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Being Fantastic

While on vacation, my son and I stopped into a Fantastic Sam’s barbershop in Baraboo, WI.  Fantastic Sam’s is a pretty generic chain.

But the team in Baraboo had a giant candy bowl, plates of cookies for the kids, a little fridge full of sodas and juice boxes, umbrellas to borrow, and a really friendly staff. It was a nice change, and I know that if we lived there my kid would be demanding to go back.

Here’s why this is so special:  The local staff chose to make it special. 

They didn’t need a national ad campaign, instructions from the head office, or a budget.  They just did it.

Lesson:  Each of us can make our company a little more fantastic.  What are you waiting for?

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  1. David Howse September 4, 2008 at 6:44 pm #

    If I had the time to write more, I’m sure I’d be banned from the whole Internet. You should feel proud Scott. I kinda think that you do.
    If the Sam’s cookie idea makes the difference, what the hell is the rest of the marketing budget worth? I can only infer that every marketer is a great marketer (because free cookies is the differentiation factor) so we are all on even ground. But, if one of us chooses to open a bag of cookies BAM! … SUCCESS! I can’t believe any one would be so stupid to think that.
    What if t ever marketer believed this and they too offered free cookies. We’d be all back to even ground. Fantastic Sam’s would have to open a bigger bag of cookies, to the point they open a bag so big that it got them in the Guinness Book of Records. And what do we call a marketer who has the Guinness Book as an outcome? A GIMMICK MARKETER.

  2. Todd and Wendee September 4, 2008 at 8:14 pm #

    Just wanted to let you know, cookies are not the be all and end all of our customer service. It’s just one little benefit that our customers don’t get from every other chain.

  3. David Howse September 4, 2008 at 11:45 pm #

    Hi Todd,
    I honestly applaud every business that creates a better customer experience. I just have issues with measurement and conclusions of cause and effect based on those measurements.
    And by issues I mean that I have problems with Andy’s “I wish I’d thought of that” descriptions.
    Marketing is simple if you understand how complex it is. Andy’s comments short-cut the complexity.

  4. Andy Sernovitz September 5, 2008 at 7:23 am #

    Actually, I do think marketing is that simple.
    When there are 10 barbershops in a 5 mile radius that all pretty much do the same things, a 5 cent cookie may be the thing that gets a 4-year-old demanding to go to this one. I’ll take that over a $500 radio ad any day.
    More importantly, I believe that marketing should be friendly, positive, and honest — and I hope this conversation will stay this way.
    I applaud Todd and Wendee and all the other hard-working small-business marketers who don’t have the budgets for expensive branding campaigns, but do have the creativity to create great word of mouth.

  5. David Howse September 5, 2008 at 8:46 am #

    Of course marketing is simple, if you practiced it for 12 years and studied it for 8 more years.
    It’s like watching a pro basketball player – it looks so easy.
    Consider this,
    The average person can do simple tasks.
    Marketing is a simple task.
    If marketing was simple then 50% of new businesses would not fail after 4 years.
    But 50% of new businesses do fail after 4 years.
    Therefore, either marketing is not a simple task or 50% of new business owners are morons.

  6. michael cardus September 5, 2008 at 3:19 pm #

    Cookies, juiceboxes, umbrellas OH MY!
    these small items create a greater system of freedom of choice for employees.
    All marketing starts not with your customer – but with your staff.
    If your staff do not enjoy and market your product whatever your budget is people (customers) are not happy long term.

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