The best form of marketing is when customers are your advocates and they spread the word for you.If you are running a restaurant, how do you plan to market it? Unless your food is an out-of-the-world experience which no one can copy, chances are you would be focussing on discounts or special offers or spending on Advertisement. I wanted to share a very nice experience I had yesterday at Barbeque Nation in Bangalore. Barbeque Nation is a well-established brand for over 10 years. They have always maintained their food quality and taste over the years. But one thing that always sets them apart from a lot of other restaurants is their level of hospitality. Their well-trained staffs are mandated to give customers a good time when they are at Barbeque Nation. If you happen to visit their restaurants on one of your special days (birthday, marriage anniversary etc.), their entire staff breaks out into a song to congratulate you. And believe me, this simple act works like magic. You can see the happiness on customers’ faces when restaurant staff creates such an experience. Yesterday, I was in for a pleasant surprise. It was not any special occasion for me. But their staff offered to take a photograph of my wife and me and in about 2 minutes gifted us a memento with our picture in a nice envelope that I would like to treasure. Which other business in the Hospitality and F&B space have done this? Or for that matter, which brands work on creating such an experience for their buyers. This is true marketing. It is not about spending a fortune on advertisements and hiring the best agencies to deliver for you. It is about creating an experience for your customer who will become a raving fan of your business. Marketing is about your product and the experience of the buyer. And Barbeque Nation managed to score well on both. As legendary marketer Seth God in says “Your business needs to be a purple cow”. Marketing is not a race to acquire maximum customers in the shortest span of time. Unfortunately online businesses have made us believe this. But that is not true and never will be. Because to achieve your targets, you will end up offering freebies and discounts which are not sustainable and will never create brand loyalty. Marketing is about nurturing one customer at a time and making him your brand ambassador. That is the “secret formula” for creating a sustainable business. We understand the power of social media. We know that people turn to social media to get feedback about a brand before they make a purchase. But why is it so difficult to implement the fundamental rule that governs social media? If we know that people trust their network, then why don’t we bother to create an awesome experience for them? A raving fan of your business will surely help you get more and more customers and more brand advocates and eventually the network effect kicks in. If you have been caught up in the hype of “growth hacking”, think again. One zealous fan of your business is worth much more than 1000 customers. It’s time for you to rethink your marketing metric.