I used to get my haircut from Bob Ridge, a distinguished and much older man. Bob cut my hair for 20+ years in Dallas. Over the years he became a friend and a mentor, and I always looked forward to my appointment with Bob who was a sought-after stylist, and many of his customers like me had been doing business with him for years. There were also local celebrities who sought his services as well, though he never talked about them. I remember coming early for my appointment and seeing a person I recognized but couldn't put a name with the face. I just smiled at the man and nodded as he walked through the lobby. I asked Bob who it was, and he said it was the Mayor of Dallas. The atmosphere at Bob's place was always relaxing with light classical music in the background, and the conversation with Bob was always uplifting. I never left his business without a bounce in my step.
I then moved to Austin just after Bob retired. I did not realize how difficult it would be to find a hairstylist that was as professional as Bob. I finally found someone who I believed would at least provide me with a good haircut. Her name was Susan. Susan was in her early 30s, took pride in her work, and you could tell her customers liked her. I remember after Susan first cut my hair coming home and telling my wife that she was the stylist I've been looking for since Bob retired.
Several weeks later, I called to schedule an appointment with Susan and was informed she no longer worked there, and they could not tell me where she went.
Long before it became popular, Seth Godin coined the term permission marketing. He defined it as "the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them."
Susan, my new found Austin stylist, had a level of permission to keep in touch with me. I remember she had an index card where she jotted notes of what was important to me about my hair and some information about things I liked. The problem was she didn't take advantage of building a sustainable marketing strategy to help fans like me stay in touch, informed, and engaged wherever she went.
It would have been the most natural thing for her to send a message every four weeks, reminding me it's time to schedule an appointment. Or she could have used that message to notify me of her new change in business and how to schedule an appointment. She could have even sent me tips on how to better care for my hair or give me motivational success tips since she was very motivational. Susan had earned a level of permission where her emails would have been welcomed.
Permission marketing isn't glamorous. It's hard work and requires patience. I believe most marketers are only thinking of getting and closing the sale.
When you consider your customer's needs and anticipate the problem, you can help them solve; your marketing strategy takes on a whole new meaning of relevance.
In a world of call blocking, unsought messages, and fleeting attention, relevance is remarkable.
What do you need to do today to create the opportunity to serve your customer where they look forward to hearing from you and where the marketing is something they are interested in?
P.S. If you know an excellent hairstylist in Austin let me know.
If you feel like you don’t have the complete picture of what your business should look like or you have a business or marketing problem that you need a solution for, then a consultation with Jeff Payne is what you need.