Move over, content marketing and social media marketing – there’s a new kid in town and his name is useful marketing. (Actually, that’s a lie. Useful marketing has been around for a long time, but we never really thought of it that way until now.)
So what is useful marketing anyway? It’s anticipating a need and providing a product or service to your clients/customers right when they need it most (and before they even think to ask for it). Think dinner jackets for gentlemen at formal restaurants or a new toothbrush from the dentist.
Sound hard to do? It’s not! Here are some ideas for useful marketing that any small business can use (the inspiration for this post is from WordofMouth.org):
There is nothing worse than getting caught in the rain without an umbrella. Keep a stash of high-quality, branded umbrellas in your office, lobby/foyer, or by the register. If a customer gets caught without one, they will soon have one! Bonus: They will advertise your business to everyone they encounter on any given rainy day.
Some airlines automatically reschedule flights for their passengers in case of a cancellation. While I wouldn’t go so far as to blindly reschedule a spa appointment or dinner reservation, you can be proactive and offer the next available day/time instead.
Though my kids have pretty much outgrown packets of paper placements and crayons at restaurants, it is such a nice touch to have activities on hand that can keep the little ones occupied. I’ve seen store and waiting room corners stocked with play tables, Legos, dolls, and other toys, and we’ve been to museums that offer scavenger hunts.
How many times have you been out to dinner with your family and someone forgot their reading glasses? Any business that incorporates reading into their business model (restaurants with menus, spas with magazines, a law office with contracts to read over) can keep a handful of gender-neutral reading glasses on hand to lend out.
Extra outdoor gear
The pools in our homeowner’s association always have bug spray and sunscreen on hand, plus extra goggles and toys that have been left behind. If there is an outdoor component to your business, keep small supplies of gear stocked, such as (branded) flashlights for navigating a menu or property at night.
Does your small business practice useful marketing? What needs do you try to proactively fill?
Image courtesy of worldofstock.com