Artisan Marketing: Turning Small Customer Experiences into Big Results

In the first two parts of this three-part series on the lessons artisans can teach marketers, I discussed how in villages, small towns and “main streets” all over the world, artisan shops have not only survived, they have thrived.

You might think that running a modern-day business or a marketing team that there is probably little that an artisan craftsman could teach us and make an impact in our marketing.

On the surface, you might be right. After all, marketers are focused on reaching new audiences, generating leads and helping deliver results and revenue for the businesses we support. A small, old-world artisan’s shop does not seem that relevant.

To a degree, that thinking is correct.

While marketers cannot (and should not) lose sight of the goal to grow the footprint of our marketing, we can adopt an “artisan’s mindset” to build a closer and more personal experience with our customers and target audiences. There are many ideas we can adopt or adapt.

In my previous post, I talked about how the artisan’s commitment to quality tightens the links to their customers. In this post, I would like to follow up on another aspect that successful artisans have mastered:

Customer Intimacy

As consumers, we’re drawn to businesses where we are treated well and seen as individuals, not “retail traffic.”

If we want to build real engagement and connections with our customers, we need to develop the “artisan shopkeeper’s mindset.”

Photo Credit: The Dialy Record

Try this exercise: next time you have to do some shopping, visit a large shopping complex, then follow that up with a trip to quaint little shop.

Compare your experiences. Which experience made you feel more engaged: the busy, bustling retail complex or the little shop?

In order to have real customer intimacy, marketers need to treat every touchpoint or marketing activity as a chance to create a personal, individual connection.

Do not look at your marketing as a collection of statistics. Avoid the temptation to see things solely as “impressions” or “visitors” or “mailing lists.” Whether it is B2B or B2C marketing, the purchasing decision still comes down to a person. Your marketing needs to always be guided by that.

Artisans have mastered that marketing skill for generations. While their businesses may be small and modest, they are masters at the personal touch. The same applies when we craft a marketing campaign, an event or a social media conversation- every positive impression matters!

The Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

If you ever visit the businesses of a small village or town, do you ever wonder, like me, how they manage to succeed without a big advertising campaign or marketing budget?

I would bet that a large part of it comes down to the personal customer experience they create.

When you over-deliver on quality and provide a personal and meaningful customer experience, you are going to create fans that rave about your business and tell their friends.

How many times have you decided to go to a movie because someone recommended it? When people talk enthusiastically about a movie, the positive “word of mouth” helps to boost attendance.

Social media, online communities and digital platforms are transforming the buying journey of customers in every industry. You not only need to be there, you need to be part of the conversation.

When marketers and companies serve these audiences and help them, it creates positive word-of-mouth with customers and communities. It builds greater trust and credibility with customers and prospects. And they share their positive experience with others.

Artisans have known this for centuries. They built their “brands” on a foundation of quality, service and delivering the best customer experience possible.

That is how you build a strong brand and a successful business.

Closing Thoughts…

Obviously, the “artisan’s touch” is more of a marketer’s mindset than an operational plan. But applying some of these simple lessons can pay big dividends with your marketing.

Artisans have been successful for generations because their approach is deceptively simple and focused on creating a product and experience that exceeds the expectations of their customers.

While it is important for marketers to thing big and continue to scale for growth, do not forget the artisan’s touch in your marketing. What are some of the examples you have seen in marketing campaigns that capture the personal touch?

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