Small Business Marketing Strategy – A Blink Lesson Part 2

This is Article two of six in a series of lessons for small business marketers from Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink.

Chapter Two in Blink is titled “The Locked Door: The Secret Life of Snap Decisions”. Remember, we review this book with the small business owner/marketer in mind. Our goal is to stimulate you to uncover some of the marketing applications the ideas in Blink hold for your small business. So, while we recommend you read the entire chapter, we are focusing on Section One: “Primed for Action”.

For those of you who have read Gladwell’s first book, The Tipping Point, you are familiar with his concept of the “power of context”. See some of our earlier articles on this important topic. Well, in this section of Blink Gladwell again demonstrates on pp. 56-58 how important “priming” a human being can be. Just read these pages regarding how very, very simple suggestions can change a person’s attitude.

Gladwell has a great quote on p. 58: “The results from these experiments are, obviously, quite disturbing. They suggest that what we think of as free will is largely an illusion: much of the time, we are simply operating on automatic pilot, and the way we think and act–and how well we think and act on the spur of the moment–are a lot more susceptible to outside influences than we realize.”

We, as small business owners and marketers, can prime the way our customers see us.

It’s important to understand not so much how this process happens, as that is does happen. That’s why for years small shop owners have brewed free coffee for their customers, and welcomed them with a smile and by name to their stores. These very simple acts can and do have enormous impacts on the customer’s attitudes.

If your employees don’t know the name, at least they can smile. Wal-Mart greeters supply you with a cart and a smile–and some recognition.

By the way, there is an excellent on-line reading companion to Blink at Malcolm Gladwell’s site. Here’s a link to the beginning of the “Reading Guide”:

Next article: Chapter Three of Blink.

Remember: Brand (who you are) + Package (your Face to the Customer) + People (customers and employees) = Marketing Success.

© 2006 Marketing Hawks

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