This week’s Dumb Marketing Move goes to Mural Arts Tour.
I’ve been extremely curious about the Mural Arts Tour in Philadelphia since we are in the top 3 cities for public art. The concept of Mural Arts is to encourage kids, communities, and even inmates to get together and participate in creating a mural, as well as creating exciting and vibrant city walls. So when Bank of America announced sponsored free tours, I jumped at the opportunity to experience it for myself.
Here is how the tour played out for us: We got on the trolley and the tour guide wasn’t present. We sat down in the front bench; ten minutes later, the tour guide arrived and mumbled under her breath “Oh, someone is in my seat.” She turned to us and said “You’re in my seat, can you move?” We moved; she didn’t say thank you and acted inconvenienced. This seat should have been labeled reserved for the tour guide, but most tour guides don’t sit.
The tour guide explained she was a part time mural artist with this program. She vaguely explained how details were mapped out to make a mural but not clearly if you didn’t understand gridding- the process of making a mural large scale and not lose the detail. For the duration of the tour, she directed us to look left but the mural was on the right and vice versa. She showed us a “mural” that was actually an advertisement on the side of a building but pointed it out while admitting she didn’t know anything about it. Finally, she explained, “The murals are funded through sponsors, building owners and people like you, who take the tours. But this tour is free; so not by you.” She seemed to judge us for taking a “free” tour, when in reality; the tour was sponsored by Bank of America.
Overall, the tour was okay. Our attitudes were a little skewed from the start, but it was clear she was an untrained tour guide. Another thing the Mural Arts Tour and Bank of America missed was an opportunity to make money out of us “free-loaders”.
Bank of America should have supplied pamphlets for the people on the tour and Mural Arts lacked follow through with getting us on another tour. Since they have 5 other tours covering different parts of the city, they should have had a postcard that had a small discount. If I liked this tour, I would have definitely booked a paid one or given it to someone I knew would use it.
Lesson Learned: Cutting corners, using untrained, and under qualified staff can hurt your business. There is a dilemma with small business owners, they worry about employees leaving after they’re trained and the money spent is then “wasted”. When in fact, trained employees generally stay longer; it reduces the number of errors they make (increased productivity), and it increases revenue. Training is in fact a part of marketing and your customers deserve it. Plus, don’t forget your follow through. 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. Never forget that!