A marketing tip from my Italian grandma: Treat them like family

No doubt you look at my last name and say Italian?  But rest assured, on my mom’s side I’m your amico!  Like all Italians, I had an Italian grandma.  And like all Italian grandmas, she had an opinion about everything and wasn’t afraid to share it or the life lessons she had collected along her colorful life. 

What she didn’t realize is that she also taught me some great marketing tips that in her honor, I’d like to share with you.

Granny4_1 When you walk into an Italian house — you are family.  Like it or not, you’re going to get a hug at the very least and probably a kiss or two.  You feel as though they’ve been waiting for you.  Welcomed and loved.

(In fact, in this picture the only two grumpy people are my parents.  It must have been at the tail end of my grandma’s visit!  The rest — friends are glad to be in the midst of Italian-spiced family love.)

The same idea should be applied to our businesses.  I’ve mentioned before that if you don’t genuinely love (or can’t find some aspect of them to love) a client, you owe it to them to fire them.   

CK mentioned in a recent post that consumers don’t always need/want spectacular.  Sometimes they just want to be a part of normal.  I don’t think CK was implying that normal means — like a customer.  I think people want something a little more than that from us.  They want to matter.  Like family.  They want to be noticed and valued.  Again, like family.

Do you honestly believe that your customers feel embraced when they walk in your store? Or you answer your phone?  Or they get an e-mail from you?

Do you welcome them with open arms, even when their arms are filled with problems or rush orders?  Do they always walk away feeling appreciated?  Do they know that they can count on you?

Remember, that being a part of the family doesn’t just mean hugs and kisses.  It also means getting the inside dirt, being asked to pitch in, knowing some family secrets, and being given special privileges.

Are you offering those "family" benefits to your best customers?

If not…you need to give them a little Italian family love.  Try this on them:  "Benvenuto alla mia famiglia!"

Here’s the entire Marketing Tips from My Italian Grandma series, for your enjoyment:

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4 comments on “A marketing tip from my Italian grandma: Treat them like family

  1. Ann Handley says:

    Drew — I’m sensing a title for your book, “All I Ever Wanted to Know About Marketing I Learned from My Italian Grandma.”

    Would sell like hotcakes. Or pizzelles. Whatever.

  2. Great advice Drew. From my experience, that embrace from an Italian family is truly authentic. You can feel it, whether you are a hugger or not. You can taste the same authenticity in a family meal.

    The embrace we give customers also has to be authentic. They too can sense it. False hugs may be worse than no hugs 🙂

  3. Ann,

    You may be onto something!

    And oddly (you must be peeking into my brain) pizzelles play a starring role in my next tip from grandma!

    Drew

  4. Tony,

    That is a very important point, thank you. You’re exactly right.

    Faking it won’t do. People can spot that from a mile away. And to your point, that does more damage than not making the effort at all.

    Drew

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