Does integrity matter in marketing, or in business for that matter? Seeing this question from the customer’s perspective, they like to be treated well. If there is a problem, they want it resolved quickly. Companies can save money by cutting down on service levels, avoiding their responsibilities and controlling customer communications through the use of technology.
What effect does this have on their reputation? What happens when customers start to leave them in droves (a certain UK utility company comes to mind).
Integrity is part of a person’s character. The character of a company’s founder / owner is mirrored within their brand personality. Can you think of a famous person for whom this applies?
If you run a business or are responsible for marketing, take a moment and think about your values. What matters to you? What do you believe in? The answers to these questions will feed into your brand, website, social media campaigns, advertisements, printed matter and your entire promotional mix.
Is the customer always right? The answer to this question is: not all the time. However, if you want to attract and keep customers it is best to start from this point of view. Even if they are entirely wrong, it will help if you listen to them and ask yourself the question: “What am I missing?”
Perhaps they were given the wrong information. Or perhaps your communication with them could have been better. In any event, you can learn from this experience and improve customer service next time around.
By the way, if a customer is not happy and you turn the situation around, they can become one of your most loyal customers.
With GDPR on the horizon, it is more important than ever to have an opt in process for your email list. Here is a diagram showing an effective process for getting your target market to subscribe to your email list:
Customers have problems / challenges that they have to resolve sooner or later. Try to see it from their perspective. How does it feel to have this challenge? How would you define the problem? What alternative solutions are available?
Having decide on the problem that you are going to focus on, the next step is to write a detailed guide to solving the problem. For example, I have written a 10,000 word marketing strategy e-book (more of which in a moment).
You can promote your guide in a variety of way including Google AdWords, Facebook advertisements, Instagram ads, Twitter ads, LinkedIn adverts and social media posts. You can also promote it via your website and by sending 1-2-1 emails to people that you know. In fact, you can promote the guide by using most of the 250+ promotional techniques that I have researched and used.
All of this activity should aim at a landing page which does not contain your website navigation bar or any other distractions. Here is one that I prepared earlier (any Blue Peter fans out there?) which offers a free copy of the 10,000 word marketing strategy e-book:
If you join my list, via the above page, notice that you are taken to a confirmation page telling you what is going to happen next and that MailChimp provides a clear opt-in process.
Having launched my new landing page a few days ago, I have 55 people on the list so far. A couple of people rang me to ask questions about the guide and I have emailed a few other people which has led to sales conversations.
One of my clients calls everyone who signs up to their list, using this process. They are selling to other businesses and they request a phone number on the opt-in form. Their business is increasing in size by 50% annually.
What is stopping you from doing all of this? I suspect that you are busy: so time is the first challenge. Then you have to consider the different options for the guide and of course you have to write it and produce a professional looking PDF. You then have to create the landing page either using a sub domain or special software that overrides your website’s standard layout. Finally you have to set up the email marketing automation sequence. Phew!
A brand is a promise that you will deliver a service or product in the way that the customer expects it. This sounds simple enough, however, there are many things that can go wrong. An enterprise may have inadvertently oversold the features and benefits, hence the old phrase: “Undersell and over deliver.”
There may be hidden costs, i.e. delivery, maintenance or additional features. Before the customer buys, be as open and transparent as possible about the whole package that you are offering.
What if there is a problem, after the sale has been made? How easy do you make it to communicate with you? Is your telephone number clearly displayed on your website? Ideally, this should appear at the top of every page. Contact forms are fine and I understand why they are so popular. However, many people prefer to send an email.
The key issue is to decide what your promise is, in the first place. You may think that you know what it is. Your customers may have different ideas. It is a good idea to talk to customers and get their viewpoint on what your brand is all about. The challenge is that they don’t think about your brand as often as you do and they will probably come up with all sorts of conflicting points of view. It is still worth doing this, at least once a year.
Your brand values are the place to start. Do you have these written down? Does your team know what they are?
When was the last time that a company broke a promise to you? How did it make you feel? How often do they have to do this before you go somewhere else?
I want to talk to someone now.
No, I cannot wait.
I have a million questions.
Does it do this?
Does it do that?
Why is it so expensive?
What do you think of this competitor?
I am not being difficult but…
All of a sudden I am not in a rush.
I will think it over.
Yes, I have your proposal.
Yes, I am still alive, thank you for asking.
OK I will buy it.
Can I have it today?
I can’t make it work.
I have 10,000 questions.
OK I am happy now.
What a great company you have.
I would like to buy another one please.
Every business has a quick answer to this question. When I ask my seminar audiences, they are happy to describe their customers to me. However, I wonder how deep their knowledge goes?
In post industrial fast moving economies, the lines have become blurred, when it comes to trying to pin people down in terms of job title or demographics. In the last century, the paper that I read, my postcode, job title and age would give you a reasonably clear idea of buying preferences. This has become much more of challenge in recent years.
Business to Business: The usual attributes include: organisation type, job title and where they are based.
Consumer marketing: Typical attributes include: gender, age, socio-economic group and where they live (i.e. postcode).
Additional information (B2B and B2C) would include who influences them, and what media do they read, listen to and watch?
Think in terms of a timeline: dormant, current and prospective customers. What are the differences between these different groups?
Questions to ask yourself include: who influences the buying decision? Does your promotional mix reach them? Who makes the decision to buy? Why would they buy from you again?
Many buying decisions are influenced by word of mouth. This far outweighs the direct influence of social media on buyers. How can you reach the people that influence the sale is a key question to ask yourself.
An email marketing list can be really helpful – particularly if subscribers reveal information about themselves via a sign-up form. This can be cross referenced to the customer lists within your CRM. Your CRM should have a considerable amount of information about your customers (taking into account the data protection legal requirements).
Surveys can help, however, it can be difficult to get people to help with this. Haing said this, I am amazed by the small percentage of companies that bother to ask for customer feedback. The easiest way to get feedback is via a smartphone, by the way.
Above all, you need to continually talk to customers and meet with them in person. No machine or software program can replace the nuanced information that happens when two people talk to each other.
Finally, try and see your brand, products and services from your customers’ perspective. If you were one of your customers – what would you think of your marketing, service and performance?