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It’s Marketing, Horn Tooting is Allowed!

How often do you remind your customers of all the little extras you provide that they most likely take for granted as just a routine part of doing business with you? If you’re like most of us, probably not often enough. Marketing is as much about reminding our existing customers of our value as it is attracting new customers. So how do you gently remind your customers of all the value you bring to them every day?

Here are a couple of ways I saw businesses do it this week that I  think we can all learn from:

Marketing is horn tootingAt the Vet

My vet’s office has a notice on their counter, nicely printed and in a decorative frame that reads,

Dear Customers, We realize that times are tough for many these days and your pets are very  important parts of your lives. That’s why we haven’t raised our rates in over 3 years. We want to make sure your best friend stays a happy healthy part of your family for years to come.”

This is brilliant on so many levels – I stood there just staring and re-reading in some kind of marketing-envy trance while my dog Capone tugged on the leash wanting to get the heck out of harm’s way.

Why is this so brilliant? What marketing purpose does this simple notice serve? For one, it tells their customers they care and they are looking out for our needs and interests – every customer wants to know a business cares, right?

And secondly, this simple little sign actually sets the stage for their next rate hike. Yup – this notice is preparing their customers to justify a rate hike for them!!!  Think about it, businesses usually wait until we’re increasing our prices to remind customers that we haven’t done so in a while – and that always seems self serving. But reminding customers consistently without asking for anything now, allows us to send a message of care, concern, and understanding. So when it’s time for a rate hike customers will justify it for us! They’ll remember the notice and come to the conclusion themselves, “Well they haven’t raised them in 3 years, it’s only fair…”  Absolutely Brilliant!
At the Grocery Store
The second example of “horn tooting” I saw was in the checkout line at Raley’s Grocery Store.  “We unload your cart for you; it’s our job, not yours!” 

WOW… again, brilliant!  Really? Your job, not mine?  These days I feel guilty  just standing at the cash register staring at the cashier if there’s no bagger  and these guys are telling me I don’t even have to unload my groceries , much less feel guilty about bagging my own? Ok, that’s worth the extra 5 cents for a box of cheerios!

With this simple sign Raley’s is marketing to existing customers; setting themselves apart from the other grocery stores and reminding me of why I shop there. It’s an excellent testimonial to the value they bring their customers every day.  What this sign really says is, “Other grocery stores make you do their work for them… not here!   We’re different. You’re the customer – relax and let us do our job, that’s what you pay us (a little extra) for! “

Do You Toot Your Own Horn?

So, what sets you apart and what are you doing to remind your customers?   Do you offer free delivery? Do you perform complimentary audits or inspections? Do you offer longer payment terms than your competition? Have you not raised rates?  What are the little – or not so little – things that you – and your customers take for granted?

Or did you win an award, donate, volunteer, fund-raise, or get mentioned in the news? Did a customer rant and rave about you? All of these things are toot-worthy!  Put a notice on your invoices, website, or your next ad. Or include it in a Thank You, Birthday, or Holiday cards. Don’t be afraid to announce these things on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, your newsletter, – or even a special email to clients!  It’s Marketing, horn-tooting is allowed!

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