Is this the best worst marketing idea ever?
It must be tough running a small business when your main competitors are the likes of Asda and Tesco.
That’s why I was delighted to see a bit of entrepreneurial spirit from a local milkman.
This morning I looked out of the window and noticed a little box and piece of paper on my wall. Intrigued, I dashed out to see what had been delivered.
It was a small carton of milk with a milkman’s note and price list tucked underneath.
The underlying message was clear; ‘Have fresh milk delivered daily to your door’.
The carton was one of the cute ones with a straw on the side. The type kids enjoy.
Then I noticed something wasn’t quite right.
The carton was… kind of solid. I gave it a shake and rather than sloshing I heard thudding.
Then I checked the use by date: ‘10 FEB’.
One of my core beliefs is that all people are good. I’ve been shafted a couple of times but in the main that principle has served me well.
My immediate thought was that the poor milkman hadn’t noticed his out of date dairy disaster and I’d better help him out and give him a call.
Here’s the conversation, word for word.
Me: Hi is that Gary the milkman?
Gary: Aye, who’s that?
Me: I’m a concerned potential customer. You see, this morning I found your price list and free sample on my wall and, I don’t know if you’ve realised, but the sample is past the use by date. I think you may want to check in case you’ve accidentally left others that are old.
Gary: That’s not a sample. I use them to hold the leaflets down.
Me: So you know they’re out of date?
Me: And it’s a kids’ carton of milk with a straw on the side and a cute cartoon image of pandas on the front?
Gary: Aye. But you definitely shouldn’t drink it.
Me: I see. Gary can I share something with you?
Me: Have you considered that as a milkman, people may think you’re leaving them a carton of milk as a free sample? That you’re showing your potential customer the joy of having fresh milk delivered to their door every day? But instead it’s actually just a sour milk paper-weight?
Gary: Nah. But thanks for letting me know.
Gary! I’m with you on your mission to restore the traditional business of the doorstep delivery but come on.
What message are you putting out there? Have you stopped to think what people may be saying about you, your company or brand?
The message we send and the message received can be poles apart.
The secret? Ask. Listening to the voice of your customer is worth more than any marketing or advertising campaign.