the part of marketing that marketing people forget

Starbucks hopped on the Foursquare marketing train early and came out with a great promotion. But Starbucks’ bold move flopped.

Why did they fail? The answer is simple. They forgot (or failed) to communicate their marketing plan with a very important group in the marketing experience — their employees. (It’s the same reason I get stiffed on free syrups when I use my Starbucks card.)

You can spend gobs of money, time, and attention on marketing to get people in the door — but the promises you’ve made with your marketing have to happen when those people come through the door.

Most of your brand is NOT built through advertising, PR, or any marketing message. The brand is mostly built through mundane daily customer experiences. It’s not sexy, but it’s true.

And the customer experience is almost totally controlled by the operational side of the business. If the marketers need/want to build a brand, they need to share their vision and brand strategy with the parts of the company who actually interact with customers.

This is true all the way from the master overall marketing strategy down to individual marketing initiatives. It’s important on all levels, but it becomes even more important when you’re using new and emerging marketing platforms like Foursquare or other forms of digital media. Innovators and Early Adopters are important groups. You want to make sure that employees are delivering superior customer experiences to people who will heavily influence WOM.

For example — The other day, a local sandwich shop tweeted that I could get 10% off if I mentioned Twitter when I ordered. I went there for lunch and mentioned it to the cashier who didn’t even know what Twitter was.

It comes down to the fact if you’re delivering messages to potential markets, you need to share the content of those messages with ALL the people in your organization. They are the ones who will make it work.

guesting at B2CMarketingInsider

I was delighted when Brian Rice recently invited me to do a guest blog post for his B2C Marketing Insider. (It also allowed me an opportunity to shill Brand Zeitgeist again!)

My guest post is a little different from what is normally posted here. It maintains my belief in strong brand / marketing strategy, but does so in more of a motivational way. Please click over to B2C Marketing Insider and read it.

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And for all the new folks clicking through from B2CMarketingInsider, you can browse some of my best posts here. And you can subscribe to the RSS feed here. Welcome!

san francisco #140conf

Marketing author Chris Houchens will sit on a panel at the San Francisco #140conf about using social media to promote a business bookI will be on the book author’s panel (with Pamela Slim) at the #140conf in San Francisco on Aug 19th. This San Francisco version of the #140conf looks to be interesting as it’s a part of Connected Marketing Week.

During the panel, I will be discussing how I am using Twitter (and other forms of the real time web) to promote my book, Brand Zeitgeist.

What? You haven’t read Brand Zeitgeist yet?
http://www.amazon.com/Brand-Zeitgeist-Relationships-Collective-Consciousness/dp/1450206794

(btw – you can use this link  to get a 5% discount on a pass to the #140conf)