By Jim Mosier

What is Marketing?

First, I want to challenge your idea of “marketing.” Most companies think of marketing as “What can I do to get my name out there?” or “How do I get more people on my lot?” I fell into that same line of thinking myself, and I now realize how incredibly wrong I was. I want to share with you a few insights I have picked up along my journey and from some of our many beloved clients in the shed industry.

The reality is that marketing and sales are two different things. Sales is the act of pursuing a transaction, while marketing shows people how you do business and lets them get to know you. In fact, your entire persona in the industry is determined by how you interact with your customers. That includes when you have happy customers as well as when you have unhappy ones.

In my business, I operate in the realm of “digital marketing,” which translates to online. Most of you are probably thinking that you understand what that is. Get an ad on Google, post some buildings to the Facebook Marketplace, and you’re marketing, right? There is a significant flaw in that line of thinking, and I want to give you an example.

Imagine you deliver a building to a customer. Your driver gets there and discovers that even after all of the conversations you have had with this customer, they still don’t understand that a 12-foot-wide building can’t be delivered through a 5-foot gate in their fence. Your driver does what he knows to do and asks them, “How did you expect me to do it?” Now, just for a second, let’s imagine that customer has just suffered an unfortunate life event, and in their emotional state, they take extreme offense to that question. Where do you go from there?

Excellent Customer Service is part of marketing.

By the way, I bring this up because it is a scenario I have dealt with multiple times for multiple clients. It is common. We can all argue that it was an innocent question, and the driver didn’t mean it the way your customer took it, and that’s probably 100% true, but here you are on the phone with an angry customer. You’ve got to resolve it. Or worse yet, they don’t even bother to call; they just decide to be a keyboard warrior and bash your company on Google, Facebook, or anywhere else they can find it listed.

If you’re like most of us, your immediate response is to get your back up and defend yourself. You can prove that the customer exaggerated the situation, and you need to set the record straight. Unfortunately, when this happens, you’ve just lost sight of the overall concept of marketing. 

I would argue that your response to the situation is 100% marketing. We all know you can’t control if or when a crazy problem will occur. What you can control is your reaction to it. Sometimes that means you need just to suck it up and take ownership of the customer’s complaint, even when you know they are wrong. 

Marketing is About Integrity

It’s a bitter pill to swallow and tastes nasty, but when you keep your head in the long game and not the short game, you realize that people don’t always pay attention when you do everything right. People just tend to pay more attention when things go sideways. I think it is human nature. Navigating those “sideways” moments will always significantly impact your reputation more than having a dozen more 5-star reviews.

In fact, those moments are when you build trust. Those moments are when you earn referrals. Those moments are when you can finalize someone’s buying decision in your favor. Think about this: Have you ever come across a company (or a product), for that matter, and you see it might have a 4.7 or 4.8 instead of five rating? What do you generally do? If you’re like me, you poke around to see what the complaints are.

Like I said earlier – people are more likely to trust a potentially negative review than they are a 5-star review, especially if they don’t personally know the person leaving it. As I said before, it’s just how our minds work. If I see a review that reverts blame to the customer, or is even just plain rude or hateful, I know that’s how they will likely treat me if I have a bad experience. However, if the business provides a reasonable (but non-accusative) explanation, an apology, and a desire to resolve, I know they will at least try. That is an essential thing for a buyer.

So far, I have focused so much on online reviews, that’s what you might think this article is about, but it’s not. It’s about consistency. It’s about congruency. It’s about integrity.

Speaking of integrity, it is one of the more abused words in our language. The word, when most people think of it, makes them think of esteem or some kind of honorable act. In truth, integrity means that you act with principle and consistency. That principle and consistency should be across the board. Online, offline, in public, in private, and everywhere in between. I hate to take this here, but if you’re a serial killer and keep killing, you still act with integrity. Integrity in and of itself is not good or bad; your thoughts, actions, and motivation are what make it up.

Think about it this way: Your reputation is your integrity, no matter where people discover it. It is also your marketing. The consistent way you handle things will become apparent. Not just online, but to people in your community and others who know you.

People will start to learn whether you act with integrity or not, and they will learn what you will likely do in any given situation. If you’re nice to someone when they walk onto a sales lot, but you don’t tip your waitress at the restaurant or belittle a convenience store clerk when they’re having a bad day, you might want to investigate that.

In closing, I hope the purpose of this article was clear. If not, I will sum it up for you: Good customer service is being you consistently, in all situations. You never know when that random person you encountered the other day will step on your lot or need something you’re selling. If you were polite and friendly, they will recognize you. If you were a jerk, they’re REALLY going to remember you.

My goal is that all of us (including myself!) strive to deliver good customer service and act with integrity in everything we do. I don’t care if it is online, at a restaurant, at your child’s school, or a political rally. You never know how the dots will connect in business moving forward, but you can always spot the missed connections after it is too late. GSCB

Jim Mosier is the founder of Shed Marketer, a digital marketing agency for the industry, and the author of the book “Selling Sheds Online: The complete guide to digital marketing for shed builders and portable building manufacturers.” Learn more at