Written By: Adam Dince
Over the holiday break, I had the pleasure of watching the original “Miracle on 34th Street” for the first time. Yes, I know… I’m a little late to the party, but hey–I made it!
There’s one part of the movie that really stuck out to me. Macy’s hires Kris Kringle to be their in-store Santa Claus. One of the mandates management gives Kringle is that he’s only allowed to recommend toys that Macy’s sells.
Santa being an honest guy, doesn’t play along. On the contrary, Kringle tells parents where they can find the toys their kids want at the lowest price. This honest goodwill move by Kringle impresses customers so much that it results in unparalleled shopper loyalty to Macy’s. And Macy’s being a smart business encourages Kringle to keep it up.
So often in marketing, I see the opposite of Kringle’s philosophy being practiced.
At a recent holiday event, an agency marketer told me that he had unrealistic sales goals to hit and to reach them, he sells services to clients they don’t need. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common practice. Additionally, I find marketers selling services that they don’t have the skill sets to deliver on which results in clients receiving misguided recommendations and advice. There is also a lot of snake oil still being sold.
Yes, I get calls all the time sounding like, “I paid someone to do X, Y and Z and got not value in return, can you help?”
I’ve found that being honest and real doesn’t always drive the most short-term revenue, but it does deliver in the long-run.
There have been instances where a prospect client reaches out to me and asks for help with something that I’m not an expert at. There are other situations where a current customer wants to increase scope with something I don’t have the right experience to help out with. And while I could do an okay job in assisting them, I prefer recommending people that I have confidence will deliver the best possible product. Sure, I’ve walked away from a big check here and there. but over the long-term, I’ve built a level of trust in the community that keeps my pipeline full. Win-win!
“You see, Mrs. Walker, this is quite an opportunity for me. For the past 50 years or so I’ve been getting more and more worried about Christmas. Seems we’re all so busy trying to beat the other fellow in making things go faster and look shinier and cost less that Christmas and I are sort of getting lost in the shuffle.” Kringle, Miracle on 34th Street
As we move forward in 2015, let’s reset and try to look at marketing like Miracle did back in 1947. Let’s stop letting the customer/client getting lost in the shuffle of the bright-shiny objects. Let’s not sell things we can’t really deliver on. Let’s be honest about where are our expertise lies and where it doesn’t. And let’s operate as a social community that connects the people with the best possible resources for their needs.