The title of this post comes from the book This Is Marketing by Seth Godin. When I first read Seth Godin’s book, I knew he was right. That’s because I have experienced it in action firsthand.
Before starting my marketing content creation firm 18 years ago, I had three commercial cleaning companies. We maintained offices and office buildings, schools, health care centers, and all types of business locations throughout Northern California. Thirty years ago, I learned very quickly that if I could offer my prospects a lower price, I could win the account.
In those days, most customers believed cleaning services were a necessary expense. They were all the same, so why not select the lowest-price service. I was offering them what they wanted, and that was a low price.
That all began to change in the 1990s. Building managers began asking what types of cleaning solutions we used to clean their buildings. They were looking for cleaning contractors who used products that had a reduced impact on the environment. They also wanted to know if we used or had access to recyclable paper products and trash can liners, or could we help them find ways to reduce their facility’s energy costs.
Then, even more things started evolving. Instead of just looking for the lowest price, now they wanted to know what our company could do for them to make their facility “greener” and healthier.
The low-price business model I had used for years did not work any longer. Building managers had become much more astute. They had a pretty good idea of what it should cost to clean and maintain their facilities. When a low bid came in, instead of hiring that contractor on the spot, they figured the contractor either made a mistake, did not know how to bid, was new to the business, or would likely provide minimal service at best.
Looking Back Seth Godin Was Right
When I look back, I see my focus was on the tactics, not the outcomes for the customer. It made me revisit my entire business model.
The same is true with my content marketing creation firm. When you are dealing with an intangible such as communications and digital marketing, it may take a bit more time to demonstrate the value of the service. We don’t have equipment you can test-drive or before-and-after photos we can show you. Instead, we present our strategy, build relationships, and share success stories. Then we deliver.
We must do this now with every new client.
The good news for our clients is that as a company, we are no longer marketing-driven. Today we are customer-driven. And it shows.