Impactful Marketing on a Budget

Feb 21, 2019 | Marketing

We’ve heard it time and again – small things add up. Whether it’s saving money, going on a diet or trying to accomplish practically any personal goal, we narrow in on developing small habits that eventually lead to big rewards. It sounds easy – using small steps to achieve an overarching goal – but why do we have so much trouble applying this principle to business strategies?

Consider all of the strategic decisions needed to run a successful restaurant: the chefs, the menu, the prices, the location – the list goes on and on. But do the little things, like the way the waiter presents you with the cheque, ever get any thought? Such things can contribute more to the overall impression and dining experience than the actual meal itself.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology measured the effects that mints had on tips in the service industry. Three groups were tested: the first group received mints along with the cheque, leading to an increase in tips by 3%; the second group were asked if they would like mints, leading to an increase in tips by 14%; and the third and final group received their mints along with the cheque, followed by the server returning with more mints – this group saw an increase in tips by 21%.

Small, somewhat meaningless decisions, like how mints are delivered, can have a massive impact on your business’ success… or failure. These often-unnoticed opportunities lay within every organization and hold the potential to be transformative in providing unparalleled value.

When identifying and executing these opportunities, keep the following in mind:

Recognize the snowball effect.

Every decision has a consequence. When faced with a decision, consider all of the potential effects. In the book, Broken Windows, Broken Business: How the Smallest Remedies Reap the Biggest Rewards, Michael Levine points out the large impact that small changes can have, especially on the perception of your organization. Imagine sitting in your seat on an airplane and the flight attendant serves you food on a grimy tray. Some may say you are being over dramatic, but if a simple serving tray can’t receive the maintenance it deserves, who’s to say that the airplane’s infrastructure has been looked after?  The message portrayed to the customer is one that projects negligence and carelessness.

On the flip side, these small decisions can be used to your advantage. I am proud to declare my favourite airline choice is the one with complimentary inflight pretzels. It might sound crazy, but usually the airlines that include complimentary snacks are the ones that deliver impeccable customer service. Despite it being only a tiny fraction of their budget, it sends a powerful positive message  – “We care about you.”

Stay patient.

The benefits of these small actions can be extremely difficult to measure. When you’re going on a diet, what’s the difference if you take the stairs today? It’s not like it will affect the way you look tomorrow. However, over time the compounded effects can lead to immense rewards. This is the mentality that needs to be applied when executing small decisions. Remain disciplined, consistent and forward-looking, and, slowly but surely, you’ll achieve your goal.

What should you do?

Take a deeper look into how your organization can invest in the small, low-cost opportunities, that will have a dramatic impact on your organization.  Companies should understand what really matters to the customer and implement products or services that will have a positive emotional impact on the customer’s experience. Before investing money blindly, develop strategic insight on the target audience’s wants and needs and then create a plan to capitalize on such understanding.

Because, keep in mind, the small things (even mints) add up.

By: Jackie Muru



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