GM just brought me a brand new Buick Regal GS. No charge. We’ll get to use it for our annual road trip to my in-laws in Rhode Island and blog at Road Trips for Families about how well the car helps families enjoy extended trips in the car. If it has a wall down the middle of the back seat, we’ll be just fine. The GM representative said he’d pick it up from our driveway when we get back. Not a bad deal, right?
I had attended a weekend conference in New York City focusing on family travel writing with my family travel writer wife, Shannon. GM had exhibited. Its marketing team had invested in an attractive booth display and the people working the booth went out of their way to talk with our kids, load us up with promotional logo products and let us know a car could be made available for our road trips. Once we’d scheduled this trip, one email to the GM contact set the process in motion and the car arrived exactly when it was supposed to arrive. Bloggers may be shunned by the TV networks but the marketing and PR people at GM know who carries influence today.
At the same conference, the marketing team for a luxury hotel in New York City known for its clever, kid-friendly hospitality concept had invested in an equally attractive booth and the people working the booth went out of their way to talk with our kids and load us up with promotional logo products. The sales manager delivered a superb presentation that even seemed off the cuff then gave us a sharp press kit. She practically insisted it would be no trouble for the four of us to stay for a night to experience all of their wonderful, child-friendly offerings. Just days later, the hotel hosted a Twitter Party where a second person was eager to make it happen. When we finally found a weekday (when rooms are typically more available) we could fit into the schedule, a third person emailed with a rude and condescending tone, quoting a rate not far from the regular rate given to people coming in off the street.
This hotel’s marketing team may have left the travel conference feeling pleased by their efforts to secure publicity and generate leads yet as the months go by and they track what they thought were very promising opportunities and potential news placements, will they figure out this third person turned some (or many!) of them away? The marketing team might mistakenly conclude the conference was a waste and invest in a different conference or show the following year when in reality, it was sabotaged by a single person who hadn’t gotten with the program. The same may be stated when evaluating the social media program. The Twitter Party worked yet the back end failed to convert the opportunity.
When the marketing team gets it right – when they exhibit at the right shows, advertise in the right media and make contact with the right journalists – and put in the effort to generate leads and create opportunities, it’s critical for the other departments to take the baton and run with it when it’s their turn as part of a coordinated team effort. It only takes one rude person to drop the baton and scuttle the efforts of everyone involved.
Has it been a while since you discussed telephone and email skills with the people who communicate with customers and prospects – the people who typically set the company’s first impression? Even sales team veterans may benefit from a quick reminder.