November 30, 2013 By leadingresults

Kmart's Advertising vs Marketing


Kmart has done it yet again with an awesome commercial that makes me like the company just a bit more.

Maybe not a politically correct commercial, but funny, and I really like it. I wish more commercials were as funny and compelling as this one. And despite it, I sadly, don’t see myself shopping there again anytime soon.

See, my last experience shopping at Kmart was a nearly 45 minute experience to give them my money. They had one dreadfully under-trained cashier with about seven people waiting in line. It would have been much less time-consuming for me to simply shoplift than to give Kmart my money. I’m fairly sure the cashier was so disengaged that I could have left with a full shopping cart and she would have been glad she didn't have to check me out.

Actually, I’m fairly sure I saw some people, while I was waiting in line, walk out with merchandise barely hidden under their shirts. They were in line at the start, and seemed to gain weight on their way out the door.

I could be wrong, though.

The situation is an unforgivable operations issue. The total customer experience is part of marketing. And my experience has created a ‘trust’ issue. I now trust that IF I go to Kmart, I'll have a horrible time checking out and giving them my money for goods.

So what does a great experience look like?

Trader Joe's is well-known for paying a decent wage for all but their most part-time employees. And every single Trader Joe’s employee I’ve ever met has been fully engaged.

  • They treated the customer right.
  • They had customer-centric priorities.
  • They engaged in banter with customers about the food: new, old and current. With opinions definitely their own.
  • They behaved as real, actual people.


And no matter how busy Trader Joe’s is, the line never gets dreadfully long. And for that matter, I’m always happy to give them far more of my money than I otherwise would.

The moral of the story?

Think through your customer’s entire buying process. And customer service process. View and experience it as a customer, perhaps even hiring some customers to go through the process particularly if you aren’t the ideal client for your service.

Perhaps Kmart could spend a lot less on advertising if they spent a bit more on paying their cashiers more, gave them tools and training so they felt like valued employees that were committed to the success of the company, and had enough employees so that the customer checkout process wasn’t appallingly long.

We don’t always talk about the retail experiences, yet in almost all businesses, there's a small component of retail.

Are your customers having a good experience with your company?

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About Author


Leading Results helps businesses stop wasting money on marketing and improves their business development results by putting POWER in their marketing. The POWER is the Processes, Organizational Support, Why (you do what you do), Expertise and Refer-ability. You get strategy, tactics and execution. We work with both individual businesses and businesses as part of a larger ecosystem. Be more profitable.

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