Small business marketing is about you, the employee, making connections and creating positive interactions with our customers.

If customer service is bad, marketing is pointless

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. (McKinsey)

We market to people to get them to come into our shop. If we convince people to come in, they need to have a great experience while they are here. An unhappy customer typically tells 24 people about negative customer service, a happy customer tells about 15 people about positive experiences. (2012 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer). Our small business marketing dollar can’t outpace the person telling 24 people about a bad experience. Our marketing dollar will go further with the help of the happy customer telling 15 people.

Marshall Field revolutionized the retail industry around the phrase, “Give the lady what she wants.” It is your job to learn what the customer wants or help them discover what they want and then deliver. Think about this, when Marshall Field’s opened on State Street in Chicago it was frowned upon for a woman to have a meal in a restaurant unaccompanied. This meant on a day of shopping women would have to return home for lunch and then come back to finish their shopping. After an employee shared her lunch with a tired shopper, Marshall Field opened a tea room for ladies in his store so they didn’t have to go home for lunch. A great example of identifying a need customers didn’t realize themselves. When you come through the door each day to work, your reason for being is to best serve your customers so they leave the shop happy.

We are the business

It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. (“Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner)

How you present yourself outside of work reflects on the business. How you speak about your place of employment reflects on the business. A small business is it’s people. If you don’t have good things to say about the shop you work for your your employer, it is time to move on.

The point, if you missed it, is this: A negative experience of a small business doesn’t need to happen in the business. How you behave, talk, even how you look outside of work can reflect negatively or positively on the place you work. For example, if you are a jerk and I know you work at Joe’s Smoke Shop, I am probably going to shop at Sally’s Smoke Shop.


The cannabis industry has very specific rules about advertising. Know these rules, abide by them and if you are unsure about the rules, ask your boss!

Every interaction is an opportunity to market

It costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one, (Bain & Company)

It’s not unusual for companies to spend 50 percent of their budget on marketing. Small businesses don’t have the luxury of that kind of spend so every phone call, email, tweet, post, every person you speak to in the shop is an opportunity to market. Know your talking points, your story, your products. When interacting face to face remember to listen and respond. Listen and respond. Listen and respond.

The goal is to drive profits

Marketing drives profits. That is the point. If we are going to spend money to market to people to get them in the door, we want them to spend money when they get here. Happy customers spend more money. Informed customers will pay more for quality products and the majority of customers will pay more if they know they are going to get good service. Finally, customer profitability increases over the lifetime of that customer. On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. (White House Office of Consumer Affairs). Every time a customer leaves a QuikTrip convenience store the cashier says, “See you next time!” or something to that effect. Before every customer leaves, they are reminded to come back and when they come back, they will be welcome. A morning gas customer becomes a gas and coffee customer and then becomes a gas and coffee and doughnut customer who then becomes a gas and coffee and doughnut customer who stops in the afternoon for a cold beverage who then….get it? And all this time they are getting something else—a smile, a welcome, and a reminder to come back, “See you next time!”