On a recent busy day at work I was walking through the pub I noticed some dirty dishes on a table that had yet to be cleared. I picked up the dishes to run them upstairs the kitchen when some friends of mine walked in. They looked at me kind of funny, so I smiled back and told them:“This is marketing.”And I went on with my business, clearing tables when needed, and even delivering food to tables.As I related this story to my students, I explained that one of the most important, in not THE most important, elements of marketing is customer experience. How the customers feel about your business dictates the nature of your brand in the eyes of the public, and is responsible for amount and type of word of mouth you get. My title might be “Director of Marketing & Communications,” but my job isn’t just to sit behind a computer posting things online, creating ad campaigns, or publications. If I’m responsible for our marketing and communications, I need to help out whenever perceptions of our customer service and experience is on the line.A few weeks after this incident, I took my class on a field trip to where I work so I could give them a tour of Tellus360, have dinner with them, and then have our class. During the tour we passed the kitchen and there was Joe, our owner, sweeping the floor. Later, Joe took on the role of waiter as he served food to my class. That’s right, Joe. The owner. It’s not that we don’t have staff to take care of these types of things; it’s that Joe understands the importance of customer service, and how customer experience is a product of the culture of an organization.This happens all the time at Tellus360, as we all chip in and do whatever it takes, regardless of our given job title or pay scale. No one ever says, “That’s not my job!” If someone needs help, we help them, and that mindset starts from the top down, and it works.Customer service is among the most important marketing functions of any business. Customer experience is among the most important functions for any department or employee. In fact, there are times when the customer experience is often more important than the product itself.Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Don’t be afraid to jump in and help make the experience better for your customers, even if it isn’t your job. It’s that type of mindset that separates you from the crowd and makes you and your business stand out.