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Today's Marketing Cookie - The Currency of Thank You
"Hard work is always appreciated."
Today's Marketing Cookie is a promise I learned while President of the AMA in Boston (American Marketing Association). As a volunteer-run organization, there is a lot of work to be done in order to have killer events, attract committed volunteers, grow the membership and become the BEST marketing organization in Boston. So we invited anyone who was willing and able, to meet every Saturday morning from 8:30 to 10:29, because no one should ever meet for two hours. At first there were just a few of us, and then there were just a few more, and a few more, until five years later, we had a pool of 130 individual volunteers who had attended Saturday sessions.
Why would anyone give up an hour and fifty-nine minutes on their Saturday mornings to work on the AMA?
There are many reasons why people might come the first time. Our Saturday sessions were open to members and non-members alike. For that reason, other marketers may have come because they had heard about the AMA and about our Saturday session somehow and wanted to see what we were up to. Regardless of how or why they came to their first Saturday session, I learned that there was only one reason they would continue to come... They came back because I said, "thank you". When my ego or schedule got the best of me, and I forgot to say, "thank you", people drifted away. If they feel like their contribution is no longer needed, appreciated or noticed, they will invest their energy elsewhere. Without any doubt I lost some terrific people by not saying "thank you".
Thank you... those two words have proved to be the most valuable, the most generous, and perhaps the most important words one could offer. I’m talking about the currency of "thank you". The presence of gratitude is the payment I used to acknowledge the countless contributions of the volunteers who gave so generously. Those two words, when given sincerely, consistently and publicly, can move unshakable mountains, build energy and momentum and it gets things done. When I messed it up and forgot to say "thank you", and show appreciation for someone's efforts, my chances of seeing them again next Saturday diminished. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, hard work is appreciated, but the appreciation is not expressed often enough or sincerely enough to put more fuel in the tank. When my team grew, I had tried taking short cuts and sending a mass message to all attendees with a big "thank you", but that approach proved to be only marginally better than not saying anything at all.
Being generous in your appreciation requires a one-to-one expression with real specifics such as, "Thank you Joe for coming again this Saturday and for the idea you suggested about promoting our events on Twitter... I hope to see you again next week." If you include specifics in your expression, it demonstrates that you are paying attention and that your "thank you" is not gratuitous or contrived. If you have fourty-five people show up at a Panera on a Saturday morning, you will be in the "thank you" business for several days depending on how grateful you really are. Once I learned how powerful "thank you" can be, I learned that if I offered it authentically and sincerely, I might be fortunate enough to see fourty-six people on next Saturday morning. If you are going to say "thank you" to your volunteers, or employees, for going above and beyond, you must be generous and sincere with the acknowledgment you offer them. I promise that if you get in the practice of demonstrating your appreciation for the hard work of others, you will also truly understand the privilege of serving.
Thank you and repeat.