Uncover Hidden Marketing Opportunities in your Small Business

Quincy Market, Boston, Mass.
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How would you build your business differently if you treated every aspect of it as a marketing opportunity?

I spent some time in Boston this past weekend and made a visit to Faneuil Hall, a marketplace set right in the middle of the city that has been around for over 250 years.  Part of the marketplace is the Quincy Hall Colonnade which is a food hall packed full of almost any cuisine you can imagine.

As I walked back and forth through Quincy Hall with my son trying to decide what to eat, it reminded me of how much the experience we deliver to the customer is just as much a part of a marketing message as an advertisement, e-mail or website. Here’s why:

There are several good definitions of “marketing”. All of them right in one way or another.  A favorite description of mine is that marketing is everything a company does to understand, communicate and attract potential customers.  There are three businesses I saw this weekend that I believe are doing some of the right things to fit this description.

The loud pizzeria – One of the many pizza shops in Quincy Market had a bellowing cashier yelling out with his thick North End Boston accent “I can help the next customer here”. You could hear him from two or three storefronts away. To some this may have been obnoxious but this communication style was attracting a line of hungry customers in a line 4 deep for a slice. Was their something about the loud intrusive manner that attracted hungry customers looking for America’s favorite food?

The quiet Thai place – A nearby Thai restaurant by contrast had no loud voices coming from behind the counter but instead had patient employees waiting to help and a sign offering free samples next to a tray of toothpicks.  The strong smell of curry and the clear glass front where you could see their offerings was too much for me to resist.  The menu had some a la carte choices in addition to a “Create Your Own Buffet” option that let the customer choose 2, 3 or 4 items from their menu.  Was this the perfect solution for the sensory overload you experience in this environment that can be the perfect choice to get a little of everything?

The Irish pub – This establishment had dark mahogany bar and wood paneling, a Guinness mirror behind the bar and all the traditional Irish drafts on tap.  As you crossed the threshold you felt like you were walking into a pub in the middle of Dublin. You could hear the sound of Irish music above the white noise hum of the talkative patrons. As one of the few sit down establishments in the crazy Quincy Market environment, was this business looking to create the cozy pub feeling to escape the mayhem?

All three of these businesses project a very different first impression to the customer yet all of them were just as busy as the next. Even though all three examples are in the restaurant space, there is a lesson here for any business – no detail is too small if it affects the experience your customers have.

Think about that.

Have you done everything you can to optimize the customer experience through the price of your product, the colors in your logo, the process your sales team uses, the advertising you do, the way the receptionist answers the phone?  All of these (and more!) contribute to the message you send to potential customers about what kind of experience they can expect from your business.

A main stream example of this that almost all of us have experienced is Disney World. It is regularly referenced as using the cleanliness of their parks as a marketing tool. This is one of many things that Disney does to immerse you in an experience that transports you from your normal reality.

So I ask again, how would you build your business differently if you treated every aspect of your business as a marketing opportunity?

Photo Credit: thewastedsmile


  1. Thank you for another great post.
    I look forward to many more entries with high quality info.
    I’m a marketer myself and your information always seems to get my business brain going!!

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