I actually started this month’s column with a completely different topic in mind. Yet, I kept coming back to a recent experience that I can’t help but share. Try to forget, for just a few minutes, that it’s warm outside…
First, some background. I live in the mountains, in a small town called Red Lodge, Mont., about 80 miles northeast of Yellowstone National Park. Winters here are long and can be wicked, but those who live here know what to expect. This year was no exception. It snowed heavily in the early season, again in December, but in mid-April, right as our local Red Lodge Mountain ski resort closed for the season, we got over 5 feet of snow in a two-day period. It was awesome! We had a snow party at our house and made the most of being snowbound. I parked a bottle of champagne, some OJ, and flutes in a snowbank in our yard while we listened to music, played with our dog Jackson, and grilled steak. It’s possible someone might have seen me skipping around in an inflatable sumo costume.
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On the other end of the spectrum, many were snowed in for three days or more, and most were not happy about it. I shared our story and posted a heartfelt thank you and high-five to our snow removal provider and boy, were there a lot of negative comments from locals. “They are way too expensive!” was the resounding sentiment when they asked who plowed our driveway and yard before 9:00 AM on Day 1 of the snow event and every morning that followed, and when it was done, they brought in the skip loader, again, to clean it all up. We didn’t have to call, we didn’t have to question whether they’d be there, we just knew they would and they did.
What I found odd about all of this — and the reason I’m telling this tale — is that the very same people complaining about price were also complaining about service. The other snow removal services simply couldn’t get to our neighborhood for a few days because they don’t have the right equipment or team to make it happen any sooner. Let that settle in for a minute. Sound familiar?
Living in this environment is manageable for us because we retain the right service providers. One of the most important ones is our snow removal company. They’re local, they have all the right equipment, and they’re always here first thing in the morning. When the bill comes, I usually don’t know what the amount will be, but I’m happy to pay it and am honestly never surprised. I know what to expect, not because I watch the clock to see when they arrived, left, and checked to see what they accomplished, but rather because I know what it takes to do what they do, and I want no part of it. They are worth every penny in my book. I love Baldwin’s and they’ve taken great care of us over the years. So, I tell people about the quality of their work, and I comment, post about them, and publish positive reviews to share my joy of how they take care of my needs, proactively, before I ever have to ask. Do they ever ask me to do this? No. Their service is what motivates me to do these things. They provide immeasurable joy and peace of mind.
So, what does my snow story have to do with AV and marketing? Everything!
You see, in the world of AV, we face the same challenges. Far too many people think professional AV integration is expensive and they shy away from it until they’re faced with a scenario where the experience truly matters. Want internet that works, supports your needs, is proactively updated, and is secure from outside intrusion? Want peace of mind and ambiance, as well as entertainment? Want a seamless, fun technology experience throughout the home and across the property that all who enter can easily use? It’s when people feel the positivity of the experience and realize it brings them joy that they will share that sentiment with others. What they paid or pay isn’t what’s front of mind — the experience and the value they get is what they’ll remember and tell others. When that happens, when people start sharing the love for your company on their own, your company’s visibility and reach are organically and, potentially, exponentially expanded. This is the holy grail.
Go out to the digital sphere and look at your business from the outside-in, noting how your services are promoted and the messaging used. Look internally and externally. How does your pricing compare to your competition? How does your service compare? Look at how people are responding. Do people in your market — the kind of customers you want to have — know firsthand or perceive your company to be a great provider who they know and trust? Do you really know?
Here’s another way of looking at it. Does your company rely on word of mouth? Active on social media, not just with posts but commenting, sharing posts, posting on related and relevant community pages and groups? Does it feel like your company is fully engaged with your audience and prospects or does it feel more like a post-and-go situation (only posting, not engaging)? More than anything else, when you look at your company’s social media feeds and marketing efforts in general, are you inspired by them? Would customers in your portfolio or prospects tell you the same thing? Better yet, would they act on the messaging they’re being presented?
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Given it’s now the middle of the year, I encourage you to block a few hours on your schedule to do a deep dive into how your company communicates, presents itself, promotes its services and expertise, and how people are responding to it. If responses seem light or nonexistent, start looking at other companies’ feeds and, when you do, be sure to also look outside of our industry for cues. Take screenshots, notes, and spend time with your team working on ways your company can better communicate not only what it does, but how it brings joy to your clientele. Do this quarterly, without fail.
After projects are completed, ask for feedback and share positive sentiments with the world. While you’re at it, ask your happy customers to do the same, to share their joy for your company in their social media, by posting reviews, sharing info with their friends and peers. When they do, return it in spades and thank them, publicly. In my experience, ask, and you shall receive. Reciprocate and you will reap far greater rewards than you can imagine.
Not sure how to do this or need some inspiration to get off-center with your marketing, communications, or promotional activities? Shoot me an email at [email protected] and let’s talk. KMB is here and happy to help!