A few years ago I spoke in the little city of Red Wing, Minnesota. If you’ve never been there, it’s located southeast of Minneapolis, right across from Wisconsin, separated by the Mississippi River.
Before I went to Red Wing to speak, I did research on the city, and learned that Red Wing shoes and boots are still made in factories there in town, and that they had a corporate Red Wing Shoes store in their downtown. That point was reinforced as I was driving in, as I spotted several signs about Red Wing Shoe’s “Corporate Flagship Store”.
But imagine my surprise when I walked into their corporate store and found looming above me the world’s tallest boot, size 877, stretching from the first floor to the second. And this giant boot wasn’t even mentioned on the billboard.
As all of you know, I look for oddities like this boot, and in fact, encourage business owners to think about creating something so one-of-a-kind that customers will come to see it. Sure, customers come inside and stare at it, but then, they go around the store and buy. Plus, they end up talking about it, which spreads your message via word-of-mouth marketing. We also know that in addition to being a huge customer-traffic generator, it can also be a media magnet for reporters who want to write about the unusual.
Clearly, the Red Wing Shoe company took a lot of time, effort, and expense to create a leather 2,300 pound, two-story boot. So when I was in the store, I asked one of the Red Wing employees why the world’s largest boot wasn’t on the billboard that advertised their flagship store, and why it wasn’t right up front on their corporate website. His answer: “Everybody already knows that The Boot’s in the store.”
I’m sorry, but I had to tell him: Most of the world, including many newcomers walking into the Red Wing Corporate store, did NOT know that this store had the world’s largest boot.
Here’s the lesson for all of you: Businesses have the mistaken belief that their marketing message has already been absorbed by the majority of their customers. This is one of the most damaging misjudgments any business can make, large or small.
I’ve said this before to some of you: There will always be more potential customers who know nothing about your business than those who have spent money with you. And of those that have heard about your business before, most won’t understand it completely, most will have forgotten some aspect of it, and most will have not internalized your marketing message, even if they’ve heard it before.
There is someone new, every day, walking in your business, experiencing it for the first time. Every day, you have the opportunity to amaze someone who has never heard of your business before, and bond them to your business for life.
Remember: Your very best customer of all-time might be the next person through your door. Don’t make the mistake of assuming they know what’s unique about your business.
Until next week,