‘Everything is marketing’ – so said, business writer, Regis McKenna in 1990.

Watching the Wally Video in this month’s seminar there was a reminder of this approach to business in one of Wally Hawryluk’s business tips: using what some would call the ‘small print’ as marketing.

In particular he was a fan of guarantees.  For the customers point of view the attraction is clear.  They have a guarantee on the service, money back promises if your product or service turns out to be substandard.  For the canny business owner the deal is potentially even better.

Probably what you guarantee, you already expect to deliver reliably anyway.  The cases where the product or service fails are likely to be few and far between.

Probably no-one else is offering a guarantee like you are.  You are already better than the competition.

On top of this you can insert conditions on the guarantee that reduce the risk to your business – ‘we guarantee our service as long as you do X, Y, Z.’  You are now managing how the client interacts with your product.

And finally it keeps you in relationship with your customer if / when things do go wrong.  They have a reason to come back to you.  You have an opportunity to put things right.  You may could easily make a new sale to them.

There are other examples of terms and conditions that can create a really good impression with clients and make the deal for you the business owner more attractive.

We have seen tip clauses (where the client pays extra if you outperform standard service), registration fees (an upfront payment for becoming a client) all used to create value in the mind of the client.

Even penalty charges can be used as marketing.  Try this out as a piece of marketing: ‘When people pay late it causes extra admin and costs to us.  We want our service to be as cheap as possible for those people demand and deliver excellence.  Why should the people who pay on time, subsidise those who don’t?’

To the kind of person who pays on time, the kind of client most of us want, that is an attractice proposition.