Copying from the competition, yet you think you can beat them?
Igor Pauletič / / Sales
Igor Pauletič / / Sales
I’ve spent my last week sailing. Call it a vacation. But there’s no stopping a restless spirit. I offered some advice to a local restaurant proprietor on an island where we spent the night. I have a story that might inspire you.
I’ve been visiting the same island for at least 15 years. Same marina, same (only) dock. Not much has changed for me as a tourist in all these years if I discount the fact that I pay more for the same service every year. 😉 The biggest change occurred last year when a new restaurant proprietor appeared on the island. I remember him as a refreshment – especially since this was the first time I experienced direct marketing of restaurant services among the nautical visitors to this island.
The new proprietor, unlike the other three, took about half an hour of his time every night to visit the dock and invite each crew to his restaurant. He also left a small leaflet with his offerings at every boat. It may have been because he was new to the island or due to direct marketing, but the fact remains that his restaurant was the busiest. I visited him myself last time, and I admit that I probably wouldn’t have if there weren’t for his direct invitation. He was also good at his job. Everything was quite nice – good food, nice ambience, great customer service. He could even continue the conversation he’d had with each customer as they visited his restaurant. The man (Ante) is good at making people feel special. His presence made me feel good.
This year, we were talking about visiting him again even before we arrived to the island. He might even have been one of the reasons we chose to visit this island again. Anyway, we knew what we would order a day in advance and prepared many new jokes about Slovenians and Dalmatians for him. We were full of expectations that were fueled by our positive experience from the previous year.Only investing in “digital” won't solve your marketing problems. Click To Tweet
While tying our boat, it didn’t take long to figure out how much marketing has advanced on the island in only one year. Messengers by all three of the proprietors that hadn’t used direct marketing last year visited us within an hour. Ante arrived last with his good attitude, carrying his offer sheet in his hand. I couldn’t help myself but to ask about the competitors that are copying his approach from last year:
“Ante, you have ruined your channel. You invested in marketing for so long that it no longer works.”
“I know, Igor. Only the first one will profit and keep profiting for as long he’s different. Now all four of us have extra work, but none of us profit in the same way I profited last year. I am thinking about investing into TripAdvisor and Facebook. They won’t be able to follow me into “digital”. They won’t know how.”
It really grinds my gears when someone actually believes the only thing they need to do is invest in “digital” and that’s it. I was expecting him to ask me if I knew any good social media gurus, ninjas or growth hackers or other names these so called digital experts like to be called. I was glad he spared me that pleasure.You need to exceed the expectations of your customers. Click To Tweet
Ante didn’t work that night. He took a seat at our table, joined our dinner and kept writing down my ideas about promoting his culinary specialties among the island’s nautical guests. In the end, his notes looked a little something like this:
Ante’s list was actually quite a bit longer. I can’t reveal everything just like that. We did after all eat and drink throughout the night at Ante’s restaurant in exchange for some brainstorming and these notes.