Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Your Unique Value Proposition

You can overcome your competition by offering products or services that are unique to your industry. When attempting to set your business apart from the rest with a unique product or service, you may arrive at situations where your customer does not fully understand your unique benefits. You will need to educate your customers on why your product or service is better for their personal or business needs.

A potential setback of creating differentiators such as unique features, services, and benefits, is that you are open to imitation by your competition if your differentiators are not proprietary. In this sense, your uniqueness will last only as long as it takes your competition to mimic your approach. Additionally, by offering too many differentiators or products, your customers could become confused, overwhelmed, or feel that you’re trying to sell them something they don’t need. To resolve this, take precautions and carefully educate your customers on the offerings and the importance and relevancy of the additional products or services.

Value Proposition. Customers have more options at their disposal than ever before, with that in mind, a well-drafted value proposition should be at the core of your sales collateral to solidify your competitive advantage. A value proposition is a statement of promise in terms of overall value delivered to the customer, and is a major factor in increasing sales. A value proposition helps you define how your product is the better solution for your customers’ needs. A strong value proposition is persuasive and outlines why the customer should purchase your product or service over the competition.

Having an effective and unique value proposition (UVP) is of critical importance as it distinguishes your business from your competitors. A UVP should uniquely identify the value of your business and should resonate strongly with your customers. For example, if you offer a product or service for the price of $10, and your competitor offers the same product or service for $11, what stops your competitor from stealing your customer if they match or lower their price? While price is considered a UVP, unless it is tremendously lower than the competition, you need to offer better and more UVPs.

UVPs may include:

  • Better price point
  • Better product quality
  • Better location
  • Better customer service/ hours
  • Better warranty / guarantee

Your business can evaluate and enhance customer benefits through gaining feedback from reviews of current, previous, and potential customers. Through this method, flaws within your business can be identified and needed corrections made. Another valuable method is to monitor your competitors’ marketing efforts, as well as gain insight into your reputation, by reviewing forums, complaint boards, and competitor websites for credibility, design, and customer testimonials.

Responding to Reviews

With the popularity of social media and the internet, customers have come to expect businesses to engage and respond quickly to questions and complaints. A primary marketing objective is to always to leave customers with a positive feeling about your business and the services provided. It is necessary to know how to engage with customers to influence positive feedback and relationships. Developing effective correspondence is the first step in accomplishing brand loyalty and supports the development of positive relationships with customers. An internal and external support staff tasked with monitoring your website, social media sites, twitter, and the like is beneficial in helping you to identify customer reviews, especially negative reviews, and in helping you work through any conflicts by addressing the reviewer and resolving their concerns.

When responding to customer reviews, the objective is to make certain the message is positive, the matter is resolved, and the customer is satisfied with the outcome. Considering most customer reviews are on social media networks, the individual responsible for responding to customer reviews should have cognitive writing skills and a good compass for creating appropriate responses. Researchers found that 72% of customers wrote negative reviews with the expectation that businesses would respond and take responsibility.[1] Empathy, compassion, and having the ability to relate are the primary characteristics needed of an effective review responder. Responses should be prepared in advance to prevent your business from scrambling for a response at the last minute.

How to respond to a review is dependent on the type of review received. If the response is negative, in addition to replying, you should communicate with the reviewer via phone or e-mail to quickly resolve the issue. The best course of action is to respond tactfully, and in a timely manner, and then work with the customer to prevent future problems or concerns from occurring. When a customer writes a review, you should respond promptly with a quality resolution to the customer’s concern. Furthermore, you should respond promptly to negative reviews to prevent customers from posting the review elsewhere and sharing it with other customers. In addition to empathy, compassion, and problem solving you should have the ability to investigate and satisfy the customer’s issues.

 

[1] Gurău, C. (2012). Solving customer complaints: A study of multiple commercial settings. Annals of the University of Oradea, Economic Science Series, 21, 827-833. Retrieved from http://anale.steconomiceuoradea.ro

Customer Behavior

Customer behavior refers to the study of the purchasing tendencies of customers. Understanding the buying behaviors of customers will help you better market and sell your products or services to your targeted customers. It’s important that you understand what prompts your customers to purchase a particular product as well as what keeps them from making a purchase. Understanding the behaviors of your customers will additionally assist in comprehending the decision-making stages your customers go through before making a purchase. Generally, there are several stages your customer goes through before they finally make a purchase. Other factors, be they cultural, social, personal, or psychological, also influence the buying decision.

To help understand customer behaviors in an online environment, a study consisting of 350 customers concluded that customers’ attitudes and behaviors toward businesses depended on their perceptions of the business, the product, ease of use, and convenience.[1] Establishing an understanding of the behaviors of your customers is central to developing successful marketing strategies. Analyzing customer behavior is vital for exploring opportunities that help in the development of successful strategies that influence customer decisions and expand brand awareness. Moreover, attempting to offer a product without understanding customer behavior could cause a loss of both revenue and time.

Social Behaviors. Understanding customers’ social behaviors are valuable for gaining insights into human motivations and how customers allocate resources in various circumstances when making purchasing decisions. Your business could benefit from learning about the social behaviors of your customers as a means to direct marketing correspondence and impact customer behavioral attitudes.

Personal Values. In the context of business marketing, personal values are defined as an underlying determinant of the attitudes and behaviors of customers. In addition to social behaviors, personal values were found to have a significant influence on customer behaviors. However, personal values were noted to have a more significant effect on customer behavior compared to other psychographics considering personal values link centrally to an individual’s cognitive system.

 

[1] Lim, W. M. (2013). Toward a theory of online buyer behavior using structural equation modeling. Modern Applied Science, 7, 34. doi:10.5539/mas.v7n10p34

The Customer Trigger Point

While working on my bachelor degree, I was employed as a student recruiter for a local college in Dallas, Texas. During sales training, I learned lessons that remain current in all my customer relationships: Never ruin a hot lead and know the customer’s trigger point. Finding the trigger point is as simple as asking “Why are you calling or meeting with me today?” Every customer has a reason for the decision to do business with you, at your particular location, with your price, and on that singular day. In education, reasons adult students chose to go back to school included that they wanted to do it for their family or kids, they wanted to change the world, or they wanted to go to school to prove to someone who said or believed they couldn’t achieve a higher education.

In relationships, you wouldn’t marry someone you just met. You date for a short while and get to know their likes, dislikes, and interests. It’s the same with customers. When you have found the customer’s decision-making trigger, you can easily put together a strategy that helps you get to the next stage of satisfying them. The goal of sales is to find and finesse your customers’ trigger point. If a customer wants to purchase your product or service because it would make them more productive, it is your responsibility to continually integrate that productivity trigger in conversations by noting how your product or service could help with their productivity. Once the trigger point is outlined, the sale becomes much easier. Your customer has a reason for doing business with you, and it is your responsibility to figure out what that reason is and make that trigger point your key to developing a successful selling strategy.

Trends and Innovation

For innovation to be advantageous within your business, you must have a strategy for informing customers on the specific benefits of the trend or innovation in relation to your product or service. Trends affected by customer choices, the internet, social media, and technology have a greater influence on customer behavior than conventional advertising. As a leader, you should develop strategies incorporating a knowledge of trends and areas identifying with technology, internet, innovation, and social media.

Technology Trends. Technology influences customers regarding business sustainability and corporate responsibility. Emerging innovative technology can propel your business to growth by providing a medium for evaluating choice patterns of your customers. The advancement of technology can additionally influence the value of your products and services. Moreover, by using technology, you could develop strategies that decidedly enhance your perceived product value. You can additionally utilize innovative technology to improve marketing research knowledge. For technology to remain beneficial within your markets, your business must have a system for effectively using technology to train and educate customers on the benefits of your product or service.

Technology in Marketing. Marketing is not shaped by what technology can do but instead centers on what the customer will accept, understand, and want. There are three changes that you must consider when creating successful marketing strategies using technology. The first is to move away from market research and instead look toward being able to interpret information extracted from your customers through databases of information. The second change is to move away from traditional advertising and placing more attention on social media for communication. The final stage is to stop looking at marketing as a means of mass markets and move toward building a personal relationship with customers through media outlets.

Mobile Optimization

Some businesses have websites but don’t have a properly built website that is optimized for mobile devices. Even if you do have a mobile website, customers may complain that the website doesn’t look as good or that the website’s performance on mobile devices is sluggish. When you’re building your mobile website keep in mind that it’s on a phone, or device smaller than a computer monitor, meaning your buttons need to be bigger, some content needs to be moved, and some content needs to be removed or blocked from being seen on the mobile version of the website. A mobile website should be a watered-down version of your main website and should include only key selling points and a call to action. Keep in mind that most mobile users aren’t on your website to view your special graphics or large photo gallery. If your site is not built or optimized specifically for mobile users, your bounce rate will skyrocket and you’ll lose a potential customer over a fixable problem.

Social Media

The development of the internet has created challenges for businesses who fail to grow with the technology or properly manage social media. Social media has opened a door for customers to express their concerns to or about companies and this method of communication gives customers the power of opinion and change. Customers are a significant factor in generating brand awareness for businesses. This is due to users promoting the brand as well as creating content and exposure through social comments, questions, and answers on forum boards and social media profiles.

Because of technology and social media, the customer has the power to help improve and enrich business activities as well as add value to brands. Considering customers are paramount to the success of your business, your marketing strategies must move away from traditional transactional marketing to facilitator marketing. Facilitator marketing focuses on sharing knowledge with your customers and being open to the opinions of your customers. This method will assist in promoting positive sales and satisfied customers.

Brand Evangelists

A happy customer is likely to tell their friends and family of the service they received. Creating brand evangelists doesn’t necessarily involve rewarding the customer with free products or services. The best method for building loyalty and creating brand evangelists is by letting the customer know that they are appreciated as a customer and that you enjoy referrals.

Satisfied customers are also likely to spread the word through social media about the service they received from your company without being asked. If they are happy, they will likely tell everyone why they are. Customer satisfaction goes a long way when creating brand evangelists. You can identify a brand evangelist by joining and staying current with social networks and watching for your business name to be mentioned on those networks. Another great opportunity for building evangelists is to get involved with customers online by incorporating widgets into your company website. These widgets can be used to allow for site visitors to communicate their thoughts and share them on their favorite social networking websites with the click of a button.

Email Marketing

When done correctly, email marketing serves as a tried-and-true way to get readers to download content, convert prospects with special offers, and upsell existing customers. It’s important to focus your time and attention on email marketing in addition to social media, paid advertising, and search engine optimization. It’s one form of marketing that’s not going anywhere any time soon, and rightfully so.

With emails, you can foster a deeper, one-on-one relationship with your customers. Your emails have the opportunity to appear more personal and authentic than any other marketing effort. This builds trust with your customers considering the message creates (or appears to create) a one-on-one dialogue. Email subscribers are 3.9 times more likely to share content via the social web. Plus, your target audience wants to hear from you via email. It was discovered in a survey conducted by MarketingSherpa that 72% of people actually prefer to receive promotional content through email from businesses they like, as compared to the 17% who prefer social media.[1]

When sending email campaigns, make sure your strategy, and your business, answers questions such as:

  • What are you trying to accomplish with the email?
  • What actions do you want customers to take?
  • How will you prompt customers to take this action (i.e., using buttons, CTAs, or by clearly spelling it out in the content of the email)?

Whether optimizing your email or just writing the content, you should always do so as if you were speaking directly to one person in your target audience. Use the same language in your email as you would if your ideal customer were standing in front of you. Speak (or in this case, write) to your one reader as if you already know them. This can be tricky at first, but it will get easier over time as you come to understand more about who your ideal customer is. One easy way to sound more conversational is to use second person pronouns — “you” and “your.” This is a simple adjustment that makes the email about the reader, not your company.

Personalize the Content. In the same way that you personalized your subject line, you should also personalize the content within your email. According to research conducted by Aberdeen Group, personalized emails showed an increase in click-through rates of 14% and an increase in conversions by 10%. To get started with personalization, the simplest thing to do is address your recipients by their first name in your email greeting. Your customers will also appreciate your efforts since 74% of online customers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g., offers, ads, and promotions) appear to have nothing to do with their interests. [2]

 

[1] http://content.marketingsherpa.com/data/public/reports/benchmark-reports/EXCERPT-BMR-2013-Email-Marketing.pdf

[2] http://www.aberdeen.com/research/4904/ra-email-marketing/content.aspx

Sourcing Workload

When it comes to lowering stress levels and accomplishing tasks within your business, there is the option to insource, selfsource, or outsource specific duties. Insourcing means to use capable individuals within your business to complete appropriate tasks. Selfsourcing is developing and utilizing internal IT systems that can be used by trained workers to complete a wider range of duties. Outsourcing is when you choose to use third-party companies or outside individuals to complete tasks.

Outsourcing is growing at an exceptional rate and businesses use outsourcing services provided by individuals throughout the globe. Outsourcing may be an effective solution that can save time and money by providing resources and capabilities outside of the business’s structure. In addition, outsourcing allows your business to potentially acquire leading-edge technology without purchasing needed software, updating your current systems, or training employees. Outsourcing allows you to focus your resources on the tasks that matter most and are indicative of your core competencies. Other benefits of outsourcing include lowering development costs, hiring the best talent for the job, and realizing a higher quality of work.

Short cycle time systems development involves utilizing methods including automation, outsourcing, and technology to complete tasks quickly. A benefit of this type of structure is that new products and innovation are brought to the marketplace sooner and benefits your business by having a competitive advantage. Concerns with outsourcing short cycle time systems include privacy, security, and potential loss of in-house resources.

The quick reaction of cycle time systems allow the development of new products and services to align with market and environment changes. A disadvantage of producing products or services quickly is that quality may suffer. Furthermore, using outsourced individuals could also present legal issues, financial setbacks, and provide limited control over outcomes. To try and mitigate the damages of outsourcing, you should use service level agreement (SLA) contracts with your vendors which ensure (with penalties) that you receive the desired performance and that expectations are met. Another disadvantage of outsourcing includes cultural differences. Outsourcing is often accomplished between organizations with different backgrounds, languages, and cultural differences. To outsource successfully, you should implement corporate policy that provides data security and protects the privacy of your customers. While cost reduction is a valuable benefit, you should be aware of outsource individuals who may have hidden costs associated with the work they provide.

 

1 2 3 4 7
READY TO IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY?
Copyright 2022 Dr. Elijah Clark Marketing Consulting - Sitemap - Policy