Lately, during conversations with friends in the food business, we’ve discussed their dislike of the word special. The word carries negative connotations for them. They prefer the word feature.
I have to agree with them when you consider the abuse of the word special. The pursuit of “Special” has made most things, well, not very special. We now see a movable feast of bargain hunters simply wandering from deal to deal with little chance of developing them into customers you can keep.
While marketing in mobile communications, one of my co-workers memorably said, “No one ever says to their friends, ‘Look at my cool new network.’ They say, ‘Look at the features on my cool new phone.'” With that in mind, here’s a reminder of the areas you can build features and grow your business.
Customer Service: The term “customer experience” is overused at times. But, it’s the ultimate competitive advantage, especially for small business. However, some owners have sensory overload in their “experience” attempting to be special. Sometimes this is due to financial reasons. If an owner has done the work on the pre-planning side, each level of a business can develop organically so the customer actually has an experience.
Customer Knowledge: Call it CRM, call it stats…too many businesses miss opportunities to learn about their customers. Analytic knowledge is marketing fuel and the data movement is not going away. Walking the tightrope of privacy is an ongoing debate in this connected world. However, not knowing anything about your customers, especially with all the tools available, is foolish. Always look to make customer info and feedback part of any project.
(To see a Catch Driver video sidebar regarding Features and Specials, click here.)
Education: Do your employees really know your business? Can they tell your story as well as you do? Can you tell that story? Education often takes a back seat to running the business, but it could be a valuable feature. Imagine what continuing education could mean to your business’ overall experience.
Communication: It always comes back to connecting people. Not electronically, but really connecting. So much personal communication is overlooked because we think we covered the subject in an email. That can be the ultimate feature. If carried out in a genuine fashion, what is the ROI of earning a reputation as the business that listens?
The goal should be to continue the development of features. These areas are controllable and are the things that really make your business special.
Glenn Kass and Catch Driver Marketing features personal, project-based marketing and communication services for small- and medium-sized businesses. Learn more at www.catchdriver.com. You can also follow along at www.facebook.com/catchdrivermarketing, www.twitter.com/CatchDriverMktg and www.youtube.com/catchdrivermarketing.