Your marketing cannot stop at the delivery door. It needs to come through.
There's a shift in advertising and marketing. One that is even more focused on inspiring people to tell stories about your brand and business starring themselves. Because the best way to ignite that kind of response is by helping people become part of the story.
Your content spreads when it's useful, shareable, interactive -- and when it invites direct participation in the story. Strip your business bare, and what you have is service people may or may not trust, brand they may or may not like, and experience that may or may not be easy.
Customer experience is more important that ever. It sets you apart. And delivering a great experience means paying attention to detail. Which is the reason why this article adapted from Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson's book caught my eye.
The practical advice to sample your own product and service as often as possible -- and to follow up on any shortcomings -- comes from the head of a successful business in a not so successful industry. What would the head of an airline go through in a normal day of travel as a regular person?
Would they see helpful employees with real smiles, people really happy to be there?
Take a look at your business
Through the lens of someone receiving its services, and make a note of what you see.
For example, if you're in the car insurance business, it's the claim-handling that carries the day. Processing paperwork for routine policy renewals is delivering part of the service; the accident is where that experience comes through.
Ease of ordering, no activation problems, and signal denotes good customer experience that could make a difference in the iPhone carrier newly launched rivarly between AT&T and Verizon. I, for one, am eager to learn what mobile phone companies will do to support customers in the text spam wars.
So far, the process is very manual, cumbersome for customers who end up paying for the spam. These are important details to figure out -- make it unprofitable or very difficult for spammers to target customers, and you will increase loyalty.
In the retail business, it's the state of your stores that tells the story through visual cues, and the demeanor of your staff. Hurricane Kohl's was years ago, yet I still remember the whole affair, especially at Christmas time. I happened to be in a Macy's store that looked a lot like those photographs only one year ago.
Sample your product as often as possible
Become a mystery shopper of your online business. File a claim with the insurance company where you work. Get an iPhone with each plan and compare notes. The more successful you become, the more you need to verify you are scaling well -- you and your people deliver what you promised.
Sir Richard Branson carries a notebook everywhere and uses it. Do you?