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Today's Marketing Cookie - Help Someone
"You have a chance to help someone out right now in a big way."
Today's Marketing Cookie is a guiding principle for every marketer to live by. You are working to promote products and services that your prospects need. It's true. They may NEED to buy your product for pleasure - so they can be prettier, happier, thinner or smarter, or they NEED your product to get rid of some type of pain - so they can NOT feel sick, hungry, or insecure. Whatever the reason, they will buy your products and services to fill a need, and you will have them as a customer for a long time... unless you cease to deliver what you've promised.
My mother grew up on a farm in Quebec, Canada. I can remember going to visit my grandmother as a kid and it was absolutely beautiful there. On the winding little road that lead us to the farm, we'd come along the top ridge of a little valley, and I swear, I had never seen so much sky in all my life. From up there, you could see the rusty tin roof of the barn my grandfather had built for his cows. Then we would descend down into the valley where the farm had been quietly settled, like at the bottom of a bowl. As we drove closer, I could see the white gem of a farm house poking up proudly above the apple trees. Making the journey to see my grandmother was somehow like "going home" for me. Although I did not grow up on a farm, whenever I find myself in natural surroundings, I feel a strange feeling of comfort and a sense of belonging.
I don't believe the house had electricity, refrigeration, running water, or a telephone until the 1950's. Except for the wood stove in the kitchen, there wasn't any other heat source in the house. During the sub-freezing Canadian winter, my mother used to heat a brick in the oven during supper, and then put the hot brick into a sock for warmth at night. By the time she awoke in the morning, the fire in the wood stove was reduced to coals, and the windows in her bedroom had iced over. The only place that was colder than her room on an icy winter morning, was the outhouse.
It was a full day's horse-drawn wagon ride to the nearest market and money was in short supply, so they made or grew whatever they needed. They relied on each other and they relied on their neighbors. My grandfather had cows for milking and raised chickens for eggs. They had a garden for pickling, picked berries for jam in the summer, picked apples in the fall and made maple sugar in the spring. When they needed something, they traded with the neighbors. When someone's cow or horse was giving birth, they called my grandfather and he came in a hurry.
After the delivery, he would come home having been paid with something he needed, like a jar of salt, cane sugar or some cured pork. Survival wasn't easy and there were many opportunities to help other people. When a calf he treated took a turn for the worse, and the call for his help came, he dropped everything and went to their aid. If he became unreliable or didn't show up when requested, they may go elsewhere and not ask for him again. If he let folks down, and didn't keep his word with his neighbors, he wouldn't be able to ask for their help or trade with them, which makes survival even more difficult. My grandfather always delivered and the good word spread about him throughout the valley.
As marketers, I believe we have an opportunity to build relationships with our customers the same way my grandfather had done with his neighbors. You have something to offer that your customers need, and they expect that you will provide it for them when requested. Ninety-nine percent of their expectations for the delivery of your products have been set by what you've promised through your marketing. The rest of their expectations are based on common sense. If you come up short on their expectations, either from what you've promised or from what they perceive as common sense, they will look elsewhere for the product and not call for you again. When your customer finds a defect with your product, you need to drop everything and rush to their aid. When you get the call, you have a chance to help someone out right now in a big way, and if you deliver as expected, you will keep your customers for a long time, and the good word will spread about you throughout the valley.