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.

Chris Houchens is a marketing raconteur & writer. Connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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7 comments on “the part of marketing that marketing people forget
  1. Good point you make.

    How effective do see social advertising like Twitt/FB on local markets or regions like those of Bowling Green?

    Can our area stack up against bigger city’s comparatively?

    • @David —
      Social advertising is great because it allows you to reach and talk to highly niched audiences who have chosen to listen/follow your message instead of using interuptive marketing. That works in any sized market.

      But the caveat is that BG is still in a largely rural unplugged area of the country. You’ll get certain demographics and the Early Adopters/Innovators with digital — but you still need traditional broadcast and print media to reach the majority of people.

      Compared to other larger metros, BG has a paltry SM presence. Facebook is extremely strong, but I would estimate there are only a few thousand active Twitter accts and things like Foursquare are only used by a few.

      I was in Chicago earlier this month and was amazed at how many promos and offers that were coming through Foursquare (compared to BG where it was only SBUX)

      I think the smart marketing strategy for BG now is to be a digital pioneer. Maintain traditional marketing, but quietly and consistently build the digital/social side. When everyone else starts to rush in, you’ll be set.

  2. Drew Hawkins says:

    I actually had this happen to me at American Eagle. I had a 10% discount through Foursquare but the cashier had no idea that it existed (which was odd to me).

    Judging on the previous comments, social web is an amazing tool and is used HEAVILY for promotion in a big market area like here in Chicago. However, just because a site like Facebook has 500 million people, it doesn’t mean your audience is there. One thing many people forget is that you have to go to where your audience is, not build a large channel base of social networks and expect people to come find you.

  3. carolynw says:

    I read a book in college called Moments of Truth by Jan Carlzon. His point was exactly yours, each mundane experience is a moment of truth that will make or break the sale and all future sales.

    And yes, it’s a huge pet peeve of mine when marketing plans don’t trickle down properly.

  4. Andrew says:

    Good point =)

    Employees are your front line marketing tool. Invest in them and it will pay dividends. Very important, especially for services and retail where it’s easy to slack off in this regard.

  5. Megan says:

    Thanks for commenting on my Foursquare/Gap promo article. I enjoyed this read. I hope when Dunkin Donuts finally introduces specials, that they do it right!

    -Megan

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