Do you say you care or do you show you care?

Great marketing reaches the subconscious. It’s not about high-spend campaigns or pushing your repetitive message until I take notice. Until I take action. Sometimes, it can be about the little things you do. Noticed, or unnoticed. It’s about how you make people feel.

Enjoy Your Apple

The above photograph was shared by a good friend of mine. It’s a plaque that sits on the welcome desk of a well-regarded hotel in South Africa.

How Does It Make You Feel?

You’ve travelled for hours, it feels like days. It’s 10pm and you’ve just checked into your hotel for the week. Your first meeting is at 8am the following morning. You know you have to unpack your work shirts before the creases are permanent. You know you have to read through your slidedeck for tomorrow’s presentation one more time. You know you have to text home to let your loved ones know you arrived safely. You remember that you need to …. argggh, so much to get done.

Your eyes cast your surrounding for the first time. Nice room. No time to think. Look an apple! An apple has been left on my pillow along with a welcome note. You can spare a couple of minutes to devour an apple. You haven’t eaten since lunchtime.

So, you sit down, take a bite out of the apple and take a moment to collect your thoughts and consider your diary for the week ahead. It’s going to be a good week.

Is The Apple A Marketing Tool?

An apple costs pennies. Last week, Seth Godin spoke of the story of money. Within the context outlined above, the value the apple provides far exceeds the cost. For the hotel, this is vital. Would the reaction be the same if a welcome note was accompanied by a 20 pence voucher for the restaurant?

The apple represents gesture rather than marketing. It’s a human touch. A simple way of showing our customers that we care.

Is It Best To Show, Rather Than Say, We Care?

Back to the plaque. As marketers we understand the power of freebies. The free pen we gave away at our exhibition stand. The t-shirts we send to our loyal customers. Brand relationship reinforcement.

The apple left on the pillow for a new hotel guest? The plaque tells me that the gesture is production line. It’s something every customer receives. It sits alongside the towels, robe and odd-smelling shampoo. The value is monetary. A process. Hey, I’m even told to ‘ENJOY YOUR APPLE’. Capital letters and all.

Don’t Sell Goodwill

By it’s very definition Goodwill is ‘friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitude.’ It’s about how we make our customers feel. To quote Bruce Springsteen, ‘it’s just a little of that human touch’.

The human touch doesn’t need to be reinforced through a statement of intent. I don’t need to have my view of a simple gesture shaped by a plaque outlining that a goodwill gesture is actually a marketing tactic.

As marketers, sometimes we need to have confidence and understand that the gestures we offer our customers offer value we don’t need to explicitly outline. A good deed that is rewarded by how it makes our customers feel rather than a process of self-congratulating PR.

Remember, advocacy is nurtured through how we make our customers feel rather than the actions we take.

Written By:

Ian Rhodes


Founder of Ecommerce Growth Co. Helping you grow sales making more effective use of data, technology & the human touch. Get my HOW TO OPTIMISE lessons to your inbox below...

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