Communicating the Right Message

 

Finding a home for our Sterling Silver Chains

I wanted to buy a safe to house our sterling silver chains. We have a lot of finished chains that we keep in 16″ and 18″ lengths, and we wanted to move them to create more room for our Sterling Silver Findings. On the recommendation of the building management, I drove out to see a company which sold and delivered large safes. I want to share this story with you because it punctuates my thoughts on proper marketing message.

I spoke to a man named Gabe. He gave me the directions and I drove 40 minutes to Scarborough to see a man named Phil. I know lot about sterling silver chains, nothing about safes, and even less about Scarborough. Needless to say I wasn’t impressed driving past a temporary garbage transfer dumpsite they put in a beautiful park, this didn’t start off on a good foot.  I got to the bottom of the bridge over a set of railroad tracks and turned off onto a seedy industrial road.  It was raining and the potholes were slick with oil and muddy water. I took note of the peeling paint on the squat little cement and sheet metal buildings and started thinking about why I needed a discount on the safe.

I was looking for number 61 and I couldn’t find it.  I saw numbers 57 and 63 with a building in between them. There was a truck that read Scarborough Waste Disposal. The windows of the building were all boarded up. I heard a guard dog barking and I wondered if it was a German shepherd or a Doberman.  I can’t outrun either, so it wouldn’t really matter the breed, and I still couldn’t find any sign of the company anywhere. I called the owner again. He insisted that I was at the right place and I that I just needed to walk down a lane and I would find the side door. Remembering that I was a mother of 2, and all the lessons I’ve learned from the CSI television show, I called my own office to leave a message of my whereabouts, and to leave a trail of evidence wherever I could. I walked down the lane, under barbed wire, and approached a pile of old lumber and broken locks.

A man with tattoos up to his ears opened the door. I asked for Phil, and without a word, he jerks his thumb towards the door behind him. I passed through the rusty door and entered a room full of debris and old lumber. There wasn’t a safe in sight. I was as far away from my world of sterling silver chains as I could possibly be at that moment. A very large man with a buzz cut approached. He looked more like a Bud than a Phil, but I was too nervous to think about it. I quickly uttered my name and who sent me, all the while trying not to stutter or seem nervous. The Doberman was in the back of my mind, or was it a German shepherd? “What size are you looking for?,” he asked gruffly as he walked past me without any formalities. I replied, “Big,….like my height.” He turned around and, with a straight face, said “you’re not very big.”  I laughed and admitted out loud that he was the wrong person to say that to. At that time, another tattooed and bald headed man walked by. I saw more broken lumber on the floor and not a decent safe in sight. I was now seriously wondering if I’d made a horrible mistake that would cost me more than just lost time. It felt like a room from Silence of the Lambs, only with more hardware, and all I wanted was a cheap safe for our sterling silver chains.

I’m now writing this in the safety of my home, so the story ends nicely. The guys turned out to be very nice, though I must have been as foreign to them as they were to me.  However, the situation didn’t leave me with a feeling of confidence, even though we will likely buy a safe from him as he furnishes most of the safes for the ‘high security neighbours’ in our building.  I am certain I would have a lot more ‘after sale’  satisfaction and confidence, and would be willing to pay a lot more, if they had made a bigger effort on their marketing message.  A proper showroom, more professional appearance, more working models, proper lighting, and less refuse would have gone a long way. However, they are good people and this was perhaps totally oblivious to them.

In short, you should always know who your customers are, what they want to know about the product and or service you provide, what is of value to them, and what signals to them that you’re going to stand behind your product.  From that, you can create the proper marketing message.

Having said all of this, I’m certain that I’m not communicating the high quality and great designs of our sterling silver chains properly. Perhaps we are as incongruent to you as the tattooed big boys selling safes were to me.  Perhaps they might benefit if I told them what I thought, one thing is for sure, you should tell me what you think.

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