Messed-Up Marketing: The Small Stuff Matters

messyThis is the sad and sorry tale of a missed marketing opportunity. It’s the price to be paid for over-confidence and for the lack of attention to details that really do matter. It’s the story of a new client, interested in becoming a regular customer, who will now go elsewhere.

The new client was me. I was in need of a haircut and decided to finally try out the hairdresser who has been taking out a full-page, full-color advertisement on the back page of our local newspaper for the past several months. Yes, I’d seen the ad many times before, and no, I hadn’t taken any action on it. But then, as we all know, ads need time to work their magic.

So, magic worked, I stopped by the hairdresser and asked for an appointment.

I was looking for something a little different.

I wear my hair short, and shall we just say that, to put it kindly, I wish there was more of it. Every time I get a haircut, no matter who does it, it comes out looking pretty much the same. If I’m lucky, it looks a bit more feminine, if I’m not, it looks more like a short-back-and-sides.

I wanted to know if this new hairdresser would come up with a new look. I really wanted one.

The first thing I noticed, as I was led to the hair-washing area, was a comfortable-looking reclining chair. To my delight, not only did the back of the chair adjust for a perfect fit as I leaned my head back towards the sink, but the sink itself was height-adjustable, making my hair-washing experience unusually comfortable.

One point for the hairdresser.  There was hope. So far so good.

It went downhill from there.

After the usual towel-drying, the hairdresser, who is also the owner, came over. His first interaction with me went something like this:

Him: I know exactly what you need. Something feminine. Something not too short.

Me:  Exactly. I want something pretty, with some style to it. I don’t have a regular hairdresser and am looking for one.

Now that last sentence is a great big marketing opportunity.

Pay attention to what I’m looking for, make this work, and I’ll be coming back here regularly.

This particular hairdresser doesn’t need just clues, it turns out. He needs a great thumping billboard with all the marketing answers on it. And even then, I think he would miss the point!

In his shoes, the very first thing I would have done is ask me why I wasn’t happy with my other hairdressing experiences. Figure that out and you are most of the way to selling me on your services.

Instead, he completely ignored me, didn’t ask me anything, didn’t even make small talk,  and started chopping away. And I use that phrase on purpose.

I don’t know about you, but for me, a haircut is supposed to feel relaxing, if not outright pampering.  This haircut definitely wasn’t that.

It was so super-fast that I was actually scared. And no, I’m not exaggerating. The world’s fastest haircut with clippers is around 49 seconds. Mine took around that kind of time but with scissors.

When was the last time you told a hairdresser to slow down?

When was the last time you almost got up and walked out in the middle?

Probably never, right?

As soon as the haircut was over, the hairdresser, proud of his styling, looked at me and said, “I bet you’ll be coming here from now on, right?”

Wrong. So very wrong. In so many ways.

If he had only talked to me, gotten to know me a bit, listened when I told him to slow down instead of boasted that speed was his thing… if he had only brushed the cut hair off my face before billing me, if he had only… well, listened to me. Really listened.

Opportunity lost. Marketing lessons to be learned.










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