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Marketing Moments | Topping the Billboard Chart

Marketing Moments
September 28, 2021 12:00 PM

Sales and Marketing

Marketing content shared with Michigan Business Network by:

Bonnie J. Knutson, PhD

The School of Hospitality Business

Broad College of Business

Michigan State University

Boardroom Magazine


Music has always been a big part of my life. With my Italian heritage, this probably is not surprising. So, for me, it is only natural that I sometimes use song lyrics as an analogy to emphasize a point I am trying to make -- especially when I’m talking about the ever-changing and always escalating expectations that consumers have.

I had been working with a company on developing customer WOW tactics. On the flight home that night, a ‘50s song kept popping into my head. Little Things Mean a Lot” was a hit tune written by Edith Lindeman (lyrics) and Carl Stutz (music) in 1953. A year later, Kitty Kallen’s recording topped the Billboard chart. And it has been a “oldie but goodie” ever since.

Send me the warmth of a secret smile To show me you haven't forgot For always and ever, now and forever Little things mean a lot

In our highly competitive business world, we translate these lyrics into the Myra Angelou’s mantra that people may forget what you did or what you said but they will never forget how your made them feel. This is the warm and fuzzy part of your business. The emotional bond. The lagniappe.i The surprise. The WOW factor. And these all add up to the key concept of Delight. When it comes to thinking about giving 5-star service, everyone business talks about the importance of customer satisfaction. You must satisfy your members. You must conduct surveys asking them, “Are you satisfied with….” Their satisfaction is your number one goal. Right? Wrong! Satisfaction happens when you meet your customers’ expectations. It is like getting a “C” grade on a term paper. But Delight happens when you exceed their expectations. It is like getting the “A.” The difference is in the verbs – meets vs. exceeds. Which verb do you use in your organization?

There is a myriad of ways that will help take your business from meets to exceeds. Here are my Top Three.

Ø Anticipate, do not just react. I remember a time when my colleague and I were in China to present seminars for managers. The first morning we went into the hotel’s dining room for breakfast, the servers found out we, like many Americans, “needed” – not just wanted -- our wake-up coffee right away. From that morning forward, as the hostess would see us bounding down the lobby’s grand staircase, she would signal to our server who would then greet us at the door with steaming cups of java, a twinkle in her eye, and a little giggle. To this day, I remember that experience more than the splendor of the hotel, of visiting the magnificent antiquities, or the success of our presentations.

Ø Find Your Magic Touchpoints. Disney designs an entire journey for its guests, not just a single interaction. From the website to the retail stores to the lines for each ride, this iconic brand has identified every point where a guest touches the magic kingdom experience. Management knows that each point is a chance to WOW the guests – to exceed their expectations. As Walt said, “Just do your best work – then try to trump it.” Take your customers on a journey, not just a single interaction.

Ø Delight Your Customers. Marketing company HubSpot coined the term Delightion and emphasizes the need to focus on customer delight not just on making them satisfied. And it all starts with getting your whole team on board. In other words, delight begins from within to build culture of delight. If your staff is not happy to be there, your customers are not going to be happy to be there either. Or as the old joke goes, If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” The delight concept must be part of your core values so it is imperative that every member of your team fully understands the why of delightion. Involve all of them in outlining the customer’s entire journey. They will often spot delight opportunities that you have not thought of. After all, they are the frontline troops. To help put this all this in perspective, take a minute to watch (or re-watch) the famous video clip, The Secret of Service Johnny Bagger Story. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sepARXV8MRI). You will be glad you did.

Your Bottom Line Will Thank You!

i Those of you who have been with me in a workshop or seminar know that lagniappe is one of my favorite marketing terms. It is a Cajun word that simply means “something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.” In other words, it means a surprise or a little bit extra (think about that 13 cookies in a Baker’s Dozen).

Marketing Moments, hosted by Dr. Bonnie Knutson. With her wit and entertaining style, Bonnie, a frequent speaker at business and association meetings takes her perspective and brings it to our broadcast platform. She shares decades of knowledge and brand awareness, and gives us all a new lens on marketing for business.

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