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Archive for March, 2012

Be Remarkable And Turn Your Customers To Marketers


Image courtesy of http://boboling.com/

We were at The Works with the kids for some burgers last weekend. If you know me, I’m not a big fan of burgers especially that my wife is awesome at cooking (I may end up managing a restaurant if I quit being a tech geek one day.) When you’re in a restaurant, you’re the customer. You reserve the right to a good experience and a great service. But as we were preparing to leave, I’ve decided to teach my kids a simple lesson on being remarkable.

My 7-year-old is fond of origami, the Japanese art of folding paper. He would spend time watching YouTube videos to try and learn how to make those pieces of scrap paper into works of art. As the waitress started packing up our leftovers, I asked my son to create a paper swan from the pieces of paper that the restaurant used as table mats. and gave it to her. What started out as a gesture of appreciation for the waitress ended up as a simple example of word-of-mouth marketing. There are several lessons to be learned from this simple experience that would help transform your customers to marketers:

  1. Be remarkable. Most restaurant patrons would simply say thank you, leave a tip to the waiter/waitress and smile on their way out.  That’s because it’s what most people do. My son did something remarkable – created a paper swan and wrote a “thank you” note together with it. When we deal with our customers, are we just concerned about delivering the goods and services we promised or do we go out of our way to create an experience worth “making a remark about?”
  2. Give something away. A tip for the waiter/waitress in a restaurant would be enough. But that’s standard nowadays. What’s not is giving a paper swan and teaching the recipient how to make one.  Delivering goods and services promised and contracted would be enough. We give our customers what they paid for and nothing more. But giving them our precious time and attention on things that matter to them? A thank you note after a service engagement or a hand-written birthday card would make your customers feel special
  3. Provide tools to spread the word. A paper swan was not enough, my son created two more – one big and another small – coupled with a story of the “swan family.” With three paper swans on her hand, the waitress started telling all the other patrons about her experience and displayed the works of art for everyone to see. People started gathering around the paper swans and started talking about them.  When your customers start telling others about you and your products or services, you need to provide them with tools to make it easy to spread the word – email attachments, samples, discount codes, etc. Anything to keep the conversation going.

Our family is not in the business of turning paper into works of art. We were just having fun while turning a simple gesture of appreciation into a lesson in marketing. Do you have a story to tell about turning your customers into marketers? Post your comments here. I’d like to hear from you.

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Did I Screw Up?

March 15, 2012 1 comment

“Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.”
Benjamin Franklin

Did I…

  • send my boss on a different flight destination?
  • miscalculate the quarterly budget?
  • lag on my New year`s resolutions?
  • miss a project deadline?
  • fail my final exam?
  • skip on my fitness program?
  • burn the toast?
  • let my kids down?

Don’t feel bad. We all do. I was asked this question last night after delivering my presentation about presentations – “What was your worst presentation ever?” And I told them a story about a presentation I did five years ago on the topic of disaster recovery. The worst part of delivering a disaster recovery presentation is when your presentation itself becomes a disaster and screwing up in front of hundreds of people. I bet you’ll never forget that.

But screwing up is no big deal (it shouldn’t be) – provided that we learn from it. Better yet, admitting to the screw up and committing yourself to improvement. Have you?