Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Why getting the basics right is so important

Snazzy product launches and gimmicks are no substitute for a great product or service.


Getting the basics right

When our customers buy from us, they expect great products and services. At the very least, they expect us to deliver on all the promises we made in our marketing. They will hope for more than that, of course. Keeping a promise really is no more than the baseline. It’s the start point. It’s not the destination. It’s just providing the basics!

It’s what we add to that experience, which turns customers into super-satisfied customers and passionate advocates.

Here’s what doesn’t work

What doesn’t work, is an average product or service wrapped up in lots of hoopla.

As customers, we don’t care if a company has a zany, media friendly image, if they fail to look after us – fail to get the basics right. It doesn’t matter to us that they have a snazzy looking website, if they fail to reply to our emails.

We want the basics. Simple things:

  • We want them to pick the phone up when we call.
  • We want them to take ownership of problems they create and resolve them – not waffle.
  • We want them to listen to us, so they get our order right.
  • We want them to deliver on time and on budget.
  • We want them to care about us after the sale, not just during the sales process.


Getting the basics right may sound less exciting than dazzling people with ‘the sizzle’. However, those basics form the foundation of our business. We ignore them at our peril.

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  1. I think the basics nearly always come down to the principle of respect. I never enjoy the feeling that someone just really doesn’t care.

    It’s all about service… even when you are shipping a product.

    Good service makes a person feel valuable and so when you email me back, call to tell me the product is arriving late or check on me to make sure that I am satisfied then this makes me feel intrinsically good about myself.

    Perhaps it is simply do unto others as you would have them do to yourself?

    Do you think it is a good idea to create a verbal or a written contract with a customer or client that sets out in advance how you plan to respect them? I imagine this starting out could help the relationship in both directions?

    Geoff Talbot
    Blogging and Commenting in only Seven Sentences

  2. Hi Geoff. I don’t think it’s as much about contracts, but more about something you said earlier in your comment:

    “Perhaps it is simply do unto others as you would have them do to yourself?”

    That’s a great place to start, in my experience.

    Thanks for the comment, sir.

  3. The foundation lies in the basics if basics are not right then nothing can stand on it.

  4. Jim,

    It is amazing how we all need to be reminded of the basics. Basics are not sexy, but necessary and mostly very rewarding.

    I’ve been in business for a while and when people try to sell something without worrying to know about me, it frustrates me. But then, that is something I always strive to do. I never offer anything to anybody unless I don’t come to realize that I may be able to solve a problem for them. To me, that is very basic and easy to ignore.

    • Hi Kumar. The basics are indeed easy to overlook. There’s a quote from Bruce Lee, where he says that success in Kung Fu comes not from doing 1,000 different kicks, once. It comes from doing 1 kick 1,000 times. Basics.

      You make a good point, it’s massively easier to do business with someone, when you take time to know more about them.

      Thanks for the feedback, sir.

  5. Another interesting post Mr Jim. I like that personalized touch and miss it. It seems in a hurry to cut costs brands are cutting the interpersonal stuff out.

    • I agree 100%, Ayo.

      I see this as a huge opportunity for small businesses, Ayo. By keeping the human side of business human, small businesses can out-serve their bigger, ‘streamlined’ competitors.

      Thanks for the comment, sir.

  6. it all essentially boils down to good old fashioned customer service and attention to detail.

    I’ve always ensured every project I take on is approached as though it was my own. Being friendly, open and accessible throughout the project is critical. For smaller businesses in particular, this is a great way of differentiating from competitors.

    Take time to invest in building relationships with your customers and grow everything else from there and you won’t go wrong!

  7. I agree 100% Jim. There is nothing more unsexy than a company or service provider that does not deliver on its promises. Rather under promise and over deliver than the other way around.

  8. I get highly frustrated with poor after sales service. If you are eager and ready to take my money, you must be equally eager and ready to sort my problem out.

Comments are closed.