Get Real!

The best practices for marketing a service, or other intangible, have been the subject of debate for as long as there’s been a concept called “marketing”. One thing is certain, if you’re in a service-based business. If customers don’t understand what you’re selling, they won’t buy it. Whether you’re a banker, a consultant, delivering software as a service, or providing facilities management, some of your prospective customers just can’t understand concepts that aren’t concrete. So how do you explain something that they can’t see, taste, or touch, in a way that they can understand it? One of the most effective tools to do this is to use a metaphor. A great example is TD Canada Trust’s big green armchair, and its slogan “Banking should be this comfortable.” With their campaign, the bank immediately created a concept of how they wanted to serve customers that could be instantly grasped without any explanation, demonstration, or prospectus.

So today, if you’re marketing a service or some other intangible, consider this: what’s the best metaphor for what you want to do or be for your prospective customers?

Keeping it real,

Megann & Steve

How to win…by losing!

If someone asks, “Do you think charitable giving is important?” most people we know will answer with a resounding “Yes!”  But what about giving your time?  In today’s hectic, workaday environment, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tear oneself away from work for all or even part of a day, to volunteer for a favourite cause, to play in a charity golf tournament, to mentor a student, or to attend a benefit.

Today, we participated in the Walk in the Park, a golf tournament benefiting Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation Canada http://www.starlightcanada.org .  There were fewer golfers than we have seen in some previous years, and we know that last year, we too were out of town on business, and unable to attend.  We often hear our clients tell us that they can’t possibly get time away from the office to participate in a worthy endeavour—that they wish they were consultants like us, with nothing but free time.  Oh that it were so!  When we worked in Corporateland, we had regular salaries that came in, month in and month out, whether or not we took a day off.  Now, our “salary” is whatever hours we are able to bill a client.  So if we take a day off to go golfing, we lose a day’s pay.  But is it worth it? 

This is what we found:  in return for a little money, and less time than most of our colleagues and clients spend in meeting in an average work week, we gained fresh air, exercise, and met golfers from across the GTA, all busy, hardworking individuals, some of whom have been participating in the tournament every one of the 26 years it has been in existence. Most of all, we heard about how important our time and money are, to helping seriously ill children across the country, with Wishes, Fun Centres in hospitals, and lots of other great innovations that help these kids feel normal, if only for a short time.  The warmth and appreciation we received from the Foundation more than made up for a little extra budgeting and schedule-juggling. 

So we ask you to take a little time from your busy days, right now, and ask yourself, “How can I go beyond my chequebook and give something of myself, today?”

With hearts that grew a few sizes today,

Megann & Steve