How Animals Can Remind Us About Great Marketing Techniques

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By: Linda Kaplan, MHA, President

One of the most important moments in marketing is when you have an opportunity to meet your client in person. That impression, that moment, whether it’s the first or the 100th time you’ve seen them, will set the expectation and the tone for the visit. A client will know instantly if you are caring, trustworthy, compassionate, and if you are open and available to solve or even listen to their problem. Not a single word, in fact, needs to be spoken. Rather, all of these cues are non-verbal and subliminal.

In fact, “greeting rituals” have always been part of human and animal societies. According to Dr. Caitlin O’Connell, as written in her book Wild Rituals, “greeting rituals evolved within groups of social animals to reinforce bonds, to reduce tension/foster reconciliation, or to signal submission to a dominant individual.” For instance, if a friend from Hawaii wanted to rub noses with you, or someone you knew from Europe wanted to “air kiss” on both cheeks, you would feel appreciated by their cultural welcome. A curtsey to a member of royalty acknowledges their role above ours. Our practice of handshaking, some believe, originated as a gesture of peace, demonstrating that the hand holds no weapon.

In the animal kingdom, the greeting ritual between male zebras is all about defusing tension and building trust. They can demonstrate that they have no intention to harm by engaging in playful behaviors like nipping without inflicting injury. Male black rhinos will sometimes greet by touching horns. Following a separation, elephants flap their ears, bellow, and place their trunks in each other’s mouths.

One of the most endearing greetings is the greeting ritual our dogs show us. Whether we’ve walked to the mailbox or come home from a weeklong vacation, our dogs’ overstated display of enthusiasm, energy, excitement, and pure tail-wagging joy is priceless – and even sometimes a bit overwhelming!

Speaking of overwhelming … it’s often draining and even exhausting to greet each of our clients with great enthusiasm, all day long, every single day. I wish we could be more like dogs. From a marketing perspective, imagine how you could make your clients feel if you greeted them as your dog greets you: with a smile, wide eyes, sheer delight, and a genuine attitude of, “I’m so happy to see you – how may I serve you?”

Marketing – whether online, in print, or in person – reflects the experience you are promising your client. We hope you are a happy, grateful, delighted canine all day long, even with the most unpleasant or unappreciative pet parents. It will make all the difference in how they feel about your business.


Categories: Management, Marketing, Practice Management Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 Tags: , , ,