Have you ever heard anyone describe their company as “the best-kept secret of ________?” In my 30 years in the marketing biz, I absolutely cringe when I hear a biz owner or a staff member say those words. Sometimes it’s said in a kind, self-effacing way. Other times, I’ve heard people almost boast about it.
“Our restaurant is the best-kept secret in New Orleans!” a server told me recently. I sighed. How sad. Your claim to fame is that you serve good food, but almost no one knows you exist. We were two blocks from 10,000 people walking down Bourbon Street, and there were only four people in the place.
What exactly makes a business “the best-kept secret?” Merriam-Webster defines a “best-kept secret” as “something very good that not many people know about.”
Sure, there are hidden gems tucked away that genuinely do not get the recognition they probably deserve. But I can’t help but think how this type of thinking is so detrimental to the success and long-term viability of a business.
If you sell a great product or service, why keep it a secret? I call this thinking the “Field Of Dreams” mentality — “if you build it, they will come.” Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret — that’s simply not true. If you build it, they won’t come unless they know about you.
No one in the history of mankind has ever bought a product or service they’ve never heard of. My late, great friend Harry Garmon taught me that. And Harry was spot on. The difference between “making ends meet” and big sales is letting the secret out.
There are a lot of tools in the marketing tool bag — TV, radio, direct mail, billboards, social media, PR, collateral materials, signage, etc. Picking the right tools to get the job done is only one step, but changing your mindset is the first step. If you know a biz owner who doesn’t want to be “the best-kept secret” anymore, I’d like to talk with them. #FreeAdvice
And speaking of secrets, I have one, but you’ll have to wait til next Friday for the BIG NEWS!