Is your marketing enough?

Lately, I have experienced a paradoxical combination of both joy and sorrow, while preparing to move an elderly family member into a personal care home. This is a process rife with stories for virtually everyone in the community who has gone through it–both seniors and their families.

Just the other day, a colleague recommended a particular mover to help us move a very heavy chair, customized for use by seniors—a computerized recliner that we’ve often joked can nearly launch its inhabitant to the moon!

The colleague who made the referral consulted her contacts to share the name of a good mover and I am extremely grateful to her for that sharing. (A gift of chocolate will ensue!)

The only trouble was that in the process of the referral, my colleague brewed up much anxiety over how I should call the potential mover and what I should say, when I did. With the best of intentions, she sent me a telephone script and offered to coach me through it. When I tested out the idea, I quickly became a Nervous Nelly.

This exchange reminds me of what marketers Michael Katz and Terry O’Reilly have written, about how nervous marketing can become a self-fulfilling prophecy: Marketing that exaggerates the risk inherent in an exchange of service for pay undermines decisive, well-reasoned and confident action; such marketing subverts healthy entrepreneurial exchange. This is true whether one gets a haircut or hires a landscaper to mow (regularly) a 10-acre plot of land.

When I actually called the mover, a few minutes later, I spoke with a man who was nonchalant, happy to oblige and who even offered flexibility in terms of dates and times—something my  colleague had not expected. Giving a bit less than one month’s notice to hire for this small contract was, the mover assured me, “more than enough.”

I’m confident that he will do an excellent job. And of course, I will have purchased insurance to cover any damage, if he doesn’t. My exchange with the mover reminds me that the best kind of marketing is based on a fair entrepreneurial exchange, one that keeps moving (pardon the bad pun!) the trade of payment for services professionally rendered.

It seems to me that this story is really about uncertainty. Arresting a sales process by over-thinking and trying to control the conversation (beforehand) only breeds anxiety and potential mistrust. Nervous Nellyism makes this exchange feel more risky than it needs to.

The valued colleague who offered the referral (and whom I have profusely thanked; bless her) messaged me later to express worry that the chair may not be moved, damage-free. I responded by saying, “Friend, our marketing here is enough. There is sufficient ground for trust and that we must carry that forward.”

And now it’s your turn. Have you participated in nervous marketing? How did the situation play out? When did you realize your marketing was enough?
Please share your experience; I’d be delighted to hear from you.