I was sitting at a restaurant a few nights ago, having dinner with a friend of mine. Said friend is an accounting/finance/bookkeeping type, and she was talking about giving advice to someone about which payroll service to use. Gesturing as she spoke, she told me what she’d said: if you used Paychex (or someone) for your payroll, when you called customer service, you got put on hold in some foreign country, then told they’d call you back (maybe). However, if you used ADP (or someone) for your payroll, when you called customer service, you got someone you knew immediately, who knew you, who you’d talked to before and was familiar with your account, and who was American.
And then it struck me: that moment, that thing, was the Marketing Moment of Truth. This is what all those dollars and ideas and plans are aimed at — when someone talks about you. When they refer you (or not). When they talk about how great you are (or not). That moment has a gigantic impact on your prospects for a new customer. As I recounted in my previous post, I signed up with a trainer for the first time in my life because someone whose opinion I trusted said I should.
It’s easy, and reasonable, to define marketing as what you say, and to think that when you do that, you’re on the way to having a marketing strategy. Which is actually incomplete. Marketing is also what other people say about you. And when they do, they won’t have fully thought it out. They won’t, probably, have a lot of time. They’ll talk for a few minutes, describe their experience, and use the first few words that pop into their heads. But their words will have tremendous impact.
What do you want those words to be? If you distilled your positioning and your brand down into a few key points, a summary, what someone says to someone else over lunch, or while waiting for an Uber, what do you want them to say? When you figure that out, that’s when you actually have a strategy.