Mount Batur (2)I was recently on a trip to Bali with my 18-year-old-daughter, my friend, her daughter and my niece. We had an extraordinary trip. I won’t go into all the details nor will I bore you with our Instagram photos (although feel free to check them out)  but I do want to share something I observed when booking a Trek and it involves some integral marketing thoughts.

Before arriving in Bali we decided to go on the Mount Batur Sunrise Trek. We were excited, especially after checking out the well designed and up-to-date website that boasted extraordinary views and great add-ons to the experience. The correspondence prior to the trek was prompt and very informative. The service from the initial connection was pleasurable, very informative and supportive. The path to purchase was paved well.

You’re wondering where this fell over? It all began at 3:15am the morning of the walk. We were picked up by a very friendly driver at 2:15am and set out on our 1.5-hour drive to the mountain base. At approx 3:15am – after an hour of careening through the roads of Ubud, our driver slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road and stopped. He turned the engine off and there we sat, in the still of the night, nervously wondering what was happening. Needless to say, 5 overtired girls in the car coupled with the still of the night and our  relentless questions digging for answers as to why we were on the side of the road in Ubud served as a great time filler. Our driver explained to us that we were waiting for our guide to meet us. Still curious we sat, patiently waiting, talking, laughing yet remaining unsure of our current situation.

Finally, out of the still of the night, our guide appeared on a motorbike none-the-less. Our driver turned the engine on and we were off again following our guide along a dark not so well travelled road. We made our way into a tiny village and were greeted by a pack of wild dogs and a pyjama clad local gentleman who had obviously heard our approach and decided to appoint himself village greeter, pyjamas and all. From here we were shuttled to a concrete landing outside what we were told was ‘grandma’s house’ and indeed it was grandma’s house because upon our arrival out of the door came a shuffling 80+-year-old woman. We were asked to go to her house and sit down. Needless to say, at this point we were starting to get quite nervous as we sat on grandma’s burgundy pleather lounge whilst she sat perched on her bed rubbing her tired eyes. She too must have wondered what we were doing in her house but yet there seemed to be this knowing about her like maybe this happens on a regular basis so why would she get dressed or engage with us.

By this time we were all very suspicious and through nervous laughter and my self-diagnosed stress or situational Tourettes I began asking questions. Questions like: How many people do you usually take on this tour? How often do you run tour? The responses were all very vague. Stress and nervousness were crowding all of our thoughts and adding to this were the fact that we could see a mountain on one side of the lake that was well lit and appeared to have people trekking as we looked on. The mountain that we were at the base of was pitch black and there was no indication of anyone trekking or even attempting their way up.

After a few minutes in grandma’s house, we were instructed to come out and have some coffee and fried bananas (breakfast) before we headed off. We sat, drinking our coffee and talking. Our conversation led back to the company website and we began asking each other about the reviews anyone had read about this particular trek. A conversation we probably should have had before our breakfast outside grandma’s house. There are so many other things I could share with you about the lead up to our Trek that would leave you in hysterics but for the sake of this blog I’ll leave the rest for (perhaps) another time.

We made it to the top as you can see from the picture above. It was incredible and definitely a view and experience we will all remember for a lifetime. It was breathtaking and hair-raising all at the same time.

How does the ‘Path To Purchase’ and marketing come into this story? In regard to this Trek let me say that we are unanimous when we say we would all do it again in a heartbeat. However, in saying that, would we recommend the company to others? Probably not. Why? Because the communication breakdown between our side of the road experience and our trek up the mountain left a lot to be desired. There were moments when my friend, Jane, and I questioned our parenting wisdom bringing our daughters and my niece on this trek. Although the experience was one we will remember forever, the marketing and communication don’t tell a story that I would choose to share with family or friends.

My question today – Do your marketing and communication speak the same language? Is your marketing great and the experience you provide exceptional but somewhere in the middle people/customers/viewers/ get lost in translation? Are people trying to piece together the why behind the what of your offer, your product or your story? Is their experience like ours? One whereby they would definitely experience again yet they wouldn’t refer anyone to the company because the concern of the missing pieces that wouldn’t necessarily resonate with others the way it did with us.

Is the path to purchase, referrals and repeat business paved with speed bumps and confusion? Or, is there a path that is easy to follow?

With your marketing and communication from the moment a client or potential client/customer engages with you make sure you have the 2 C’s which are Clear and Concise throughout everything. Make your path to purchase easy.

Susan