The Brainzooming Group, in a recent client strategic development session, had to start early and keep the strategic conversations moving rapidly throughout the day to maximize the input from the group we assembled, many of whom were from out of town.

To make sure that we kept the intellectual output going, we provided caloric input for participants by having both breakfast and lunch catered.

We used a catering service that I had seen and heard ads for, but had never used before. Ordering was easy, prices were good, and delivery was efficient and on time. The group seemed to enjoy the food and, if the results of the session were any indication, the food helped fuel the ideas.

I am a big believer in the value of companies moving from the Four P’s of Marketing (Product, Place, Price and Promotion) to an approach that embraces the Four C’s of Marketing (Customer solution, Convenience, Cost, and Communication). I think that is one of the major steps toward true, successful integrated marketing communications. I also believe that thinking about the fourth C as not just Communication, but Conversation, is a logical and effective next step.

My guess is the catering service thinks the same thing.

Two days later I got a call saying that they had found an error in our order. They said they had inadvertently delivered small yogurt containers when we had ordered regular. To make up for that they offered to send over a couple of orders of cinnamon rolls the next day. I regretfully declined the offer (at The Brainzooming Group we do try to limit our pastry intake, at least sometimes).

But I appreciated the proactive attempt at service recovery. I also knew that we were a first time client and as much as anything, this was likely an attempt to extend the conversation. (The yogurts were a bit on the small side, but I thought it was just to leave room for more cinnamon rolls.)

While I wouldn’t suggest businesses purposely make mistakes in order fulfillment delivery, I would suggest that finding ways to extend the client conversation is an excellent marketing strategy. - Barrett Sydnor

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can ask the right questions to get the answers and strategies you’re looking for to improve your business success.