market, to market
by linda brandt
Julie invited me to write an article on marketing for WNC Woman, I was
truly honored. This publication has so many raving fans
that read every single article, cut them out, talk about the publication
over lunch and cant wait for the next one to come. I LOVE this
enough about WNC Woman, this article is about marketing, right? I could
tell you about my 20 years of corporate marketing experience in Manhattan,
BORING! I could tell you about my 7 years consulting with local businesses,
BORING! I could list the Top 20 Best Ideas of Marketing, but again,
BORING! I keep thinking, what do the readers want in this special issue
about Women in Business? I concluded that some good practical information
with a little humor thrown in would be the right direction. So, here
I have found an actual example is the best way to truly bring across
a good point so I will start with an incident that happened a few weeks
ago while I was shopping for holiday presents. Now, remember, I have
been in the marketing business for over 25 years and I am highly sensitive
to sights, sounds, colors, sales people, store layout, traffic flow,
and energy. Everything about a store tweaks my senses!
A few weeks ago, I visited a store downtown. When I walked in the door,
the sales clerk sitting in the back behind the cashier register, was
reading a book. She greeted me with the typical Welcome to XYZ
and let me know if you need any help and immediately went back
to reading her book. You can just guess how I felt? I immediately felt
like I was an intrusion in her day and she could have cared less whether
I bought something or not. Her greeting was more an automatic response
to a warm body that walked in the door. My chocolate lab gives off more
walked through the store and she didnt once look up at me or say
another word. Well, of course, I left and didnt spend a penny.
Plus I will probably never go back again. Remember, I was eager to spend
money but the shopping experience was such a turnoff. I can almost guarantee
that store will be out of business in less than a year. Just imagine
the sale that store lost from me that day and compound it with a lifetime
of lost sales since I will probably never go back.
am I heading with all this? It is all about the experience. You, as
a business owner, control the customers experience from the moment
they park their car in front of your store. Everything they see, hear,
smell and touch creates an emotionoften within seconds. Every
buying decision is based on emotion, whether the customer is aware of
it or not. If that emotion is not positive, (sometimes, we are even
looking for warm and fuzzy), they will shop elsewhere because there
are just too many choices competing for their dollars.
about your own experiences when shopping. Make a list and write down
details. What makes you go into a store? What makes you stay there long
enough to view the merchandise, open your pocketbook, spend money and
then go back in the future? It is a combination of several factors that
make you feel good. Will you pay a premium for the experience? Absolutely!
Will you continue to shop there in the future? Absolutely! It is this
positive customer experience that is practiced everyday at local business
such as Shelleys Jewelry, B.B. Barns, Devco Homes and many, many
more. These businesses continue to expand, thrive and prosper because
they have learned the value of the customer experience. (Footnote: They
also have quality products at a fair price.)
challenge you to take a look at the experience your customers are having
with your business. Consider hiring a mystery shopper firm who sends
customers into your store and gives you valuable feedback on their experience.
Keep in mind, this customer experience is so much more than a nice sales
person. It is the experience that the customer has with every touch
point of your business, every sound they hear, every color they see,
every person they talk to, every piece of product they touch, every
marketing piece they see, every process in closing the sale, and every
process after the sale has been made.
the art of the positive customer experience and you are on your way
to a thriving and not just surviving business enterprise. Remember,
about the only thing you can control in the customers mind is
their experience with your business.
is owner of LB Marketing located in Arden, NC. She can be reached at
828/687-1456. For more insight into customer-focused marketing, attend
her advanced marketing seminar at the Chamber of Commerce Tuesday Jan
25, 2005. Call Carol Hensley at 258-6116 to sign up.