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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Your reputation and your marketing

This weekend, we've engaged by email with a truly important and influential client (well connected at senior levels in relevant industry associations) who recently has been burned by one of our competitors. In engaging with the other organization, he didn't realize that not every publisher in our sector -- and using superficially similar operating methodologies -- operates in the same manner. Dissatisfied and angry with the result, he asked what recourse he had.

Just a few hours before he sent that email, our leading sales rep reported to me that another business is considering doing business with the same unethical competitor. He asked if he could communicate with our influential client to facilitate an accurate (if less than positive) reference of the other business.

I hesitated at first, because we had a more immediate priority -- solving our client's problem. I proposed we offer a make-up feature (with free advertising for the victims of the other organization), even though we would bite the loss for someone else's mistake. Our client immediately accepted this answer (and then, observing the law of reciprocation, proposed purchasing enough advertising on his own account that the repair work would not put us out of pocket.)

Then he invited us to have the other company considering contracting with the competition to give him a call to compare experiences. He wrote: "I will definitely get her to advertise with you. If you run in to anybody else trying to choose you can use my name anytime. That other mag will get some serious abuse from me."

I am writing this post not so much to brag, but to restate something that should be underlie all of your marketing. You need to deliver the goods with integrity and respect for your client. All the selling and marketing in the world will do you no good if your client does not have a really good experience.

If you have been conducting your business so well that in good times you "rely" on referrals and repeat business, you can also breathe a sigh of relief about your business viability. When you learn the advertising and marketing basics, you will have a steady and satisfactory flow of new business even in hard times, and you will be able to connect this new business with your existing reputation and relationships.

(Incidentally, this influential client has fed us thousands of dollars in business. When I tell him we owe him a favour, he says, "no" -- we delivered the goods which even when naysayers said it couldn't be done.)

1 comment:

John Poole said...

I could not agree more. There is no better marketing than delivering a good product. And conversely, you can be the best salesman around, but if you don't deliver, your reputation will be shot.