Answer: Every single day.
Special Forces uses a slogan, "Speed, Surprise, and Violence of Action" as a stratagem for victory and it most assuredly applies to marketing for a small business. We at Allure Networks use the same on behalf of our clients to ensure the most effective use of resources - large or small. Here are some examples:
How long must one wait for a cheeseburger? We're not talking about a cheeseburger from a national chain, but rather a crafted, hand-made specialty burger that delivers something unique. Customers have in mind the moment they order how long the wait should be and if their wait exceeds expectations, the business has failed them and the odds of repeat business diminish greatly. That is but one of many examples of how speed matters and yes, it translates to every business. Making your contact and response time fast and efficient makes your clients know that they matter to you and your business.
One of the biggest complaints we hear about those in our industry is that of delays and slow response time - which is why our clients are often surprised, for example, when they have what they consider to be a complex graphic design project and we deliver most often in the very same day. We ensure our clients know exactly what the glide path for completion will be as well as delivery dates for said projects. We even give advise as to how our customers can use these products in a quick and efficient manner to draw in more new business and encourage existing customers to spend more.
Businesses that succeed understand the importance of the element of surprise. Surprising customers by exceeding expectations, surprising competition by offering new product lines and value pricing all work to keeping everyone on their toes, creating a sense of expectation and even a little danger - all of which are effective use of the element of surprise. Consider the now legendary "medicine breath" campaign launched by Scope to deal with rival Listerine. It was shocking, surprising and clearly, it worked for Scope. They gobbled up market share and left Listerine dizzy from the aggregate result. Sun Tzu has been attributed to writing the following:
"In any battle the element of surprise can provide an overwhelming advantage. Even when face to face with an enemy, surprise can still be employed by attacking where he least expects it. To do this you must create an expectation in the enemy's mind through the use of a feint. The idea here is to get the enemy to focus his forces in a location, and then attack elsewhere which would be weakly defended."
For Allure, we surprise our clients and prospective clients with launching new product offerings they simply weren't used to expecting from a small business marketing firm. In one case, a prospective client asked us about doing some voice-over work for their on-hold services at their office. One of the founders of Allure has been involved in the radio industry for many years so it wasn't surprising to receive such an inquiry. But upon further investigation, it became clear that there was congruity of message missing, design flaws with their logo and online presence. We showed our client by giving them the opportunity to save cash on their printed materials and not sacrifice any of their quality expectations. The end result of this surprise? Well, they have referred other businesses to us and we're all working together to surprise their competitors each and every day.
More to come...
When you're ready to get in the trenches, let us know. firstname.lastname@example.org