Marketing Lessons I Learned in Chicago this Week...
I was in the fine city of Chicago this week to speak at a marketing conference. And I learned some interesting things:
1 - Traffic in Chicago is much worse than the allegedly bad traffic in Atlanta where I live. We left the hotel downtown at 3 p.m. and were parked on the "highway" a few minutes later.
The Lesson Learned:
I am thankful - as I know many of you are - that I don't have to leave home and fight through this terrible traffic on a daily basis. Life's too short to
2 - Despite the traffic, I arrived at the airport early enough to rebook my ticket (by paying the $25 fee) on a flight leaving 90 minutes earlier than my original schedule. That was the good news.
The bad news turned out to be that this flight would leave 45 minutes late so I didn't gain very much for my $25.
Obviously, I can afford the $25, but that's not the point.
The Lesson Learned:
It's not about the money. It's about the perception of value received for the money. When I made the deal with the airline to book the earlier flight, I did so with the specific understanding that I was investing $25 to buy 90 minutes.
But, I ended up only getting 1/2 that time - 45 minutes. So, I felt like I'd gotten screwed in the deal.
People - like us and our customers - invest money with us based on the perception of the value they'll receive in exchange. If you don't deliver on your promise, then the customer is not going to be happy with the deal.
If you deliver more, the customer should be ecstatic. That's why you'll usually find extra - unadvertised - bonuses when you purchase my products.
It doesn't matter that I probably would have spent the $25 to get the 45 minutes anyway - that's not the deal I bought.
3 - When I booked my hotel reservation, the website promoted the fine history of the property. When I was standing in the lobby, they had an interesting wall display listing the famous people and many presidents who had stayed there years ago. And they specifically mentioned how they had upgraded the hotel with the latest in electrical, plumbing, etc.
I'm not sure how long ago someone wrote this fiction, but it must be at least 30 years ago - maybe longer. Perhaps the reference to Diamond Jim Brady should have clued me in.
I won't bore you with the sordid details about the sagging mattress and matted down carpet, but it was depressing to enter my room. Especially when I opened the curtains so I could look 15 feet across the air shaft at other rooms.
The Lesson Learned:
Next time I'm booking a reservation in a "historical" hotel, I need to be certain to ask if they've stayed true to their history or entered the new millennium.
Of course, for $39 a night, I might have expected something like I got. But, when I'm paying $120 for the discounted conference special rate, I'm not seeing the value in the deal.
For many products and services - like hotel rooms - we have an understanding of what we think we should get for the money we spend. It doesn't matter whether our preconceived notion is correct - we've got it in our heads already.
As marketers, we have to deal with the public that has these preconceived ideas. When we're not going to fit with them (like charging way too much for a crummy room), we should be fair and make that clear. But we'll obviously want to do this in a fashion that will show why this is a still a fair, if not great, value proposition.
4 - But this story gets even more interesting...
I was chatting with Paul Hartunian (the PR expert who once sold the Brooklyn Bridge - legitimately) and mentioned that I was not happy with my room. He remarked that other people had also voiced similar opinions, but he loved his room.
Turns out he had asked the hotel about upgrade options and, for $20 more, you could get a completely updated room with a wonderful view of the city and Lake Michigan.
Of course, no one volunteers this when you call to make reservations. And it's not mentioned at all on their website.
But I'll bet the people that work in this hotel are wondering why more people don't choose the upgrade option.
The Lesson Learned:
Don't hide your light under a bushel basket!
Think about this...the hotel could have turned many unhappy people into raving fans simply by mentioning the $20 option. Plus, they could have been grabbing an extra $20 a night from dozens of people for doing absolutely nothing.
Sure, we're sitting here in judgment thinking how stupid this is. But...unfortunately, we occasionally make the same kind of silly mistakes and don't make the really fine benefits of our product or service crystal clear.
To sum up:
1 - Don't play in traffic. It's hazardous to your health.
2 - Explain the value in your offers and deliver what you promise (preferably more).
3 - Don't hide your best benefits and offers. Put them right out front so your prospects will become happy customers.
Yours in success,
P.S. If you missed the incredible Jeff Paul teleseminar this week - or just want to review it and take some more notes (Jeff talks fast and delivers a lot of info), you can hear the recorded version here:
(Scroll down a little when you get there)
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