Kicking Around a Can of (Marketing) Beans

Help your client or customer get what they need with smarter marketing.

Last week, when the Cowboy and I visited our local grocery store to grab some items, we both noticed something odd.

Empty shelves.

During the past few weeks, we noticed that whenever we stopped by to pick up something, often they were out of the item we wanted.

This happened a lot with our particular brand of water.

But what really was frustrating was the frequency of wrong signage.

Just Tell Me Where To Go

You know how it is in grocery stores, right? Each aisle has a specific group of items.  Over here are the canned goods. A few aisles over are the baking section with spices, flour, sugar, and nuts.

So I went to the usual spot for salad dressing.  Except the salad dressing wasn’t there.

I then noticed the signs didn’t say “condiments” anymore for that aisle.

I found the sign in the next aisle. Except right underneath the small shelf sign that said “Salad Dressings,” there was instead a bunch of barbecue sauce, ketchup, and mustard.

I saw a worker coming up the aisle and in exasperation, I said, “Where on earth did you guys put the salad dressing?”

She slightly smiled. “Oh, they’re over there in Aisle 11.”

I thanked her and we went over to Aisle 11.  In the Automotive section.

Seriously, that’s what the large sign said at the end of the aisle.  We’re walking down the aisle and I’m looking at various items for a car and on the right are shelves and shelves of large coolers.

I was starting to think the worker was wrong when finally, toward the other end of the aisle, I saw shelves full of salad dressing.

Between the engine oil and the windshield cleaner.

Does Your Marketing Feel Like a Grocery Store Under Construction?

Now I bet you a bottle of my favorite salad dressing that you can figure out how this could have been handled better.

Clearer signage… a temporary re-direct sign…

Something that would have told me right off the bat that I needed to go somewhere else to get my salad dressing.

But no.

The store didn’t seem to think it was that important to let a customer know exactly where to go to get what they needed.

When we went to pay for our items, I found out from the cashier the store is undergoing a massive redesign project.

It’s going to get larger and yes, the location of many items will be changed.

Only problem is that the store doesn’t have ANY indication of this.

No signs letting us know of the upcoming changes.

No “Excuse Our Mess… Under Construction” sign at the front door.

Nope.

The customer is expected to fend for herself.

There are a TON of marketing lessons, here.

First, never assume your customer knows what’s going on.

Second, make your solution VERY clear. Don’t let your customer wander around your web page, trying to figure out where to go for answers to their questions.

Three, make sure everyone on your team knows what’s going on if you’re changing ANYTHING.

When I told the cashier where I found the salad dressing, even SHE didn’t realize it.

She said a MANAGER had asked her where the salad dressing was just the other day and she didn’t know!

What can I say?

Tell Your Marketing Story The Right Way

The world is in desperate need of marketers who can tell a clear story!

If you’re not sure how to do this, contact me.

I have a lot of ways to make things clear to your prospective buyer.

Meanwhile, stay sharp.

Avoid the urge to kick a can of beans when faced with such foolishness.

Determine that you can… you must… and you WILL do better.

Your “Secret Shopper”…
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About the Author

Mary Rose ‘Wildfire’ Maguire is a direct response copywriter, digital marketing consultant, and brand and email marketing fangirl. Tireless advocate for testing response. David Ogilvy is my invisible mentor, along with John Caples and Claude C. Hopkins. You can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.