New marketing concepts are constantly emerging even in farm product marketing – websites, FaceBook, texting, "green" (recycled) packaging. The list goes on and on.
But as Marsh Friedman, CEO of EMSI Public Relations, urges: Be sure to dazzle customers and business prospects with one enduring never-fail "old-school" strategy – honesty.
You can only do so much telling customers and prospective clients about who and what you are. At some point, you have to show them. If the experience you provide doesn’t match with how you’ve represented yourself and your business, they’ll not only walk away — they’ll likely take others with them.
Do you own up to the mistake? Blame someone else? Cover it up?
People don’t judge you on the basis of your mistakes. They judge you on the manner in which you own up to errors.
Old-school rules of engagement
Friedman suggests having a few good "old-school" rules of engagement firmly in place. And these apply to farm product marketing as well as any business:
•Be honest about what you can and can’t do. While no one likes to back down from a challenge, acknowledge there are some things you cannot do. Sometimes, customers or potential customers want more than you can deliver. Owe up to it, and maintain your integrity.
•Keep your word. If you offer a “money back guarantee,” honor it immediately upon request. If you say you’ll pay a referral fee, pay it immediately.
•Don't promise more than you can deliver! If you say you’ll have something done by a certain date, move heaven and earth to meet the deadline. If for some reason you can’t, let the customer know. Tell them why and be prepared to help mitigate the consequences if possible. But don't do it in the first place.
•Remember the fine line between attention-getting and trickery. In marketing, competition for attention is overwhelming, so we draw upon all of our creativity to make ourselves stand out. That’s fine; but tricking people isn't. Some tricks amount to fraud.
So, stick with the Golden Rule for business: Do unto your clients, customers and prospects as you would like done unto you. In the end, adds Friedman, integrity is the most valuable tool in the marketing toolbox – even on the farm.