After my family’s fourth hour of driving north on Interstate 95 toward Cape Cod, we all started to get hungry. And cranky. Wanting to avoid the food hell of McDonalds, Subway, and Wendy’s, we researched our dining options: Betsy’s Diner, 2.7 miles away with a TripAdvisor rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars, or Chad’s Burgers with a rating of 4.4. I’ve learned the hard way that reading the reviews is often more telling than the rating alone. The reviews pushed us to Chad’s Burgers, and wonderful lunches were had by all.
TripAdvisor, Yelp, Angie’s List, and Houzz—are these marketing efforts? Are they sales efforts? Or do they reflect the production/execution of the businesses?
The traditional silos of marketing, lead intake, sales, production, and client follow-up are breaking down. It’s about the overall experience, from the first impression to the last touch. What do the brand, the website, the logo, the print ads convey and what do they stand for? Does my first touch with the business align with that? How about the follow-up email and other touches? Do the people I meet from the business—regardless if they are in sales, marketing, or in production—align?
The silos have broken down because of transparency garnered via the web. I don’t have to believe what you say in your marketing; I can read client experiences written by actual clients. I can read employee experiences written by actual employees. Marketing and sales are no longer a moment. They are steps in the dance between business and client.
To make this dance as effective as possible, we need to start by knowing clearly who we are and what we do best, and telling that story as effectively as possible. Not just when we meet the homeowner, but in our entire presence: on our website, on review sites, with neighbors, through referrals, in our logo, on our vans and our job signs. They all need to tell our story as authentically and as consistently as possible.
That story needs to be reinforced when we meet with the homeowner, during the follow-up, in how we present our scope of work and designs, and at every touchpoint. Companies that aren’t true to their promises will fail—it is just a matter of when. There is no hiding in today’s world. Conversely, thrilled clients will tell others, which will strengthen companies that stand true to their promises.
I thought marketing and sales would get easier with the internet of things and the big data that came with it. I thought wrong. Marketing and sales are harder than ever. We still have to push our messaging through print, word of mouth, and TV—in addition to keeping up with digital, blogs, ever-changing websites, pay per click, and SEO. But the real reason marking and sales are tougher is because they are no longer moments in time.
The real work starts after we set the expectations and make the promises. We better bring it through each and every touchpoint, because if we don’t, the entire dance will end. Our marketing and sales efforts are only as strong as every other link in the chain.