the chicken and cooking the beans right before your eyes. It looks like real food I make at home. And any food photography in ads make the food look like it does when I purchase it. 

McDonald’s and Chipolte are really in very different categories yet McDonald’s is stuck in an 1980's mentality of delivering highly processed, uniformed portioned food that is just less appetizing. To McDonald's their goal is consisting. To Chipoltle, its delivering fresh food that looks like the stuff you might make at home. 

The problem isn’t marketing or the message.  It’s all about the product that McDonald's makes.

Marketing can’t fix crappy products.

Marketing can amplify a story and highlight why a product is special or different or better. But marketing that tries to make you believe in a perception that you don’t see or taste is worthless. There is a disconnect at the store level between what McDonald’s sells and how the talk about themselves.

Advertising can raise awareness but when you walk in the store and get a disappointing experience, the effort is wasted. 

If they could deliver food as good as their marketing, I might stop by for a taste. But the perception is that they are making food in a 1980’s mindset in a 2014 world. And this isn’t just 60 year olds like me. Its especially millennial who have abandoned the golden arches for real food served in less factory-like establishments. Thirty somethings are often searching for local chains with authentic experiences that align with their own values. 

McDonald's is the antithesis of this experience. No wonder they aren't attracting a growing clientele. 

A Quarter Pounder Marketing Lesson
You can fire and replace CMO’s. You can change advertising agencies. But McDonalds needs to figure out how to deliver better, fresher tasting food or they will find themselves with all the sizzle of Sears and other 1980’s companies who never stayed competitive.

I’m not sure that we all want the consistency that has been the hallmark of McDonald’s. I like getting a grilled piece of chicken that is irregular and not the same every time. I want the taste and quality to be great but I am not in search of uniformity

Processed uniformity in a world that is shifting may be the root cause of the problem.

What worked in 1985 isn't going to work today. 

Chipolte takes avocados in the store and mixes them up with salt and lime juice and a little olive oil to make great guacamole. This is how I’d make it at home too. My perception is that everything McDonald’s makes is processed and comes in precooked or frozen beyond recognition. An efficiency is more important than the food. 

Micky D is trying to be all things to all people but probably not serving anyone. The food demands of the population are shifting. How can they reinvent themselves so they can be relevant again to a new generation? 

McDonald's is trying to address misperceptions about the quality of their food through a Twitter campaign called Questions and Answers on https://twitter.com/McDonalds. I'll be watching to see what, if any impact it has on perception of the brand. I still believe their issue isn't perception. It is the food itself. 

Lessons for Brands
Is your brand stuck trying to use your marketing to cover up your product deficiencies? Are you hoping that a promotion or ad campaign or social media can distract customers from seeing your lame product? 

Great marketing happens when the product is so great, so special and so unusual that customers want to tell their friends about you. Marketing isn’t what the brand manager does. It is what the product does for you.


Go fix your product. Then tell your stories. 











~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Does your product live up to the advertising message? Maybe a little grilling from me can assist you in growing your business. Connect with me through Clarity and I'll be happy to coach you to align your product strategy and messaging into a cohesive approach to marketing. I can also teach you how to make a mean grilled chicken marinated in Moroccan spices. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mobile Marketing Moments


Imagine the world in the near future when you get off your airplane and your phone beeps. It is your hotel room texting to tell you that it is clean and ready for you. You don’t need to go to the desk clerk because, like Uber, they have all the pertinent information on file. Last night you confirmed your reservation and picked your room and floor level. Your key has been downloaded to your phone. It is activated and will open the door. You just have to scan it like you did when you bought your Starbucks at the airport.

This world is at your fingertips today. At the end of 2014, 4,000 rooms can be accessed this way in eleven of Hilton’s properties.

Here is how the process will work according to Hilton:

Once a room is booked, the process for guests to manage their stay is simple:

Room selection: At 6 a.m. the day before a booked stay, Hilton HHonors members can sign into their account via their mobile device, tablet or computer to check-in and choose their preferred room through floor plan maps or lists populated from the hotel's available inventory. Photos of rooms are also available to help with their selection. Hilton's digital lobby function is updated in real-time, so guests no longer have to wait until they are physically in the hotel lobby to be assigned a room.

Special requests: After choosing a room, guests can further customize their stay at full-service hotels by purchasing upgrades and requesting specific amenities to be delivered to their room before arrival.

Room key: Next year, the company will begin to equip its hotel rooms with the technology for doors to be unlocked with guests' smartphones, enabling them to go straight to their rooms upon arrival. For now, once they arrive on property, guests simply pick up their room key from the front desk, a streamlined process since the guest's payment information and other details are already verified through their Hilton HHonors account prior to arrival.

Check-out: Guests can bypass the front desk upon departure as their bill will be automatically sent to their email address.



Tom Webster and Tim Hayden wrote a new book called The Mobile Commerce Revolution: Business Success in a Wireless World. I haven’t read it yet but my copy is on its way from Amazon. (I like to hold a book in my hand, call me old fashioned). I did hear Tom talking about the book on his podcast with Mark Schaefer called The Marketing Companion.

Did you know that Starbucks now does 11% of its commerce from a scanning app? Starbucks is no small business – he compared it to a small country and 11% of its revenue comes in through this device that didn’t exist just a few years ago.

Our cellphones are like new appendages that we humans have grown. They are always with us and can replace all other methods of connecting with businesses beyond the phone function. 

I like to think of smart phones as computers with a phone app attached. 

The ideas discussed in the podcast are really revolutionary in starting to see where the future is heading. Brands that are trying to understand how to create mobile apps are starting to look at UX which is tech speak for user experience. Mobile marketers are trying to figure out how the heck humans actually do stuff. 

You are in your car. 

You want to order takeout from the local taco shop. Do you really want to sign in and enter your credit card data? How can big buttons  and few taps on the screen get your special family order ready to be picked up pronto? Mobile marketing thinking is as important, perhaps more important than the technology. Tom and Tim provides ideas to get you moving in the direction of mobile. 

#1 in #2
My favorite story of mobile marketing thinking comes from a chain of C-stores called Bunky's that uses their super clean bathrooms as a point of differentiation. Tom described it as being #1 in #2. Their approach to mobile is centered on something others might not pay attention to but at the core, surprisingly clean bathrooms is part of their design thinking. 

Make it easy. Make it friendly. Make it human. 

How is your brand using mobile technology to take advantage of the revolution that is coming at you? I think my iPhone just became a little more important to me. 


PS. Check out the special offer from Tom and Tim if you buy a bunch of their books. (I wonder if you have to use your phone to get the special deal?) 









~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Need help sorting through some mobile marketing thinking? Connect with me through Clarity and I'll be happy to coach you to help you figure out the 411. 



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Turning Marketing Research into Results



There are many ways to conduct market research on consumer or trade behavior. 

All of them are highly flawed but most of them can be very valuable tools. I’d like to share a few ideas on how to use the different formats and to give you some examples of what you can do to use the insights to grow your business and influence perception. 

Research falls into two broad buckets: qualitative and quantitative. And it goes without saying that you must work with reputable firms with impeccable integrity who are willing to push back and challenge you every step of the way. You want the research to stand up to third-party scrutiny so pick a partner who comes with great references. 

QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
Qualitative research is often more focused on interviews with very limited numbers of people. They can take the form of one on one interview, one on three, small groups or focus group settings. The purpose is to try and find directional insights and ideas that lead you to want to explore beyond the anecdote

One of the most beneficial aspects of this type of work is watching the expressions and intensity of opinion and emotion. Yes, you can often get a dominant person who can derail the conversation. But a great moderator who knows what she is doing can manage the personalities and help extract several key ideas. 

I have spent more than a million dollars on qualitative and quantitative research over my 30 year career. And, I usually start with just a few hypothesis I want to test.  For example, do these consumer carry a certain belief or not. Do they show any level of passion about the topic or is it just something to talk about and they really don’t care.  I think of this as measuring their temperature on issues and I just want to see if the topic exhibits a fever. You do need to be mindful that some introverts may not exhibits a strong opinion with their voice, but often you can observe opinions in body language. 

I also love to observe the time when the moderator leaves the room and you get to hear the participants speak to one another more openly about the subject. Often the best learning occurs at this time when they appear to be more candid as the ‘teacher’ is out of the classroom. I plan for this to occur a few times during the sessions so I can hear and observe what can be a more honest opinion.

Being mindful of what we will do with research, I almost always like to interview some of the participants after the event on one specific questions so that I can get one more chance to ask them my essential question of the day. I get to study their responses where they are free to speak just to me and the camera without others present. Many times I‘ll use clips from that discussion to make a key point that can be used online or in customer visits. This can be a useful way to help share the results of the research with other colleagues at your company. Check out this example below where we wanted consumers, in their own words, to describe their experience using our product versus a competitors. (Note, the sample in hand which helped remind them of the product). 


QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH
After getting some insight into how the target audience views my hypothesis, I then like to do some quantitative research. Today it is so much less expensive to do this because of the Internet. Years ago we would spend buckets of money and months to get results from 25 question surveys. Today it is much less money and so easy to execute. You still need to make sure you are asking the right questions to the right audience. But now, you can take your hypothesis that evolved from 12 people or 24 people in a room to 500 people nationally.

Surveys of larger groups allow you to see patterns and attitudes that help validate your own insights and observations from the smaller qualitative sessions. From the final research report, it can be useful to turn the material into short summaries that your sales team can use to help tell a story. Or you can weave together a piece of research, some video clips and some statistics into one comprehensive animated video.

The key to all of this is that in B2B settings, the trade will often be skeptical of any research done by you. So, if you can make your point through using the results from your competitor or third part studies, that helps enormously. In our case, one of our competitor did some research that supported our main thesis and we shared some of that in our marketing materials. 

As always, an example can be helpful. I’m not revealing any secrets in sharing some work done during the last few years at the wine closure company I work for because it is all public and on our website.

My hypothesis was that I doubted that the consumer really cared much about what type of cork was in a wine bottle. I thought they wanted to get to the wine. My belief was that unaided, they would say this too. Unaided means that you ask an open question like, “How do you decide what wine to buy?”  You don’t ask them to pick from a list of reasons why consumers buy wine. Unaided responses is a way NOT to lead the witness.  

We did this research in many countries and the answers kept coming back. Consumers buy wine based on price, color, geography, brand, and occasion and on and on.  The type of closure or cork didn’t really drive their decision. We did focus groups in the U.S, France, Brazil and elsewhere.  

We did quantitative studies in other markets too. All the data showed our main point – the consumer didn’t understand the role of the closure UNLESS it broke in the bottle, crumbled while being removed or affected the flavor or taste of the wine such as having cork taint.

We put together a booklet summarizing what we learned and turned it into a press release.  We shared some video clips from focus groups and we developed a nice animation that brought in research from our competitors. We told a simple story that helped to shape a narrative that reflects what the research indicated. 



There is more to this story but you can see that it all begins with testing a few hypotheses and then sharing data and personal stories to communicate the main point. Most importantly, we developed tools to help our customers gain some knowledge from the studies we conducted. We did work with a few market research firms but one that I particularly liked is based in California called Merrill Research. 

How are you using market research to help you tell your story and to test your hypotheses?







Jeffrey Slater
MomentSlater

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Need help sorting through some market research projects? Connect with me through Clarity and I'll be happy to coach you to help you find insights or to test hypotheses about your market.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Only We

What happens when your brand or product has a distinct point of view that could only come from one person? You.

Marketing has always been about being noticed and separating yourself from the competition. In a uber-crowded world, how can you find how to be different and to do it in a way that your customers care about your distinctive approach?

DON'T COPY COMPETITORS
Entrepreneurs, brand managers and those in charge of developing businesses often have a default button that say, “my competitor is successful. I’ll do what she is doing”.  This is not the path to success and glory. Many start up brands get thwarted when they realized they can’t be Red Bull or Haagen Dazs or In and Out Burger. 

But when a brand can find their special voice and bring their own personality, flair and world view to their work, they can stand out from the crowd. 

Start Here: Ask you this remarkably simple question:

What can our brand do that ONLY WE can do?

Read it again.

What can our brand do that ONLY WE can do?

Only we is a powerful phrase. Right?

Force yourself to ask this difficult question that requires you to draw on the special view you have of your world. How do you add your touch, your flair and your belief on your brand or product that reflects an impossible to imitate approach? Maybe it is how you sell, or where you sell or what you sell. The key is in finding your, "only we".  The inspiration often comes from within some a person not some committee. 

FROZEN IN TIME
Ben & Jerry did ice cream like only they could do it. Not formally trained in ice cream making, branding, marketing or business. They just liked to eat ice cream that had stuffed mixed into it. 

During a wine marketing event that I hosted in the Napa area, I sat next to a woman who used to work for Ben & Jerry’s. She told me some wonderful stories about working for them that were both funny and touching. Our conversation reminded of my wonderfully serendipitous connection to Ben & Jerry last week.

In 1980, out of the blue, I picked up the phone and called Ben Cohen. 

At the time, I was 26 and didn’t realize that you couldn’t call someone who was so well-known. My wife and I had our bakery business, Rachel’s Brownies, and we were always looking for ways that we could sell more brownies (stay focused) and find new channels of distribution. I wondered, could we sell our brownies that Ben & Jerry could mix into an ice cream like they did with their chocolate chunks and big pieces of fruit. 

I thought that it could be an "only we" moment. Only we (Rachel's Brownies) could make a brownie ice cream with Ben & Jerry. 

Jerry & Ben 
The story of meeting with Ben & Jerry is told in detail in this post when we met them for sushi in NYC. The point of mentioning this is that it occurred to me that IF we could work with Ben & Jerry’s, only we (Rachel’s Brownies) could be the brand of brownies, mixed into an ice cream flavor sold by the leading brand of super premium ice cream. And, our customers, would have a new way of experiencing our brand that would be different and meaningful to them.

We were successful and for many years they sold a Rachel’s Brownies Ice Cream that helped establish our brand and point of difference.

The marketing lesson in this story is that you can’t look to your competitors or others in your category to find your “only we”.  It has to come from you, from your world view and how you think you can add your special touch to the brand.  Think Steve Jobs. Think Elon Musk. Think Jeff Bezos. There is no reason why you can't have your own, "only we" approach with your brand too. 

For our modest bakery, our values and brand promised aligned with Ben & Jerry’s. In the 1970's, 80's and 90's, there were dozens of companies selling brownies to the same channels that we sold. Only we partnered with Ben & Jerry's to make a Rachel's Brownies Ice Cream.

But this special partnership gave us prominence through association. We shared in and borrowed a little ‘hippie energy’ from our new found friends in this venture. To Ben & Jerry, our partnership was minor and small but to our brownie brand, it was an important part of our story that we told over and over again. 

And only we could claim it. 

Making Scents
One more example from some recent consulting work I did with a young woman who wants to start a yoga practice. She told me that she is trying to find a hook, something unique to herself that only she could bring into the world. We talked through several ideas and she described how she uses essential oils in the class with each pose to help connect an emotional feeling to the pose. I said to her, that's your "only we". 



Think of merging the word Yoga and the word Aroma. YogAroma. Find a way to have this be your signature approach to yoga so that your clients will be able to do the marketing for you. They will tell their friends that they took this wonderful yoga class and the instructor combined these amazing essential oils during the class to make this an experience like no other. Smells like a great idea to me. 

So go ahead. Find your ‘only we’. Namaste. 














~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Would you jump for joy if you could find your 'only we'? Maybe an hour of marketing coaching could help you find a path forward. Contact me through this link on Clarity where you can learn more about marketing coaching by the moment. 



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When Strategy and Tactics Fight

How well do you understand the difference between strategy and tactics? Do you find them fighting each other for bragging rights? 

At some companies, these two activities collide all the time. Managers want to jump in and solve problems when there isn't consensus about what problem you are trying to solve.

It took me many years to fully understand the difference and to learn to think strategically. By not jumping right into the tactics, I have gained a clearer understand of the problem before figuring out how to solve the problem. The following are 3 ideas to help you be a more strategic thinker as a marketing professional.

ASK THE QUESTION, WHAT PROBLEM ARE WE SOLVING? This is such a great question to ask to help insure that you understand and have an agreement about the real issue at hand. If your team is trying to decide among creating a video, printing a brochure or putting up billboards, you have jumped into the world of tactics. 

A strategic conversation might say: “Our customers see us as not adding real value. How can we change the mind of our customer?”  How you change their mind, plunges you into tactics of how to solve this problem. A simple way to think about this is that your strategy defines the goal that moves you in the direction that you want the company to go. A tactic helps you leverage the resources and tools at hand to get the job done.

RECOGNIZE THAT STRATEGIES LAST LONGER THAN TACTICS:  A strategy is usually a longer-term proposition than a tactic. In some companies, strategies are set for a year or multi-year period.  Tactics tend to be much more short-lived and immediate. So a strategy might be, “we want to influence several key department heads at our customer who influence a purchase”.  A tactic might be an email communication, a mailer or an event tailored to help you connect with one of those people in Q4. 

STRATEGIES ARE GUIDED BY INTELLECT, TACTICS REQUIRE MUSCLE.  A strategy can be based on research, market insights or competitive analysis. It usually comes from understanding market structure using SWOT analysis or other similar tools. It may blend gut instinct with some specific market data. 


"Taking the river is a strategy. The boat is a tactic."

A strategic idea might be that our company’s products are only used by the very high end of the market because we are perceived as expensive. A tactical approach to solving this problem is to take what we understand from the research and find ways to dispel this myth. 

For example, a tactic might be to put together on our website a dozen testimonials of modest, small-mid size companies who use our product as they tell their story why they think our products are reasonably priced.



Breathe and Ask a Question
It is so easy to be part of meetings where you jump into solving problems with a stream of consciousness of ideas. My recommendation is take a deep breath and ask everyone to write down what problem you are all trying to solve. You may find that not everyone is trying to solve the same strategic problem and your team is just throwing ideas at the wind. 

Until you get agreement and have a clearly defined problem, you are wasting time on a laundry list of tactics. Learn to think strategically before you start throwing tactical punches. 






Cartoon by Rich Goildel

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Need help sorting the wheat from the chaff? Contact me through this link on Clarity where you can learn more about marketing coaching by the moment. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

All things MARKeting

This past week, I got to host Nomacorc’s 5th Wine Marketing Exchange event. We developed this series, held twice per year in California to bring interesting marketing speakers, insights and ideas to the wine marketing community. Our theme this time was “Storytelling: How to stay top of mind and close to heart". 
Photos courtesy of Paul Mabray
I gave the opening introduction to frame the day. Since being close to heart was part of the theme, I told the story of my younger daughter Fanny and her path from cooking with me in our kitchen when she was a little girl to winning the Rachael Ray’s Great American Cookbook Competition last May. I shared an emotional story filled with rich and vivid memories. My purpose was to show an example of how a beloved brand can be created. 

But getting to spend time with Mark Schaefer and his wonderful wife Rebecca was the real treat. Mark is a marketing professional whose work has inspired, challenged and excited me. He writes one of the leading blogs on marketing called Grow, teaches marketing at Rutgers and is a marketing consultant in demand. He is also the author of several fine books on marketing and along with Tom Webster, has a witty and spontaneous twice-monthly podcast called the Marketing Companion.

Mark W. Schaefer and Jeffrey Slater at Nomacorc's Wine Marketing Conference
We spent several hours talking at dinner and I think we recognized in each other a real common worldview of marketing.  
Most important of all is that we both are proud of and love the marketing profession. 
We think this is an absolutely wonderful time to do what we both do every day.  I believe Mark’s comment was that we appear to be from the same marketing pod. Cerebral and intellectual yet passionate about making the worse pun possible and finding humanity in every moment. We both celebrate ideas, insights and a fresh new way of seeing a marketing challenge. And we believe deeply in the idea of being more human in our work. Mark's website identifies three pillars: Marketing, Social Media and Humanity. 


Marketing with Mark
Mark spoke to our audience of senior marketing professionals for about 45 minutes and took questions from the audience.  He shared his views on content shock which we are all experiencing in the tsunami of information flowing toward us through social media and other channels of communication. As he discussed the next levels of advanced technology coming at us, the little clicker to advance the slides kept moving too fast and skipped ahead. It was a wonderfully ironic and human moment that Mark laughed at as he kept telling stories and sharing ideas on our theme.

Mark shared the story of the wine client he worked with in Provence who use video to tell his story. As the 601st winery licensed to make rose in Provence, Steven Cronk had a real challenge with his Mirabeau brand. Using social media as to differentiate his brand, a video went viral about opening a wine with his shoe. This video has over 8 millions views. To read the full story visit Mark's blog post about Mirabeau  or go to the Youtube video

Mark closed with a reference to one of his favorite teachers and thought-leaders Dr. Robert Cialdini, who when asked how you scale the work Mark proposes in larger corporations, the advice was BE MORE HUMANI couldn't agree more.

If you aren't familiar with Mark’s work, please check out all things Marketing at grow. Get it? All things Marketing. 

Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun. 











~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Looking for some marketing coaching? Check out this link on Clarity where you can learn more. People say I look much younger than my age but I am dressed for success.








Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Customer Disservice

On a recent trip back from New Jersey, I ended up at the Charlotte Airport. Having consumed a liter of water, I needed to find the bathroom once I got off the plane. Little did I know that I was walking into a public bathroom with an attendant who proudly proclaimed:
“Welcome to my very clean bathroom.  I keep it nice and clean for you. How can I help you”

He said it seven times during the course of my visit. Over and over and over and over and over and over again. Truth be told, I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. 

With a tip jar on the counter surrounded by free hits of Listerine and some hard candies, I understand that this gentleman was trying to encourage people to tip him for keeping the bathroom clean and handing me a paper towel to dry my hands.

But I feel like this was taking customer service a bit too far. It felt odd and inappropriate to be hear his announcement repeated several times as I used the restroom. 

I don’t begrudge the man.  What I do question is why the airport feels the need to have a person in that room for hours on end in what felt like panhandling.  Why not pay him a better wage. 

Does the Charlotte Airport believe this is where I want an improved customer experienced? 

Yes, I want a clean bathroom. No, I don’t need someone telling me this seven times during my visit to the urinal. And his insistence on repeating the same message over and over was annoying not welcoming. Others in the room all looked around as if to ask, are we on Candid Camera? 

The Wrong Kind of Aid
A few days later, I needed a few things from the drug store. I have two choices, the Rite Aid or the Walgreens.  I avoid the Rite Aid because every time I enter, the cashier calls out, “Welcome to Rite Aid” in the most disingenuous voice possible.  It is as if she is saying, my boss makes me say this. It was not authentic; it was off-putting and worst of all it was not how human beings interact.  
Hey Mr. Rite Aid, don’t tell the cashier what to say. Just make sure she makes people feel welcomed in an honest and sincere fashion.
You are Welcomed
If you run a retail store or an online call center, how do you train your customer service people to be human beings and not automatons? Someone I know who does this for a living says he has  a few simple rules when he hires people for these types of jobs: 
  • Are they already friendly?
  • Are they naturally outgoing and comfortable with strangers?
  • Do they make you feel uncomfortable or weird?
  • Are they overbearingly polite? 

It is hard to train people to become friendly, outgoing and natural in conversation.  But it helps if you can start with someone who understand that their job is the so important because it is the welcome and smiling face that greets you when you begin your engagement with their brand. It is so important yet often the person doing this isn’t well-paid or encouraged to be themselves.

Whole Greetings
One company that has figured this out is Whole Foods. I always feel a significantly different welcome from their cashiers than at Harris Teeter, Food Lion or other traditional grocery chains. They take time to find people who are not identical. They hire people who are genuine and authentic in how they approach customers.  It rarely feels forced. It almost always feels, well – natural.

Acing It! 
Ace Hardware is another company that gets it. When I walk in the door, they have a person greet me and escort me to the aisle where they stock that special thing I need. They are helpful which is really what I care about most. I’m not a curmudgeon but I’m not there to chat. I want help finding what I need and I want to get in and out quickly. I don't like cloying, insincere greetings but I do like helpful hardware men (and women). 

How are you greeting your customers when they engage with your brand? What type of training does everyone at the front lines get and does it live up to the standards you have set?


Cartoon courtesy of www.TwistedPeel.com Please visit their site for more laughs. 








~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the best customer service on the planet, visit my 87 year old Mom Bea who is shown here making whitefish salad for the holidays. (the video on Youtube has the full recipe and is guaranteed to make you smile). 

Looking for some marketing coaching? Check out this link on Clarity where you can learn more. 





ShareThis