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Nothing kills a bad company faster than good marketing

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Really… what are your customers saying about you?


I like you, but...

A few years ago my agency worked with a large interior design company whose customers were homeowners that numbered in the thousands. The design company’s business had grown substantially over the years on the strength of referrals.

As sales slowed in 2007, the company asked us to help them develop a marketing program to help re-ignite sales amongst a broader audience.

Before spending their money, we recommended a quick customer survey to the CEO, which was approved. The survey asked customers if they would be willing to refer the services of the design firm to friends or colleagues, and gave those customers a scale of 0 to 10 by which to express their support (10 being “extremely likely”). The CEO struggled with the findings. The conversation went something like this:


Us:                   Only 33% of your customers love you.

CEO:                I don’t get it. Our customers rave about the work we do. Every job!

Us:                   But sales are slowing. The referrals are slowing.

CEO:                Maybe we have to go after new markets.

Us:                   Maybe there’s something else going on.

The next step was to dig deeper with the 37% of customers who gave them a 7 or 8, and the 30% of customers who gave them 6 or less. The next conversation went like this:


Us:                   The majority of your customers love your design work, but really
 like your billing and collections. Apparently, there have
                         been a lot of 
screw-ups. As a result, you received more 7s and 8s
                         in the survey than
 your design success would suggest.

CEO:                Accounting is really boring.

Us:                   Clearly.

If we had charged ahead with a full-blown marketing campaign, the design company would have spent a lot of very dear money exposing the weakness of their company to many more people. That would have been the path to a saw-toothed, not a hockey stick, sales curve.

Do you know what your customers are really saying about you? 


About Drew Williams

My name is Drew Williams. I’m an author and marketing entrepreneur. “A what?”, you say. I call someone who’s passionate about building businesses a marketing entrepreneur. So that’s me. Full Profile | Google+

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