I do love to take the opportunity to get a photo of my cat, Dylan, into a presentation. But, there is a serious point to make.
A point that any cat 'owner' can relate to. <~ And, there's the thing, you never really 'own' a cat.
Now, if you're a dog person, you'll no doubt extol the virtues of their loyalty and unconditional love. I completely agree. Cats have choices. They come and go as they please. They love you on their terms, and if you stopped feeding them, they’d be off in a flash. Sure, you feed it, love it, pay for its vets bills... but, a cat will never really belong to you.
And, let’s be really honest… the love they show you isn’t exclusive either. I know that when we’re away Dylan will happily curl up on next door’s sofa. He’ll even rub himself up on strangers who pass in the street; I mean you never know, they might just feed him!
Just check out the recent BBC Horizon programme - The Secret Life of Cats - to see who's the boss in these relationships. Cats go where they please, when they please, and where their needs are best met.
Now think of your customers. They have choices. Right? They can leave whenever they like. There are lots of alternatives out there for them. And, most importantly, they have minds of their own. Just because you have contact details on a database, tagged 'Customer', does not mean that this person belongs to you. And, if a programme were made on The Secret Life of Customers, you'd find them merrily leading lives in which your company means nothing to them.
You can't pop them on a lead, show them which path to take, teach them to do tricks. You can... treat them with dignity, feed them well, show them things they might like to play with, leave the door open for them to choose to enter... and if you're lucky they may reward you with their time.
But, like a cat, you need to earn the right to their time, and live up to expectations to keep their respect and loyalty.
You could think about it like this:
- out-dated sales techniques = dog training
- modern content marketing = cat loving
© Bryony Thomas | The Watertight Marketer.
Author and Founder, Watertight Marketing
Bryony is an inspirational marketing speaker, and author of Watertight Marketing (Panoma Press, £14.99). Billed by Start Your Business Magazine as “a must for small businesses.” It was described by one MD as “the entrepreneur’s essential marketing manual”. By another, as the “best business book I’ve ever read.”