Don't Talk to Me. I'm in 'Stealth Mode.'
I recently returned from a two-week trek in Nepal. While we spent most of our time in the remote Upper Mustang region of the country, cut off from electricity, clean water and the Internet (everyone should experience this "get-away-from-it-all" experience!), I did spend several days in Kathmandu. And I left with a few wonderful marketing lessons—some good and some not so good. Hopefully you'll be able to recognize and leverage the good ones.
Appeal to All the Senses
Even though the streets were filled with vendors hawking identical wares, each seemed to find a unique way to position their product to try and attract tourists. "Dear Human, Just feel me," begged one handwritten sign clipped to a collection of knitted scarves. Naturally I stopped and reached out to stroke their silken fibers, only to be accosted by the shopkeeper who tried to lure me inside to see the hundreds of other choices he had to offer.
Is That USDA Endorsed?
As we strolled down one alleyway, we passed several shops where owners were cutting meat ... on a table ... in the open ... next to every car, motorcycle, rickshaw or pedestrian who passed by within inches. Since we knew they weren't dicing up cattle, we assumed it might be goat. But since it wasn't labeled, we had no idea. All we knew is we were instant vegetarians.
The Only Sign That Mattered
The Nepalese drink a lot of tea, and I did come to enjoy Marsala Milky Tea, so I'm not complaining. But while wandering the streets one day, we came across a very small illy sign on the window of a restaurant that was closed. Peering inside we saw a glorious site—an Italian espresso machine! I just about wept out loud. We quickly noted that they opened at 7am and set our alarm clocks accordingly, racing to the door to taste that first sip of café latte heaven, and we were not disappointed. After returning home, I quickly visited the illy website, posted on their Facebook page and became a huge fan. I now know what I'll be asking Santa for this year.
Two days after our illy sighting, we discovered the hotel next to ours also boasted an illy sign. (Although it was so small we had missed it, despite passing by the hotel at least two dozen times!) We rallied a few other trekkers to join us for our morning habit and we entered The Royal Penguin Restaurant. After placing our order we noticed a multi-page, spiral-bound tent card on the table with the headline "Staff sociability." Curious, the copy read as follows (this is verbatim):
We launched a new service in our restaurant. You can choose the intensity of staff communication.
The options are:
- High sociability—the staff will be delighted to maintain a conversation on any topic, to make a joke or to share some interesting news with you.
- Medium sociability—the staff will be happy to discuss any details of your order or answer your questions without raising any other subjects.
- 'Stealth mode'—the staff will provide brief answers in a friendly manner, but will never speak to you first.
To make the service work, you will have to choose the option from this banner.
I kid you not.
A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.