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Communication Coach: How to make intentional marketing that wins customers

October 2, 2019 -  By
Photo: iStock .com/akinbostanci

It is important to make your vision intentional in order to have successful marketing. Photo: iStock.com/akinbostanci

Marketing’s role is to bring people closer to your company. If you are lucky it will change lives too, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Bringing people close is not easy because their actions often take an unpredictable path. What is predictable is that people seldom make buying decisions in isolation. They talk them over with friends or go to online communities. Then they try to sort everything out. This is a problem because your Facebook ads stopped running last week. The problem isn’t bad marketing; it’s marketing that stops. Successful marketing is a marathon and most of us are not up for the challenge.

It turns out there is a way to fix this.

Make your vision intentional

In the early days of my landscaping business, I interviewed a man who would become my first manager and a longtime friend. We had our differences from the beginning but agreed on the company vision.

We agreed that little things mattered.

We also acknowledged that neither one of us had much industry experience. I came from a corporate sales and marketing company and he was an entrepreneur who had recently sold his car wash business.

Nevertheless, we had the intention that we could make a difference. We were honest with customers and promised them we would not give up.

The Buyer Persona Institute conducted research that revealed the top consumer complaint is marketers give up on them. Marketing campaigns often end long before buyers are ready to make decisions.

While marketing may stop, intention doesn’t.

What would happen if everyone in your company had the intention to do one special gesture every single day? This includes you too, by the way.

More importantly, what if they had permission to fail in doing that?

Once in a while something extraordinary will happen, guaranteed. Even if it doesn’t the accumulative effect of meaningful, intentional acts sends a clear message.

For the longest time, marketing managed to get through to customers and inspire them to take action. Nowadays the best marketing is taking action because that’s what gets noticed.

Get your teams to take action. Encourage them to take a little extra time on the phone to chat with a customer. Teach your crews to notice things and, instead of reporting them to the office, fix them on the spot.

You may not consider this marketing but it is because it’s a differentiator. When you do what nobody else is doing you distinguish your company.

If you make that part of your culture it will become a brand distinction. Then you can build that into your marketing to attract new customers.

Here’s how to make that happen.

#1. Budget For Intentional Actions

You probably do, and should, track budgeted hours.

To make this work you will have to teach that there will be exceptions. Be clear that you are not trying to incur costs, but that the cost of doing the right thing, or something extraordinary, is worth every penny.

Most crews are scared to do anything extra because they were not trained that way. Show them the boundaries and refine them over time. Have your crews report when, where, and how they made exceptions, but be sure they understand to take action then and there.

#2. Give permission to fail

In addition to the loss of billable time, you will have to accept the cost of fixing what may or may not be attributable to your company. I work with a company that accepted the responsibility for a broken window even though the employee wasn’t sure if it was his doing.

That was smart because nobody wins a finger-pointing contest. These days if you don’t take the right action you just may learn about it in the worst way, in a negative online review that thousands of people will read.

Teach your teams to be fearless about being intentional.

#3. Celebrate the wins and build the culture

Your people need to see what a culture of intentional actions looks like.

You have great stories about how your company has delighted customers over the years. Document and illustrate these examples so that everyone knows this is part of the culture.

Stories communicate intent, and intent communicates what to do in unfamiliar situations.

To make this practical, consider giving intentional actions a unique, branded name that your people will instantly recognize. For example, online retailer Zappos talks about “delivering WOW.”

What’s your word or phrase that will unleash the power of intent?

Marketing is a marathon and intent is how you can win it.

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Jeff Korhan

About the Author:

Jeff Korhan is the author of Built-In Social, founder of Landscape Digital Institute, and a Duct Tape Marketing Certified consultant. He helps green industry owners, marketers and sales teams craft and communicate branded customer experiences that sell. Learn more at www.landscapedigitalinstitute.com

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