Marketing: It’s everything you do

October 1, 2003 By    

Marketing is no longer just about what you say to the public about your product or service. It’s everything you say and do.

If that strikes you as odd, think about your experiences as a consumer. What attracts you to a particular retail store over another? It might be nothing more than the inviting nature of the store, or the friendly people you have encountered.

Have you ever made a mental note that you would not return to a location because of the appearance of an employee, the way you were treated, or simply because the appearance of the business did not meet your standards? Successful companies don’t just talk about their product or service. Every single thing those companies stood for reflected what they were saying.

Although your signs may say “we’re the friendliest propane company in the county,” or “we treat our customers right,” is that really the case? Is every single experience your customers have with your company a positive one? If so, their word of mouth can be a large part of your company’s success.

Look at your operation with fresh eyes. Pretend you’re a customer and think about the ways you would interact with your company.

Your telephone responses – Are all your customers’ phone calls answered within three rings? Is the person who answers the phone pleasant and courteous? Can that person answer 80 percent of your customers’ questions without putting them on hold or transferring them to someone else? If not, then you should implement a training program for those who answer the phones, and make sure you have the right people talking with your customers. In the retail propane business, 50 to 75 percent of all verbal contact is made when the customer initiates a call to you.

Your mailings – Are they clear, well written and informative? Do they introduce services that are helpful to your customers? Do your statements take the opportunity to include a well-designed “statement stuffer” on a regular basis?

Your office and showroom – Although fewer customers come to the office these days, those who do will be positively impacted by pleasant surroundings and whether someone is available to help them immediately. Is the lighting bright and welcoming? Is the area clean and free from clutter?

Your bulk delivery trucks – Are they clean from more than one day’s road grime? Is the paint bright and free from rust and fade?

The appearance of your drivers – Do they wear clean uniforms every day that are not torn or stained? Are their shirts always tucked in? Is hair and facial hair trimmed and clean? Are they quick to greet a customer during a delivery?

The appearance of your bulk plant – Is your tank signage clean and free from stain and fade? Are the areas around the bulk plant and yard trimmed and free of weeds? Customers will judge how you will take care of their tank and installation based on how they see you take care of your bulk plant. The highly visible bulk plant is the most prominent reflection of your company.

Your advertising (print, radio, TV, signs, etc.) – You need to make absolutely certain that every element of your communications sends the same message. Are you running radio spots or newspaper ads? What about signage on your buildings and bulk plants? Whether or not you have a theme or a special promotion going on, make certain all your advertising and marketing messages are consistent and clear.

Your office staff – You know how important your staff members are. They represent your company, so choosing the best staff to serve your customers can make a world of difference. Your team should be extremely pleasant and attentive to your customers as well as able to answer all their questions without having to pass them from one person to another. Make sure they are trained on how to greet your customers when they walk in the door and how to give them prompt, reliable service.

Competent staff is what your customers expect and if even one person in your office does not meet the standards you’ve set, your marketing efforts may all go to waste.

Word of mouth – key to success!

Your current customers are your best or worst marketing “tools.” Their word of mouth can be some of the best advertising money can buy. So are your customers spreading the message you want the rest of the public to hear?

If you consider your marketing efforts as “everything you do” and are committed to doing a great job, your customers’ word-of-mouth advertising can bring you years of continued business.

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