The sign on top of the counter read, “Buy by the slice.”
I glanced over to the lady with a big smile on her face as she pointed her finger to the chocolate cake located on the bottom shelf of the display. With a look of anticipation and excitement she said to the man behind the counter, “I’d like to have a big slice of that chocolate cake!”
Eager for my turn in line, I was watching the exchange between the two as well as salivating for a slice of the white cake, called “Wedding Cake.”
The man working behind the counter said to the lady matter of factly, and with no empathy or emotion, “That one is not for sale by the slice today, you can have a slice of our Neapolitan cake or carrot cake.”
I could see and feel the excitement and anticipation leave the lady as well as those in the room who were also watching. I felt disappointed for her, and I also realized my hopes for a slice of the “Wedding Cake” were dashed as well.
I thought about that exchange for the rest of the day.
What was it about the salesman behind the counter that turned me off as well as several others in that small shop?
We could discuss his sales tactics. We could talk about his lack of kindness or empathy. We could talk about how they could be more specific with the signage. I could even mention the reports my wife found on Yelp within seconds of the exchange, about similar customer experiences with that shop and more specifically with that salesman.
But I prefer to think about his marketing and what I believe turns us off as customers.
What turns us off?
The fact is the salesman behind the counter wasn’t looking out for his customer’s best interest.
Trust is the basis for any friendship. A friend has your best interest at heart, always.
When someone isn’t looking out for your best interest, that means they are looking out for themselves.
So what does this have to do with marketing?
Marketing, as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: “The activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc.”
This definition may have been true in 1990. Today it is outdated.
Marketing is the pursuit of developing meaningful connections with people by being relentlessly helpful and delivering value.
In order to successfully market our services and products today, we must create more lasting connections that reflect genuine care, likability, and value.
Today we have instant access to any information we want. We aren’t just competing locally. We are competing for attention. There are a lot of ways to get more attention. It begins by making your marketing personal, relevant, timely, and making sure it connects. Customer experiences matter now more than ever. If you don’t create a show worthy of attention, you might be like that man behind the counter at that small shop, who is not likely to see the lady who wanted a slice of that chocolate cake ever again. She will be showing up at Whole Foods or somewhere else, never to return to that small shop.
It really is that simple.
Randy Langford says
Great article! You are gifted beyond words. Thanks for sharing this!
Jeff Payne says
Hi Randy, coming from you that means a lot to me. Thank you. I hope you are doing well.