What does Eating Your Own Dog Food mean for small business marketing
How objectivity benefits your small business marketing efforts
By Cary Weston
You may have heard the phrase "eat your own dog food." In short it means, if your going to sell it or recommend it, it should be good enough for you to use. Especially if it's something you manufacture and create yourself.
I was reading an article recently about a company called Evermore Pet Food and their pledge to put their money where their mouth is and eat their own dog food - literally.
That's quite a commitment and pledge to their product and business.
They are so sold on the product and process they employ, they are stepping up to prove the quality of their business by becoming a customer themselves.
So do you put your money where your mouth is? Are you actually practicing what you're preaching? Or Is the shoemakers kid going barefoot?
No matter how you actually phrase it, the question is a good one:
Would you be satisfied doing business with you?
In order to honestly answer that question, you'll need the perspective of a customer. Without that perspective, you may have a different impression of your customer's experience then they do.
As a small business owner, I know it can feel like you're too busy doing the work to stop doing the work. And that deadlines, payroll, and the ever growing list of small business challenges keep you working to ensure the lights stay on.
I understand all those pressures are real. But at some point there has to be a pause in order to really see your business for what it is - through the eyes of your customer.
For they are not just the source of your revenue today but the best source for referring new business your way.
So even if you dont make dogfood, you can explore your business from your customers perspective.
Here are some ways to do just that:
- Be your customer - see the process from the untrained eye. Walk through each step of your sales cycle and consider all the elements that are inconvenient, inefficient, or can be a source of frustration from your customer.
- Invite someone you trust to play the role of a customer and give them the homework of thinking about what they expected, what could have been better, faster, and more complete and from that, find ways to make the experience a better one.
- Find the most common complaints about similar service if not yours and see where the opportunity lies to make the most of those complaints - this could be a meaningfully unique niche for your business.
- Talk to your customers. Just because you don't hear doesn't mean they are not being thought or said.
- Monitor social media and see what folks are saying about your industry, your competition, and your business. You can gain a lot of insight from watching the conversational trends of your industry.
Forget about the challenges and the phrase "we've always done it this way" and look for opportunity in the shortcomings you see.
Bottom line: Take time to work ON your business and not just IN it to keep your focus on the most important element - your customers' experience with your company.
- Cary Weston is a partner of Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications in Bangor, MaineConnect online:
Company's Web: www.sutherlandweston.com
Company's Twitter: www.twitter.com/SWMC_inc
Cary's Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/carywestonYou can find him on Google+
[Marketing Memo]: Small business marketing tip: The Basics Work
[Marketing Memo]: How to turn your advertising dollars into a customer loyalty machine