13 Nov Marketing Made You a fRanKeNstEin
“I want my fucking money back you sons of bitches!!!”…
Mr Roberts had finally had enough. After weeks of making phone calls with no call back, sending emails with no replies and a bag of crap that was basically dead upon arrival, he finally blew a gasket. After the initial flurry of anger directed at the company employees, Mr. Roberts decided to go nuclear: He took to the review boards. Yelp, Amazon, Google… all receiving the brunt end of a very simple request gone bad as he feverishly typed out his enraged feelings until 2am in the morning.
Yes. His frustration was now public. Forever. Friggin’ wonderful, right? Have fun dealing with the those repercussions for years to come.
So what was all of this about?
Someone ordered a product. And they expected what they ordered. Shipped quickly to their house, and in good working order. Not exactly an earth shattering request, right?
But here’s the thing…
The company couldn’t handle any more of those orders. They had been struggling for quite some time, keeping the bills paid but not exactly breaking the bank. They “tried a few of things like social media and some mailers”, but those tended to get subpar results. So they went outside of the company and brought in someone who’s sole purpose was to generate revenue.
And then things got nuts.
Jobs were not getting completed properly. Loose ends started to pile up. Employees had no supplies. No time to answer the phones, either.
But they kept selling because the inventory system was not handled correctly (neither electronically or basic visual controls ). And when the complaints came, there was no way to handle them and follow up, no CRM programs to deal with estimate requests. Or customer inquiries. Or angry customers. Who then right on cue turn into irate customers.
Mr. Roberts didn’t just appear our out of thin air. We was created by the company, their own personal Frankenstein. They made the monster, and now that maniac is out terrorizing review boards from one side of the internet to the other, with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Crushing your reputation in a blind fit of blood red rage. The only thing able to slow the creature down being the one thing you cannot control- time.
This is why I say that nothing buries a dysfunctional small company better than great marketing. It overwhelms them. The phones start ringing, the questions start coming, and the products start moving. The business kicks into another gear. Think of it similar to a “stress test” in Bar Rescue.
Only this is not a test, it’s reality, and once it starts it doesn’t stop.
In 2016 America there is no off time. It’s an instant gratification society that operates on three different time zones. Hustle and speed win the day. Great products and customer service are no longer benefits, they are unquestionable minimal expectations.
On top of the influx of inquiries, orders and other random issues to deal with, many times when an outside service is brought in to help a company, it requires some significant streamlining. Communications, meetings and operations need a consistent schedule. In order to adequately plan and promote advertising campaigns, a game plan of at least 3 months into the future is needed.
Some of you may be reading this and thinking that accommodating these requests is far from a monumental task. And you are right. But the amount of small, fledgling companies that have major issues with items like the ones mentioned is more common than not.
One time, back in the day, I was attempting to structure operations for a company with the (hopefully) busy upcoming summer season just ahead. The response was “we aren’t there yet”… Think about that. While the client was not wrong in that sense – their sales were not to the level where these processes needed to be built in order to survive- they were dead wrong in their belief that the organizational structure that was discussed need only be worried about “when we get there”.
Well, they got there. And fell flat on their face.
Ironically, when you are slammed, there is very little time to spend thinking about logistics, organization and process. And as a result- as predicted- many customers were not treated fairly, got a poor experience, and will never come back. Some made it a mission to get even. That’s right, a Frankenstein was born.
Yes, the influx of activity led to slightly more money in the bank. But it exposed the company for it truly was- a hodge podge of concepts and ideas thrown together in no sensible order. No tracking, no documentation, no systems for just about anything. And certainly no real plans on what would happen when this monstrosity was released into society.
This is why I always say BUILD IT LIKE YOU ARE THERE ALREADY. Don’t wait to get busy to figure out how to delegate, how to scale, how to monitor what needs to be done and confirm it afterwards.
Build the damn thing like you are actually planning on it and it’s going to happen! Like, tomorrow. Structure it now, build out your processes for growth, and make sure that before you start complaining about a lack of funds, you’re rollin’ tight enough to handle it.
Otherwise, be careful for what you ask for. You may just “form a monster so hideous that even you turn in disgust…”