Step 1 in Marketing

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MarketingIntegrated marketing communications is an elaborate concoction that requires skill, creativity, understanding, and confidence.  There is no easy 10-step process designed to guarantee results and answer all company problems.  If your marketing plan and company strategy are based off of a collection of step-by-step lists create by gurus and marketing scientists (probably selling $1,000 seminars), please….please back away from the computer.  No one, I repeat, NO ONE out there has a guaranteed quick fix for any of your social media, company, advertising, or marketing needs.  I can tell you this, the best thing, the very best thing you can do for your marketing and for your company is to hire good people.

It sounds basic.  It sounds like a no brainer, but as I progress through my degree program and my “early years” as a marketing professional I can tell you from a marketer’s perspective and a customer’s perspective, too many companies don’t get it.  Last week I had something installed in my office.  I was headed out to a program and couldn’t stay for the entire installation, but prior to leaving the installers admitted the item was damaged and there was debris between the background and plexi cover.  I provided them with tools to help remedy the situation.  I returned from the program (which they attended) to find the following: 1. Dust and drywall on the floor and desk 2. A chip in the corner of the item 3. Tools thrown on my desk haphazardly 4. Three cracks in the plexi cover 5. Uneven edges around the plexi 6. No note.  Now, I was a little surprised because we’ve used these installers in the past and have typically done a great job.  I emailed them asking their thoughts on some improvements that could be made and was shocked at their response.  They committed the worst business act imaginable (OK maybe not worst, but from a customer perspective it’s pretty bad).  They did a sub-par job, knew they did a sub-par job, and they were not going to do anything to fix it until I emailed them.  My jaw dropped.  Since when is it OK to not deliver on a brand promise?

In that same week, I had another issue with my eye doctor.  The experience with them so far had been a bit rocky, but as a marketer I understood they were trying to differentiate themselves from the competition and could cut them a little slack.  I had booked a time to drive an hour and get my new glasses fitted.  I had already talked to two different people and was surprised when I was contacted by a third.  She called to tell me the company that put the new lenses in my glasses broke them.   I called back the next day for clarification and was immediately transferred to a new individual.  The women on the other end explained the situation (which was not as bad as I was lead to believe) and even offered to drive them to a town closer to me so my drive was not as long.  In addition they are fixing the damage and included an additional pair of contacts.  ( I was also having contact issues which lead to me having an extra half of a contact in my eye for three days, but that’s another story.)  Now, the women I spoke with was not required to offer to meet me halfway to deliver my glasses or include an extra pair of contacts, but she did.  She knew that I was disappointed and she cared enough to fix it.  I am willing to bet that there’s no section of the employee manual that says, If you encounter a disappointed customer due to contact and eyeglass issues in the same week and they’re from Whitewater, Wisconsin – please see appendix B.  If that is the case, the HR department has far too much time on their hands.

The take away here is if you hire people that care and like their job, marketing is a whole lot easier.  I’ve encountered people internally that make it difficult to say nice things about a company I have worked for.  I worked there and didn’t want to say nice things because employees treated each other poorly!! Aren’t we all working towards the same goals?  Marketing is not the sole responsibility of the marketing department.  Marketing happens every minute of every day with or without the marketing department.  If you hire good people, they will market the company for you.  Customers and employees will talk about the fantastic experiences they had and that is more valuable than 100 direct mail brochures.

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