Crippled CEO Blog #150:
Most people have the wrong idea about marketing. That probably includes you.
When you hear the word marketing, you probably think of ads on TV and on Facebook or Instagram or on billboards. You think of logos. You think about slogans. You think about website design.
And yeah, that stuff is part of it. But most of the time, the stuff you are thinking about as marketing is actually just advertising. And advertising is one small part of marketing.
Marketing is the entire process of trying to convince somebody to take an action. If it’s a business, that action is probably commerce. If you were a politician, that action might be getting people to vote for you. If you’re a nonprofit, it might be donations. And if you’re a mom, it might be getting your kid into that exclusive school you want her to attend.
Marketing is the entire story people have about your business. That story doesn’t come just from the advertisements you buy on Instagram. People‘s perception of your company is also driven by the quality of your products, the packaging that they come in, how fast your website loads, the charitable work you do for the community, and your reputation for underpaying your employees and treating them like garbage. Oh, that’s right — because marketing is everything you do that influences people’s stories about you in their head, that means you can market bad stuff to people as well. The way you treat your employees and how well you pay them is also part of your marketing — just like your logo is.
I’ve said before that pricing is also part of your marketing. How much you charge influences the perception people have about your company, whether it’s good or bad. Are you seen as luxury/premium/high-end, a great value, cheap and crappy, or over priced? Your pricing, combined with everything else, determines this.
With this being said, it amazes me that companies can spend tens of millions of dollars on a Super Bowl ad, but then totally screw up what is simultaneously the cheapest and most powerful form of marketing that any business has.
I’m talking about your customer service.
Nothing has a bigger impact on the way people feel about you than your customer service.
Comcast spends over $100 million in advertising each year. What is your opinion of that company? I bet it’s terrible. And what is that based on? Certainly not the advertising. If it was their ads, you would love that. They spend a fortune on first class, top quality, professionally distributed advertising.
You despise Comcast because of the way they treat you. You despise Comcast because of their customer service.
I truly believe that if Comcast took their entire advertising budget for two years, stopped running ads entirely, and invested all of it into making every call in, email, or any other interaction a delightful experience that left customers amazed by their kindness, warmth, efficiency, and generosity, the word from that would spread like wildfire, and they would earn far more revenue than anything they are getting from the TV, Internet, and magazine commercials they are running right now. No question.
Comcast is never going to do this. Because they are scared.
But you can. And the incredible thing about this, like I said, is that it’s not only the most powerful and most effective advertising, it’s also the least expensive. It’s way cheaper to go overboard for a customer or bend over backwards or throw in an additional surprise than it is to buy a billboard or a series of radio advertisements.
Giving out full refunds to people who probably don’t deserve them without batting an eye, having the phone, emails, and website chat answered by well-paid, friendly, capable people endowed with autonomy and power to help people generously and thoughtfully… this is the best marketing money can buy. This creates loyal, raving fans who will tell all their friends about you and will come back to you over and over again, even when you mess up, and even when you raise your prices.
Stop making customer service that thing you say you care about on your website, but treat as an after thought you try to put the bare minimum info to get by, and start thinking of it as the way that you are growing too grow your business in the smartest way possible.
Forget the ad on the park bench. Give the guy answering your phone a raise and a trip to Hawaii. That will get you a lot more work. I promise.
(Do you know who gave me some stellar service last night? Your mom. Your mom also gets a text from me every Sunday with a link to the latest blog post. Send a text to 561-726-1567 with the word CRIP as the message to get a link to the blog as soon as it’s up.
Did you know that I have a YouTube channel now? I do! I am putting up two videos every single week. Go search for Crippled CEO and you’ll find me. I would appreciate it if you subscribed.)