Robert Stephens, founder of The Geek Squad, the IT support company that changed the way consumer technology support is delivered, has a great quote on how a distinctive customer experience makes marketing spend almost unnecessary in some cases:
“Marketing is a tax you pay for being unremarkable”.
I love that. Robert takes a distinctive approach to marketing. I remember once interviewing him whilst he was driving his car, for one of my books. I kept hearing a swishing sound. I asked what it was. Robert answered it was cars overtaking him. Not him overtaking other cars. Other cars overtaking his Geek Squad-branded vehicle. I apologized if I was slowing him up and he laughed and said it was his policy.
Robert had worked out that if he drove at a couple of miles under the speed limit, three times as many cars would see the Geek Squad branding on his car as they passed than if he kept up with the traffic.
The Geek Squad is like living theatre or, as Robert calls his band of technology fixers, with their Dragnet-style faux cop cars, FBI-style badges and NASA Geek chic short-sleeved shirts, white socks and clip on ties, “a living comic book”.
Now, Robert Stephens is a man who knows how to create a distinctive customer experience and build the whole business upon it. He’s recently gone into partnership with one of our clients in the UK, Carphone Warehouse, to bring the Geeks to the UK, having gone from strength to strength with his alliance with Best Buy in the US.
We all have a lot to learn from The Geek Squad in building a customer experience that makes you stand out from your commodity-like competitors. Here’s a picture of a couple of his Geeks, with one of their fans – Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: