Jay Conrad Levinson has built a multi-million dollar publishing franchise with his Guerrilla Marketing line of books. A brief survey of Amazon.com finds the following titles:
Guerrilla Marketing Handbook
Guerrilla Marketing: Secrets for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business
Guerrilla Marketing for Free: Dozens of No-Cost Tactics to Promote Your Business and Energize Your Profits
Guerrilla Publicity: Hundreds of Sure-Fire Tactics to Get Maximum Sales for Minimum Dollars
Guerrilla Marketing Handbook
Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days Workbook
Guerrilla Marketing for the Home-Based Business
Guerrilla Marketing Excellence: The 50 Golden Rules for Small-Business Success
Guerrilla Marketing: Put Your Advertising on Steroids
He has a number of other titles for any conceivable enterprise or need and obviously has found a real hunger for marketing tips in the marketplace.
Having read several of his books, I would strongly recommend them to any business leader regardless of industry or profession. Though not all ideas will apply to your particular situation, there are enough good tips to get your creative juices flowing no matter what your need.
While many of us in the club business think that marketing is the exclusive province of our membership directors, this is clearly not the case. We all market ourselves and our ideas on a daily basis, often to our internal customers – our members. Just think of the Activity Director, Golf Pro, or F&B Manager who is planning a fun event. What is the best way to get the word out and ensure a good turnout? We all use the member newsletter, flyers, posters, and word of mouth, but Levinson’s books will give you some great “outside-the-box” ideas.
While reading Guerrilla Marketing Excellence: The 50 Golden Rules for Small-Business Success, I came across a chapter entitled: Proving You Care. The rule is: More companies will fail than succeed in business, and the ones that succeed will be the ones that prove they care.
“You can say all the fancy phrases, spice up your offer with the proper words, and pepper your mission statement with statements of customer love, but your dedication to service does not come to life until you prove to your customers – and your prospects that you really do care about them.
To quote Levinson, “You can use some or all of these 20 ways guerrillas prove to their customers and prospects that they sincerely care:
- Have a written document outlining the principles of your customer service. This should come from the president.
- Develop support systems that give clear instructions for gaining and maintaining service superiority.
- Develop a precise measurement of superb customer service, and reward employees who practice it consistently.
- Be certain that your passion for customer service runs rampant throughout the company, not just at the top.
- Do all you must to instill in employees who meet your customers a truly deep appreciation of the value of service.
- Be genuinely committed to provided more customer service excellence than anyone else in your industry.
- Be sure that everyone who deals with customers pays very close attention to the customer. Customers should feel this.
- Ask questions of the customers, then listen carefully to the answers. Ask customers to expand upon their answers.
- Stay in touch with you customers: by letter, postcard, newsletter, telephone, trade shows, and questionnaires.
- Nurture a human bond as well as a business bond with your customers. Do favors for them. Educate them. Give gifts. Play favorites. Take them to a ballgame or the opera. Your customers deserve to be treated this special way. If you won’t do it, someone else will.
- Recognize that customers have needs and expectations. You’ve got to meet the first and exceed the second.
- Understand why huge corporations such as #M define service quality as “conformance to customer requirements.”
- Keep alert for trends, then react to them. McDonald’s operates under the axiom “We lead the industry by following our customers.”
- Share information with people on the front line. Disney workers meet regularly to talk about improving service.
- Because customers are humans, observe birthdays and anniversaries. Constant communication should be your goal.
- Consider holding mixers so that customers can get to know your people better and vice versa. Bonds form.
- Invest in phone equipment that makes your business sound friendly, easy to do business with, and professional.
- Design your physical layout for efficiency, clarity of signage, lighting, handicap accessibility, and simplicity.
- Act on the knowledge that what customers value most are attention, dependability, promptness, and competence.
- When it comes to customer service, Nordstrom department stores may be doing the best job in America, though Disney is giving them a run for their money. The Nordstrom service manual is eloquent in its simplicity: “Use your good judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.”
Levinson gives other important tips:
- “Proving you care is paying attention to the details. There are a slew of them . . .”
- “Think in terms of educating your customers . . . “
- “When things go wrong, prove you care by seeing to it that the customer comes out on top . . .”
- “. . . smart companies prove their mettle in the way they treat complaining customers. They solve the problem first and deal with the red tape later. They also know that complaining customers can be assets to guerrilla companies . . . [they] pay close attention to complaints.”
- “Be sure to apologize when something goes wrong . . . apologies don’t cost you anything.”
Reading this chapter puts me strongly in mind of two important things:
- Hospitality Resources International’s Operating Standard that we recognize the ultimate value of people in everything we do.
- The Golden Rule.
Following these two guides in the service business just about covers it all and are clearly essential components of successful marketing!
Thanks and have a great day!
This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.
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