What is Gratitude Marketing?
When I saw a book entitled “Gratitude Marketing” I was immediately interested. When I saw it was aimed at financial advisors, I could not believe the coincidence.
See, my dad is a retired financial advisor. He’s also the person I think of when I think about gratitude. A few years ago, he gave me a masterclass in gratitude that has inspired me every day since—more on that in a minute.
The book is written by Michael Sciortino Sr., who trademarked “Gratitude Marketing.” It describes his marketing method: cultivating long-term relationships with clients. Of course, this is everyone’s marketing method. The difference in Sciortino’s Gratitude Marketing is his strategy for building and sustaining these long-term relationships. Sciortino says we can accomplish this by expressing genuine gratitude.
Gratitude Marketing is About Better, Not More
Although the book touches on adding clients, Michael Sciortino correctly notes that the most efficient and economical way to build your business is to increase the value of your existing clients. His recommendation for doing this, for maintaining and growing your relationship with them, is to show them you are grateful for their business.
In Scioritino’s words, the best financial advisors “are driven not solely by fees and commissions but also by a sincere sense of responsibility and obligation to do the best job they can for their clients.”
At Create That, we see this “tactic” work every day for not just financial advisors but all kinds of business owners. I say “tactic” in quotation marks because it isn’t really a tactic at all. It’s a way of life.
My dad, who is also a financial advisor and also named Michael, taught me the value of living with a gratitude-oriented mindset when he embarked on a marathon of gratefulness several years ago. After seeing the idea at a conference, he began writing five positive things about his day every day in a journal.
It’s not like my dad was a negative guy before this exercise. My kids can tell you: their Grandpa is so much fun. I’ve thought so my whole life. Even when kids aren’t supposed to think their parents are cool, my dad was the coolest. He liked video games and Slurpees and movies and all the best music. Everyone already loved my dad, but the daily gratitude reflection made him even better to be around.
That’s why after three weeks, my mom wouldn’t let him quit. She said he was more relaxed and didn’t stress over little things. He was calmer when driving. She encouraged him to keep going.
The thing about my family is we don’t do things half-assed. We are a whole-ass kind of family.
So my dad carried on with the 5 Things exercise. For a THOUSAND days. The results were … well, I’ll let him tell you:
“You begin to notice, to feel different about, small things your senses come in contact with. Things you see, smell, hear and touch every day will start to have a deeper meaning. Things that make you feel bad or sad will not have as big an impact on you as they once might have.”
As it pertains to being a small business owner, he found it easier to “put my thoughts and effort into making the clients’ experience a positive one” because his focus on the positive was increased. As Michael Sciortino predicts in his book, this was great for his business.
Gratitude Marketing Naysayers
Perhaps the most interesting reaction to Gratitude Marketing is from the (very few) people who gave it a 1-star review on Amazon. These angry-sounding people deride the efficacy of gratitude as a marketing method. One person described throwing an elaborate catered client party and says, “clients are not interested.”
There’s a word for that: self-own.
The people claiming they haven’t garnered more clients by spending money tell themselves. If your clients don’t want to spend any time with you, you can be pretty sure you failed at actually building the relationship before you tried to wine n dine ’em.
While Sciortino may well be right when he says, “it isn’t enough to just feel grateful; you have to show it,” I would also flip that advice. It isn’t enough to show gratitude; you have to FEEL it. All marketing is more effective when it’s authentic.
Authenticity is Key
Many people show off how they “appreciate” their clients with branded swag, sports tickets, or golf games. If you don’t mean it, or you’re just doing it for financial reasons, your clients are going to know.
A significant portion of communication is non-verbal, which goes a long way to explaining how we can get a “vibe” from someone even if they don’t spell it out. If your displays of gratitude toward your clients are clearly transactional, people can tell.
Gratitude works. But it only works if it’s rooted in authenticity because your clients will know if it isn’t.
When asked about his 1000-day gratitude journey, my dad quotes the Desiderata,
“With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful, strive to be happy.”
If we begin to practice this gratitude mindset, are we really marketing at all? Or are we simply striving to be happy and being rewarded for it? I know what the answer is for me.
One of the things for which I’m most grateful is the enduring support of my parents. Dad, thanks for this and all the lessons you’ve taught me. Happy Birthday.