On a recent trip I lost my laptop in the crush of an overcrowded security line. A stranger “rescued” it, took it all the way home to Florida, tracked me down, and shipped to me.
The whole thing got me thinking: Mike, my laptop rescuer, was just being nice, doing something he knew someone else would appreciate, but in a way he was marketing himself and his business.
Turns out that Mike runs a contracting company. When I was thinking about how exceptionally nice it was for him to go out of his way to return my computer, I also thought that if I ever needed or was asked for a referral for a contractor in his area, I would recommend him. Someone so conscientious must be trustworthy in business.
Who we are, who our employees are, matters. It reflects on our brands as much as the quality of our products and our prices. Think about people you’ve met in business and in life. Would you do business with the company they work for? Some yes, definitely; some—admit it now—no way.
Direct marketing may seem to be about data and calls-to-action, but that translates just as much to the retail floor and B2B sales interactions as much as it does to email or direct mail or social. The decisions we make about how we market, how we treat customer data, the way we handle customer interactions, all reflect on our brands. From how well we listen to customers, to the relevance of our communications—it all matters.
So hire right, coach well, be the kind of person you’d like your staff to emulate. And most of all, market to your customers not just the way you like to be marketed to, but the way they prefer to be marketed to. Customers who feel like you care about their success, and not just their spending, will stick around longer, spend more, and recommend you to their friends and associates.
As the adage goes, people buy from people, not businesses. Have you been nice today?