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Marketing Is So Much More Than Promotion: Just Visit My Hairdresser

by Barbara Bix  |  
December 15, 2009
  |  5,723 views

Last Saturday, Mary Davis, co-owner of Davis Hairdressing in Newton, Mass., called to inquire about my recent visit. I asked her if she had a few minutes to talk because I wanted to let her know how impressed I've been with my experiences at her salon.

As we spoke, I realized that she had an amazing story to tell and asked her whether I could take notes. Hers was a compelling vision of an integrated-marketing and client-service approach that any business—not just other retailers—would do well to emulate.

Excellent service leads to word-of-mouth referrals

As a marketing-strategy consultant, I've been impressed by the salon's marketing savvy since my first visit. I originally discovered Davis Hairdressing on Yelp, a social-networking site.

I was searching for an emergency solution. The hair-salon owner who usually did my hair was running a half-hour late when I'd arrived for my appointment, and we'd had to reschedule for the following week—but my hair needed immediate attention.


I called Davis Hairdressing on a Sunday, planning to leave a message. To my surprise, someone answered the phone and asked whether I would like to come in that day or Monday—both days that beauty salons in the area are typically closed.

When I inquired about the price, the receptionist said different stylists charge different amounts, so I scheduled an appointment with one of the less-expensive hairdressers. To my delight, the stylist was the one whom the Yelp reviewer had praised.

Discounts motivate desirable buying behavior


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Barbara Bix is managing principal of BB Marketing Plus, where she helps companies enhance their brands by capturing and enhancing the customer experience.

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  • by Dan Soschin Tue Dec 15, 2009 via web

    This is a fantastic case study. Thank you for sharing. Small businesses can learn quite a bit about incentives and retention, such as the 2nd-visit coupon versus discounting the first service. It is generally less expensive to sell to existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. And this is a great way to encourage future visits and relationship building. - Dan Soschin

  • by Zack Tue Dec 15, 2009 via web

    Wow, powerful article!

  • by Michael Locke Tue Dec 15, 2009 via web

    Great review. This is exactly what all small businesses should integrate into their existing marketing and customer retention programs.

  • by Liz Connor Wed Dec 16, 2009 via web

    This is such a great article! This business really understands the fundamentals of marketing - make a great product/service FIRST, and then promote that. It's amazing what good WOM can do for a business. The ongoing training to keep up with their client service standards is really impressive and if my sister in law wasn't my hairdresser, I'd definitely go to this place!

  • by Brian Monger Wed Dec 16, 2009 via web

    Good one. Now an article that explains that "the demographic" is not the same as the "target market"? A lot of folk (especially the media) don't seem to understand that demographic is only a description - not a set of insights

  • by Barbara Bix Fri Dec 18, 2009 via web

    Thanks for your comments.

    It's also a great story about MEASURABLE results from SOCIAL MEDIA.

    I became a customer due to a Yelp review--and I got an email saying that at least one other person will become a customer because she saw this story.

    If it results in a significant increase in business over the next 6 months, we might have another story :-)

  • by Marita Greenidge Sat Dec 19, 2009 via web

    Fantastic article and quite inspiring! Thanks for sharing!

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