Small Business Marketing Strategy – Create a Great Package

Package is the most overlooked of the three key small business marketing elements of Brand, Package and People. If Brand is who you are to the customer, then Package is where and how you present your company to the customer.

Brand is the gift, and Package is the wrapping paper. And–whether they’ll admit it or not–every one of your customers was once a kid who was overjoyed with the anticipation of opening a birthday present. This anticipation, rooted in all humans, is almost as delightful as the present itself. As Wordsworth wrote: “The child is father of the man”, and that’s true for your clients whether they are fifteen or fifty. (OK, just amend the wording a bit for your female clients…)

But most small businesses don’t realize the vital importance of this simple concept. Most small businesses–including many of your competitors–don’t understand that delivering the superior product to the customer is just one among many steps in truly satisfying that customer.

But your small business can be different. You can learn to look at your business through your customer’s eyes. It’s not easy, and it takes some practice, but with a few simple exercises it’s possible to step into those shoes on the other side of the counter and view just what your customer sees when she looks at your business.

Oh, and did we say it takes courage, too?

Businesses meet and sell to their customers via three different arenas:

On Our Turf. This is the Retail Arena many small businesses operate in. When thinking of Package here, you’ll want to evaluate your signage, parking, entryway, aisles, ceilings, shopping carts, restrooms (massively overlooked), and sidewalk. Basically you are looking at everything the customer sees during the shopping experience. All of this, the total presentation to your customer, is the essence of Package for a retailer.

On Their Turf. From the Girl Scout selling cookies door-to-door to the suited-up salesman selling IBM mainframes, there are a thousand variations of people out peddling on their customer’s home field and loving it. This includes companies selling B-B as well as B-C. Part of a lawn service company’s Package would be a consideration of how clean and presentable their pickup trucks are. From you and your salespeople’s clothing to presentation materials to your business cards, Package in the field demands that the owner pay attention.

Distance. This is selling without the face-to-face interaction of a person, either in a store or at the customer’s home or business. Think of companies like Dell or Lands’ End or Amazon.com that have successfully created strong customer relationships without retail stores or in-home visits. Yet this channel, sometime called direct selling or remote selling, has proven to be extremely profitable for many small businesses. Here Package is paramount–and whether it’s a website, a direct mail piece or a thirty second direct response TV ad, the marketer behind distance selling has thoroughly examined and tested each component of the package.

Most businesses stay firmly planted within one of the above three areas. However, you can realize some valuable business intelligence from studying the methods outside your own area of customer contact. But a necessary first step is to view your business through your customer’s eyes.