A new farm stand / grocery store opened in my town yesterday.
That’s relatively big news, given that in doing so, they have literally doubled the number of local places where you can buy a quart of milk, pick up a dozen eggs or push around a squeaky-wheeled, metal carriage.
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They’ve also expanded the job market in town, something which did not go unnoticed by my 15-year-old daughter, Emily, and dozens (hundreds?) of her fellow Hopkinton High School classmates. Many of them applied for a job back in October.
Unfortunately, just a few weeks ago, most of the kids – Emily included – were turned down. Perfectly understandable; you can’t hire everyone.
But that’s not what I want to talk with you about.
It’s not that they didn’t hire most of the kids – it’s the way they didn’t hire them: They sent out form rejection letters. In doing so, they walked right past a colossal opportunity.
Think about this. Let’s say 100 kids applied, most of whom, I’d wager, are now feeling somewhere between “slightly grumpy” and “completely indifferent” at having been turned down. Not bad, no harm done.
But what if, instead of simply “not doing harm,” the grocery store turned this job rejection situation into … a marketing opportunity (cue dramatic music)?
In other words, while from an operational perspective these kids are:
“100 people we need to turn down nicely,”
from a marketing perspective, they represent:
“100 money-spending, food-consuming humans who live in a two-(or more) person household right here in town and who have a demonstrated awareness and interest in our business.”
Do you throw these warm, already-predisposed-to-like-you, business leads whose name and address you have, back into the ocean of strangers, hoping that maybe one day they’ll wander in again?
Or, do you do a few things to cement the relationship?
(I hope you realize those were rhetorical questions.)
Things like, I don’t know…
- Sending a personal “sorry we couldn’t hire you right now” note to each kid with a store-branded USB drive and a coupon for a free anything in the coffee shop.
- Inviting the 100 who applied to a special, “applicants only” pre-opening event with refreshments, a group photo and an in-person thank you from the owners.
- Holding a contest for the best song or drawing or haiku about the new store and giving the winner’s family a year’s supply of free tomatoes (or whatever).
Here’s the point. Most businesses – of any size and of any type – view marketing as an activity done by certain people, with certain job responsibilities, in certain situations.
You revamp your web site … that’s marketing. You attend a networking meeting … that’s marketing. You publish a newsletter … that’s marketing.
But the way I look at it, everything you do that is visible to the outside world is marketing. (Go ahead, read that sentence again.)
You’re marketing when you take five minutes to reply (or not) to an e-mail question from a stranger. You’re marketing when you miss a deadline. You’re marketing when you send client invoices. And yes, you’re marketing when you turn down job applicants.
Everything you do in public view has the potential to make me more predisposed to talk about and hire you, less predisposed or neutral.
Which means that if you think marketing only happens when “you’re marketing,” you’re leaving a lot – a lot of clients, a lot of opportunity, a lot of money – on the table.
Here’s the bottom line. I have no doubt that over the next several months, that new store is going to spend thousands in local media, in the hope of getting my attention and that of my neighbors.
They may succeed.
But I can think of 100 teenagers who could have guaranteed it.
And speaking of grocery stores, haikus and branded USB drives, post your own, original haiku on the subject of our new grocery store in the comments section here (along with any other, non-haiku thoughts).
I’ll pick the one I like most and will send one lucky winner a year’s supply of tomatoes. I mean, an official blue penguin USB drive (pictured at left).
Blew an opportunity
Teens eat like horses
Way to start things rolling with a killer haiku, Jennifer!
Kids turned down for jobs.
Katz sees marketing misstep.
Uh oh, it’s going to be hard to pick a winner, I think. Great one mark!
Not a great idea to turn down local kids.
Parents need to shop for their families lost revenue!
I know. I shudder every time I think of how they could have leveraged those kid contacts!
Disappointed, sad, and poor
Tweet and text, uh-oh!
I don’t know why, but I laughed out loud at that one Anne!
Take another step –
See THIS Opportunity.
Someone Call that Store!
We don’t want you, kid,
But we do like your parents.
Tell ’em we’re awesome!
Nice one! And yes, that pretty much sums it up.
Kids were rejected.
Store left bad taste in their mouths.
Parents may not shop there.
Fantastic Rosanna! These haikus are kind of addicting, aren’t they?
The store should have known
Marketing is everything
Way to blow that one!
(Great newsletter once again!! Such great advice, thank you & Happy New Year!)
And thank YOU for playing, Ashley! Happy New Year to you as well.
Students hope for work
Store hopes for tomato sales
Form letters crush hopes.
Terrific advice, as always! I hope you pass your newsletter on to the store.
I think “Form Letters Crush Hopes” should be a bumper sticker! (Maybe even a tattoo.) Thanks Sue!
Don’t leave tomatoes
or opportunities just
rotting on the vine.
Love the newsletter…one of the few things I read every time it lands in my inbox.
Beautiful one, Linda! I like how your sentences carry over to the next line. Very clever indeed!
The store might have learned
From the frenzied Twilight craze:
Teens drive sales in waves
Nice use of relevant media, Alisha!
Store opens in town
Does not see marketing chance
Will pay for it now
Like this one! It kinds of reads like a newspaper headline.
New, fancy market.
Old, stodgy hiring practice.
Buy produce elsewhere.
OK, this one also made me laugh out loud!
Not just no job, but also
No “like” for new store.
Chris! I think you captured the teenage voice on this one!
Can’t resist a haiku contest. Here are 2 attempts:
Foolish grocery store
Threw teenagers out the door
Should have make them friends.
Everything you do
Should be viewed as marketing
You’re not a haiku professional, by any chance, are you Rebecca? And of course my immense ego loves the second one!
New market says NO
Kids tweet and throw rotten eggs
Store reads Katz and sobs
Maybe I should print these out and slip them all under the door of the store with no explanation?
That would be really hilarious. You should do it!
Maybe put a link to this page too.
New grocery store
Leaves bad taste in many mouths.
Cry, tomatoes, cry.
Loved it! The last line sounds like the title of a John le Carré novel.
Kids know it all
Kids get last laugh
Katz makes kids stuff out of marketing
PS If you don’t like this one, I’m certain you will send me a prize anyway…
I hate to be rejected…
Interesting rhythm to that one, Larry!
Students yay! Store, boo
Learned some marketing techniques
USB me now
Let me just say I enjoyed the USB request baked right into the haiku itself! Nicely done.
Corrected by email address
reject my baby
then expect me to pay you?
no, i reject you
so true. Great newsletter. importance of sitting in the audience, not just backstage. Thanks, Michael.
Thanks Abby! And I agree that that’s so much of the sentiment when it’s your kid going for the job. In fact, I think if they had a party for applicants, they should have invited the families too. Would have been a great event!
Opening day, doors spring wide.
Fragrant tomatoes bid you welcome.
Sans 100 Emilys of course.
Wow, these are amazing! I love the 100 Emilys line.
Lot of great haikus
No marketing you do
Unless you read penguin blue
I know not suppose to rhyme, but hey … its my comment. 🙂 Michael, I attended your webinar in November and it really helped to crystalize my thinking on pricing and estimating, helped me to untangle mixed thoughts on the subject for me. And, it confirmed that intentionally or not, I was actually doing well despite my mixed feelings. Thank you. I am glad we have virtually connected. Have a great 2012!
I’m glad we connected too, Jim! And thanks about the webinar. I’m so glad you found it useful.
OK, these are all so, so, SO good that I am officially changing the rules: I’m going to pick someone at random as the winner among the entries, rather than try to select a best one. It would be like choosing among my children!
Or should I say:
so much gold found here
impossible to choose one
pick a name from hat
Thanks everyone, keep posting!
As always, this newsletter has more great food for thought. Thank you!
I hope I’m not too late:
Marketing op missed.
Business leads dumped; re-think the
Never too late! And another great one. Thanks Kathy!
Send this Post to all HR people….Doug
Now there’s a good idea!
Wanted to work there
Tossed aside like yesterday’s trash
Now in Blue Penguin
just for grins …
leverage each chance
market like a champion
fill, fill, fill — the pipe
I’m grinning, Abby!
I may have had to
Google how to Haiku but
blue penguin is cool
Yeah, I know, my Haiku doesn’t have anything to do with the store issue…I’m a rebel, what can I say? I agree with one of the other Haiku-ers, yours is one e-newsletter I ALWAYS read. Awesome stuff.
Thanks Jennifer! And I’m honored to be your first. (You never forget your first haiku.)
No haiku here (I’d have to look up it’s rules, but rhyming is much more fun anyway).
Here ya go:
An opportunity arrived
with kids who drive
parents purchase decisions
(with way-too-clear precision)
the new store blew it
rejections all through it
they forgot that kids on social media THRIVE.
Nicely done, Julie! And good for you on breaking the rules too!
Squashing many kids
Squashed lots of tomato sales
More catch-up needed
Well said, Jan!
Not a haiku but my 15-year old son wrote this poem about his favorite thing (titled “Food”) for his English assignment yesterday. It includes simile, nomatopoeia and alliteration.
Food. It’s the way to a man’s heart.
Veggies fill the space
when there’s no meat to stuff in the face.
Pig is perfecton a picnic, but
cow is cream of the crop.
Turkey is tasty
but only when veggies fill the plate.
Schnitzel, sauerkraut, sausage and spaetzel
Tacos, tostitos, tamales and taquitos.
Venison sticks are the “BAM” when Emeril’s food hits the pan.
Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and grapes,
and blueberries–you better stay out of my pancake.
But in the end, chocolate chip cookies win…
You had me at food.
Fantastic! And what can I say, now I’m very hungry.
As the children that were turned down if they would like to help, as volunteers, for the upcoming Easter Egg Hunt with children and other special events where the store is always looking for young leaders to assist other young(er) leaders about giving back to their community.
I agree, Judy, encouraging volunteering is great for the kids, the community and the business!
One satisfied customer tells no one
One dissatisfied customer
Not just that they missed a marketing opportunity (bad enough), but having been in the same position – potential customers can get disgruntled.
I once had an interview that took half a days preparation, 2 hours travel, 1 hour waiting, 1 hour for the interview and wasn’t even given the courtesy of a reply. Guess what happens when that business comes up in conversation? Good thing I’m ladylike NOT.
Yep. I think the hardest part of the “everything is marketing” concept is remembering it. It’s so easy to get caught up in efficiency and miss the opportunity entirely!
Sad, veggieless kids,
Out of work and out of greens.
Store should send them beets.
Let me just say that I have a newly acquired appreciation of beets after this past summer, provided they are roasted on the grill. Yum.
one hundred kiddies
thousands of tomatoes
sadly, we lost our way
Happy New Year, Michael.
Love that one, Katherine! And Happy New Year to you as well.
Connect to town teens
Share the love in a message
Watch your store grow strong
I’m picturing that haiku on a poster in the store!
Confused and deluded
What business are we in?
What do we do?
It’s the absolute classic: a business making money in spite of themselves
PS. I’m reading this in the internet lobby of the Novotel Langley Hotel in Perth, Western Australia… some extra points for distance covered…….
500 points to you for distance, Mark! Unless we get an entry from Jupiter, I think you will remain in the lead!
Six degrees of separation
So 100 ticked-off-teens
Tell everyone in town
You’re blowing my mind, Norm! That’s deep!
A missed opportunity, for sure.
Didn’t give a hoot about
About growing their business
Only veggies and fruit.
Fun contest, Mike. Who would have thunk so may many people would haiku?
Always enjoy your newsletter. Be Well.
Thanks Diane. And I know what you mean about how many people participated. The subject of a future newsletter, for sure!
Just a side note related to posting on this blog or any other. Scroll up and down this page and you will notice that the majority of people don’t have their picture next to their posts. Some do (the cool ones).
Good news! You can be cool too. There’s an easy, free, one time thing you can do which will always put your photo with your posts whenever you comment on a blog. Watch my short video on how to do it here: http://tinyurl.com/3q66phk
Thanks, Michael. It’s because of you that I’m one of the cool ones … I read your original how-to post when it first came out and applied it. Then I passed it on (with credit of course) to my own readers. You’re the bomb!
Great to hear it Katherine!
Bombingly yours, Michael
Thanks for gravatar!
Info from you makes me a
cool blue penquin fan!
Kewl R U Chris!
First off, thanks to everyone for participating. What a great response and so much fun to read these (you are a talented bunch)!
Second, as I mentioned earlier, I decided to select a winner at random rather than try to pick a “best” one. And, given how many people were involved, I’ve instead picked three names at random as winners of the Official Blue Penguin USBs.
Ladies, please send me your contact info/mailing address and your USBs will be on the way!: ContactUs@BluePenguinDevelopment.com
Thanks again everyone,