Yes, I did just call out Chipotle.
Chipotle is the darling of many content marketing strategists. They have successfully developed brilliant content marketing and promoted it through their website, online entertainment channels and social media.
They’ve been smart about it, too. Chipotle’s value, “food with integrity,” has been captured through its content marketing including innovative animations and a new Hulu television series, “Farmed and Dangerous.”
Although as a marketer I “get” what Chipotle is doing—as a consumer, I’m not impressed.
The Chipotle website is full of information about how the company sources and prepares its food, how it strives to maintain sustainable practices, and why they’re committed to responsible farming.
However, such lofty intentions pale in comparison to why a person goes to Chipotle for a meal and what they actually receive after shuffling through the line.
I used to like Chipotle. I went when their servings were generous. Their promise of affordable, delicious food that used fresh ingredients was irresistible.
Their Burrito Bowls were my favorite and for a long time, I had a good portion of beef, onions, peppers, beans, salsa and cheese sitting pretty on a nice bed of cilantro rice. It was all yummy and I often saved half of my lunch for the next day.
I’m not sure what happened but slowly I started to realize that Chipotle wasn’t as generous with their servings as they used to be.
I went to several different Chipotle restaurants in town, just to make sure it wasn’t one bad apple in an otherwise tasty bushel.
Sadly, it wasn’t just one bad apple.
All of the other restaurants I visited had cut down on their portions. The final straw was when an employee gave me two slim strips of green pepper and a couple of onions. When I asked if I could get just a little more, she gave me a look. As I paid for my order, I wistfully realized it would be the last time I ever visited a Chipotle. I’ve never been back since.
And when you have someone who has created a website, Chipotle Sucks, you definitely know something is amiss. Not only are the workers unhappy, they often share “behind the scenes” stories about how the customers are treated.
The moral of the story?
No matter how much money you spend on content marketing, no matter how brilliant it is or lauded as “genius” by using native advertising… if your company doesn’t deliver remarkable results, it won’t mean jack.
There is a true disconnect going on with Chipotle but to be fair, it’s a disconnect that is happening with many companies, both B2B and B2C. There is a lot of money spent on marketing yet not enough spent on evaluating buyer experience.
If you have a small business, you’re fortunate. You now have the opportunity to establish systems that will give you insight into what your buyers get when they do business with you. Take note. Revise procedures. Conduct cost analysis to see what is efficient and whether it’s worth it to deliver mediocre service just to save a few bucks.
Although you want content marketing to tell your story and engage people, it also needs to support your story and maintain your buyer’s trust.
Chipotle doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. But if more of their restaurants do score low with employee and customer satisfaction, there won’t be a marketing agency in the world who will be able to turn it around.