Do You Dare To Market?

A few years ago I met with the owner of a commercial landscaping company. His business had several crews taking care of the grounds of condominium complexes and the like. They were true professionals, did great work, and were considering me as their marketing consultant.

“Why would a property manager hire your company instead of one of your competitors?” I asked. His reply was “We’re committed to customer satisfaction. If our customer isn’t happy, we’ll bring the whole team back, and re-do anything they want.”

“Brilliant!” I said. “There’s your marketing message.” Let’s make that the first thing people see on your web site and every piece of company literature. The approach will be: “If you’re not thrilled with our work, call within 48 hours. We’ll make it right – no charge.”

“Are you crazy?” the prospective client exclaimed. “People will take advantage. Our scheduling will be all out of whack. Our dispatchers won’t know how to prioritize. We can’t do that.”

That incident, and a few others like it that I’ve had in my career, point out one reason why some promotional efforts just don’t work.

Sure, companies can play safe. They can use bland slogans and headlines like “Quality. Integrity. Service.” But mediocre messaging returns mediocre results.

When FedEx declared that they’d take care of my package when it “Absolutely, positively has to be there overnight,” it got my attention. The contractor who promises “We’ll be there within a one-hour window or you don’t pay” makes me say “Wow.” Are there risks involved with such claims? You bet.

Effective marketing takes guts. It also requires commitment from every department in the company – not just the ad people. The upside far outweighs the downside, however. So be bold, prepare properly throughout the organization, and then get ready to take the orders.


The above is used by permission from the book Three Years Of Tuesday Mornings: 156 e-mails about business and life by Steve Fales.

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