It is difficult ensuring that marketing communication is shared with everyone so that they know what messages are happening outside the store and how they are supposed to support those messages within their role. The wrong time for store associates to find out about online coupons or special pricing is once a customer brings it to their attention. A coordinated communication plan is as important to delivering an excellent experience to your customers as any other operational plan. If your store associates know the steps to opening, closing, and stocking the store, they also need to have an operational system to support them learning about the active marketing campaigns in the market.
Begin with a marketing board in the backroom that is updated with all advertising in the marketplace. Include online offers and customer loyalty campaigns as well. Clearly highlight the start and end dates for each offer. Keep the board up to date.
Then, make sure marketing offers, prices and brand issues are included in every staff meeting. Talk about WHY it is important – not just what to do. Take your staff through the customer sequence in this article by first asking them if there is a brand of something that they buy automatically (cigarettes, shampoo and coffee are good places to start.) Or ask them to recommend a place for lunch and WHY. Explain that the evangelist customer becomes an advocate of the brand when they have gone through the journey and tie how their job supports that journey. And talk about being the brand and living your brand promise at every staff meeting. Every. Single. One.
Select a store associate who is in need of new challenges and delegate marketing communication to that person. Ask them to do half of the staff meeting updates. (Do not have them do it all – or it will quickly seem like it is not important to you.) Make them the first stop for staff questions about marketing.
Finally, to be clear about the importance of the brand experience in store, put measurements in place. Your staff will begin to adjust and understand when you consistently share measurements that show the results of their efforts. Begin with basics. If you are concerned about sharing actual numbers, you can share percent change versus year ago numbers to begin. Track the percent of transactions that included promotional items. Measure a rolling twelve-month customer count or transaction count. If you have the ability to segregate promotions, you can even show them the impact of specific promotions such as percent of transactions with a coupon or a loyalty program. There is an old adage in management that what gets measured, gets done. Show your team that the outcomes are being measured.
It is your role to coordinate the customer experience so your business can succeed. Because the brand promise really happens “on the front line” – in every interaction between your personnel and your customers. A brilliant advertising campaign or a highly successful online presence can be sunk if the brand promise is not evident in each store encounter. Whether or not you choose to use this model and advice in running your business, the truth is that your customers are always on a journey. It is up to you to make sure the journey arrives at your store.