It is summertime and we live in New England. The creamery farms in our area are amazing. So, we are always looking to experience as many homemade ice cream shops as possible. Well, we just found a farm that serves homemade ice cream that is less than 5 miles from our house. I couldn't believe it. We drove by this farm for more than a decade and we didn't know that they also make and serve their very own ice cream. Why didn't we know about this before? I'll tell you why. There is a small road sign that hangs on the side of the barn that faces the road. Once you turn down the road and into the driveway that leads to the farm a whole new scene opens. It's an outdoor farm and Ice Cream Shoppe. It's complete with farm animal smells and a house rooster who is the farm's mascot. He roams around and visits customers. It's a very unique environment that clearly is different from the typical Ice Cream Shoppe.
I made it a point to talk to the lady taking our order. I explained to her how close we live to the farm; yet, we didn't know that it made and served ice cream. She seemed surprised. She told me that they have been there forever and that she was glad we found them. I made the mental note that the customer service was genuinely friendly too.
The following week, we took a 20 mile drive to one our all-time favorite Ice Cream Shoppes that we had found on a lazy Sunday drive. That's when I noticed a stark contrast to the place near our house. They had a huge sign by the road accompanied by a huge life size cow hence the name Holy Cow Ice Cream. Passing by or pulling into the parking lot you knew what it was a homemade Ice Cream Shoppe. It was cute, inviting and clean.
We have all been in that situation where we expect customers to find us. Or we think they
should immediately make the connection and know what our business is providing or serving.
Whether we're an independent local business, a national or global brand we can always re-
evaluate the exposure we're actively seeking for our business.
Here's some tips in making sure our customers don't have to work so hard to find us or
understand what we provide.
- Call your business or product what it is.
- No matter how big or small your business please develop a marketing plan.
- Make sure the plan is executed and course correct when needed.
- Talk with and listen to your customers to find out how they discovered you, how often they come/use your products/services and adapt your plans based on their feedback.
- Be objective. No, really be objective when evaluating whether your advertising and promotional efforts are working.
Sometimes we're so close to our business that we think we have done our job with promotion
through signage, Twitter, Facebook posts, or whatever is your favorite mode of promotion. But
we have all fallen short (at some point in time) in achieving maximum exposure for our products or services. So we need to ask ourselves, how hard is it for prospective customers to find us and understand what we have to offer?
Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and Founder of the eRetailer Summit. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands.
Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.