The Bookworm with Ben Pritchett
Have you noticed that our attention spans are shortening?
Well, perhaps not so much for us older folks (I’m smack dab in the middle of Generation X and the oldest of our cohorts turns 55 this year), but most certainly for the generations coming after me.
The one thing that seems true for old and young alike is that our attention can be grabbed and held by an interesting or exceptional experience. The term experiential marketing has even been coined to describe events that are carefully constructed to seem like an experience but are, in truth, data mining exercises for marketers.
I discovered a show called Billion Dollar Buyer on CNBC recently. It follows a self-made billionaire named Tilman J. Fertitta. This guy has parlayed a single restaurant in Texas into one of the largest restaurant chains in the US, and a $2.4 billion net worth before he was 60!
In this show, he interviews and assigns tasks to two small businesses. If he likes what he sees he hires them to do work for his companies. This isn’t a game show, it’s real business negotiation, and bagging a billion dollar client can make or break a small business.
In the first episode I watched, a marketing guy out of Florida had sent him a single branded sneaker and told him that if he wanted to see more, he’d have to visit him in Florida. He went, got the other sneaker, and gave the guy an opportunity to throw a bash on his yacht. It was a bit of a bust when he used branded plastic cups to promote Moreton’s – the high-end steakhouse chain in Fertitta’s portfolio.
Despite the setback, he gave him a second chance to provide an exceptional experience at one of his Golden Nugget Casinos. Again, the marketer did nothing much out of the ordinary.
He gave away T-shirts, multi-tools and a few other cheap gifts when folks pulled a Velcroed nugget off a wall. He thought he did great while the casino’s customers were telling the camera that their time had been wasted. Needless to say, he did not get hired.
The key to experiential marketing is that the experience has to be special and leave the participants feeling like they had invested their time wisely and given up their contact information for something worthwhile.
Here are some books to help you develop your own experiential marketing or to advise your clients on how to do it in their business:
The Apple Experience
by Carmine Gallo
While some people are writing obituaries for Apple once again, this company has legions of loyal customers and an estimated $262 billion in the bank, so I don’t think they’re going anywhere anytime soon!
How’d they got all that cash and all of those loyal customers? Certainly not by being the cheapest! They did it by being different. Everybody thought they were nuts when they opened Apple stores, but now there are Microsoft stores and Samsung stores (it’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).
This book offers great insight into Apple’s thinking and how they’ve become so successful. Read it and find ways to apply it to your business and your clients’ businesses too.
Be Our Guest by Disney Institute
with Theodore Kinni
Let’s face it, other than Apple, when you think of customer service, what other ubiquitous brand comes to mind? Here’s a hint: it involves a world-famous mouse named Mickey.
Every time I go to Disneyland I feel like a giant mouse has taken me by the ankle, tipped me upside down and shaken me until my pockets are emptied! Yet strangely, I don’t feel ripped off because their service is so stinking good when compared to almost everyone else.
Let me give you an example: A few years back I was in Orlando and came down with a bad head cold (great for a holiday), and when I get a cold I’m prone to nosebleeds. It was our last day and last chance to go, so I dragged myself off my deathbed (it felt that way) to go to the Magic Kingdom with my wife and daughter.
Despite stuffing my pockets with tissues, they were all used by the time we got through the main gates, so I sent my wife into the first shop on Main Street USA to buy a couple of travel packs of tissues. They didn’t sell them!
After listening to my wife explain to her why she needed them, the Disney cast member (they don’t have staff) disappeared into the back and emerged with a full-sized box of tissues and gave them to her no charge. Does that makeup for the huge ticket prices to go to Disney? No, but it’s a great lesson in customer service.
Read this book and learn directly from their trainers about how they view their guests. I hope to revisit other ideas from Disney in a future article.
Secret Service and What’s the Secret?
by John R. DiJulius
DiJulius has taken Disney-style service and thinking and applied it to the hair-styling and spa business (where he’s been compared to Disney). He’s even leveraged it into his own consulting business.
Many clients and consultants alike are famous for saying things like “but my business is different” when confronted with ideas that are new or different. Well, that’s just BS!
We can learn from every successful business out there (even learn what not to do from the unsuccessful ones). Don’t be afraid to learn new ideas from unlikely sources.
DiJulius took ideas from Disney to make a great spa experience – can you take ideas from his book to improve your clients’ businesses?
About Ben Pritchett
Ben Pritchett started his first business at the age of 15, and began his own consulting practice in 1991. For over 25 years he has worked with clients in many industries including restaurants, direct sales, software development, tourism, dimension stone (granite quarrying and manufacturing), aviation, and optometry, just to name a few. Companies coached by Ben have nearly doubled and tripled their revenues in a single year.
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