Marketing is easy when you’re awesome

A couple weeks ago, I published a post imploring businesses to be good. Being good is important for your business, though it might not make your marketing any easier. But what if your business is not just good, it’s awesome? Being awesome opens the door to great marketing opportunities that makes your marketing strategy easy.

Here are three ways marketing is easy when you’re awesome:

1. PR and social media are easy

For many businesses, developing a compelling PR and social media strategy is hard– what do we say? who will care? who will spread the message? But for businesses that are awesome, PR is easy.

Grady Veterinary Hospital in Cincinnati, OH accepts animals in need from the SPCA. Right now, they are caring for a kitten that had been set on fire and loosed on a city street. Each day, they provide updates on the little guy’s progress. Because they do awesome things, their public relations and social media strategy is easy: Tell stories about the wonderful animals we help.

2. Word of mouth marketing is easy

It’s pretty obvious that if your business is awesome, your customers will want to talk about you. That’s the essence of word of mouth marketing. Give your customers something to talk about– a charitable initiative, an innovative application of your product or service that goes above and beyond what they could have imagined.

The BonBonerie is an extremely successful confectioner here in Cincinnati. Customer demand is so strong that they have an entire cafe dedicated to wedding cake tastings. Their business has been built mostly on word-of-mouth marketing because their business is amazing. The beautiful cakes, delicious flavors and careful service give customers plenty to rave about. Crafting this business wasn’t easy, but the word of mouth marketing is creating itself.

3. Employee satisfaction is easy

Happy employees make happy customers. When an employee believes in what she does, she wants to help each customer as much as she can. And, no surprise, employees find it easiest to believe in awesome employers.

When I worked at Apple, my fellow employees were 100% dedicated to the company’s way of doing business. Apple has a great employee training program and customer service methodology, and the employees already believe wholeheartedly in the products they sell. Because employees believe the company is awesome, they are able to provide customers with awesome experiences.

Marketing is easy when you’re awesome. “But my business isn’t awesome,” you might reply. So what are you going to do about it?

Public Relations has come a long way.

Public relations is a great marketing tool for small businesses and is much more effective at reaching consumers than advertising. People remember stories better than taglines and trust articles more than direct mail.

Local media- newspaper, TV and radio- love covering interest stories that involve local small businesses. Small businesses online can earn similar coverage from special interest blogs, Twitter users and other Internet media outlets. Basically, if a small business can craft a meaningful, intriguing story, they can get really useful PR.

Consumers can learn more about a small business through in-depth coverage than they would from a 30-second spot. Good PR helps consumers make more informed decisions by illuminating what makes businesses interesting, such as involvement in charities or social activism.

As great as PR is for businesses, media and consumers today, the discipline has come a long way since its founding in the early years of the 20th century. Then, it was seen as a way to manipulate consumers into consuming more. The father of public relations, Edward Bernays, said of PR:

If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?

Bernays also asserted,

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.”

Certainly, Bernays’ tactics were successful in his day. He was instrumental in popularizing cigarette use among women, and he was horrified to learn that a dog-eared copy of his book, Crystallizing Public Opinion, resided on Joseph Goebbels’ shelf.

But his approach to PR no longer works. After years of being manipulated, consumers grew skeptical of marketing claims. Now consumers do their research and often know more about your products and services than your salespeople do. Effective PR in 2010 means being truthful and crafting stories that are of genuine interest to consumers. Businesses must ensure they are ethical and  respectful of consumers’ rights. Because if they aren’t, consumers will find out, and they will learn that there is such a thing as bad press.