We provide extraordinary care for fine
garments & household textiles
received a call from a drycleaner in the Midwest. He complained
that business was slow. He blamed the weather, the economy, and the
fact that many of his customers had cut back on drycleaning.
As a result he'd been forced to make some difficult cost-cutting
decisions: he's laid off a few employees, cut back on employee
hours, switched to cheaper supplies, subcontracted out his repairs
and alterations and his bed and table linens, offered his "better"
customers 10% off all their cleaning, and instituted an energy
But his next comment floored me: "If I could just market to the
right people, I'd be OK. All I need to do is find customers who are
not affected by the economy."
It was a sentiment I'd heard many times. The solution to a
quality of product that's poor to mediocre, or to a quality of
product that's just
good enough is "better marketing."
When I suggested that he should focus on improving the quality
of his product before embarking on a marketing campaign,
he got annoyed. He told me that he needed an immediate fix, that
improving the quality of his product would take years, that
improved quality would require an investment in equipment that was
too high, that improved quality would require different cleaning
and pressing skills, that improved quality would require an
increase in prices, that improved quality was too risky, that he
wasn't sure his customers would pay for improved quality, etc.,
What I don't understand is this: how do you successfully market
a product that's poor to mediocre or just good enough? What
differentiates you from all other cleaners in your marketplace
other than low prices, fast turnaround and broad smiles?
The way I see it, if your quality of product is only
good enough it makes little difference if your
service (smiling, attentive, uniformed customer service
representatives) is exceptional, it doesn't matter if your
conveniences (accounts, pickup and delivery, 24/7 pickup and
drop off, etc.) are extensive, it is irrelevant if the
glitz factor (recessed lighting, granite countertops, framed
posters, wood hangers, etc.) is high.
Without a true quality product, what you're marketing is the
equivalent of an empty suit.
How can I help you?
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