Recently, Amazon has opened two bookstores relatively close to me, one in Georgetown and one in Bethesda.
My family has also been a member of Politics and Prose for as long as we have lived in the neighborhood.
Up until Amazon Books opened in Georgetown, we were pretty dedicated shoppers of Politics and Prose. I’d walk there a few times a week, buy a book, buy a coffee, or something along those lines.
I never thought about it one way or the other.
Then Amazon Books opened in Georgetown and I started to notice my engagements with the employees at Politics and Prose, a lot.
Because I started to notice that when I asked for assistance or had questions if I was in Amazon Books, the staff was way more engaged in helping me find a solution than the average employee at Politics and Prose was.
This isn’t to say that all the interactions were bad, they weren’t.
But on the whole, I realized that the people at Amazon cared a lot more about whether or not I was satisfied than the people at my local bookstore.
Which brought me around to the idea that hiring for the right attitude is a marketing decision.
When I was first starting out and had just moved to Seattle, I remember the person that hired me at Seattle Theatre Group hired me because I had a “friendly” face.
The road that helped me make a move up at the Experience Music Project was one that had the CEO pull me aside and tell me that I did a really great job of “selling myself” and that rubbed off on the museum.
In both of those cases, the attitude I maintained helped me set myself and my organization apart.
The hiring decision in those cases might not have been a marketing decision on the surface, but over time they added up to a marketing decision.
Which brings me back to book buying.
In a world where we can have any book we want delivered today or tomorrow, the selection isn’t a defining factor.
And, as algorithms expand their ability to suggest things based on our buying habits changes the way we discover books, suggestions aren’t a differentiating factor either.
What is differentiating?
Service, personality, and connection.
Which means that you aren’t really hiring for aptitude in many cases as you are hiring for attitude.
So hire accordingly.