Marketing is everything. And I’m not exaggerating.
If marketing is an expression of your company’s reputation (or brand), then every experience your customers have with your company is a marketing interaction. Your customers don’t stop evaluating your company and forming opinions just because they aren’t interacting with your traditional marketing. Here are five reasons why everything you do is marketing.
- Receiving a rude call from your accounting department will override any positive experience a customer has had with a customer service representative.
- Having a great experience with her waiter will do more to grow your customer’s relationship with your restaurant than receiving a coupon in the mail.
- Getting cut off in traffic by your service technician will shape a potential customer’s opinion of your company more than receiving a sales call.
- Not being able to find someone to answer his question is more influential to your customer than the most comprehensive FAQ on your website.
- A compassionate employee on the phone can turn a billing error into a positive experience with your customer.
There is a common thread woven through all five examples. It is personal experience and human interaction. People are more important than marketing strategies. Personal experience is more powerful than brand promises. This conclusion shouldn’t be surprising. Your customers are individual people, and people value relationships.
Anytime you treat your customer as an individual instead of as part of a group, they will remember that instance more frequently and place more value on it. But, as you can see above, not every personal interaction with your business creates a good impression.
How well does your business handle personal interactions? Think broadly– anyone who sees a customer face-to-face, talks to a customer on the phone, writes email correspondence or interacts with customers using social media. Even more broadly, think of all the systems that enable these customer interactions such as your company policies, your website design, your phone system and the layout of your stores. Do these systems help facilitate great personal interactions?
As you ponder these questions, remember that your customers believe marketing is everything you do. Every minute they are evaluating you. Make those minutes count.