Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Customer Marketing

Purpose of Marketing

Without marketing, your business is taking the risk of losing customers and revenue. Think of your brand, website, or artwork as a resume. You spend hours or days writing, designing, and editing it to perfection, not to mention the years of enhancing and refining your background with experience and education. After you’ve culminated and perfected your resume, what next? What’s the next step to ensuring that you land that dream job? The appropriate response is to send your resume to employers. In the context of business, that’s called marketing. You must market yourself to win the job. A terribly unattractive resume sent to potential employers has a higher probability of landing a job over a superb resume sitting in a drawer. Without marketing, you will waste time and money creating a great brand that never gets noticed.

Customer Marketing

If your marketing strategy is not structured on the purchasing needs and wants of your desired customer, you are missing the mark in marketing. An effective campaign is one that influences customers to make a purchase. The secret is to build trust and positive brand awareness through attractive and targeted marketing. Additionally, the campaign should aim at solving the customer’s hesitation to purchase. As customers make purchases, a trend will develop, outlining likes and dislikes based on what sells and what doesn’t.

A Hesitant Customer. All customers experience some hesitancy before making purchases. They don’t simply walk into a store or view a website and make a purchase without thinking about it. How long they hesitate is where you should focus your marketing. For example, a product discounted with a “One day only” stamp will make the customer spend less time debating the purchase because of the urgency of the deadline. If you want a today purchase, you should try marketing your product or service so that it positively influences the customer to decide and act quickly.

As a business owner, you have the responsibility to provide customers with the information they need to make a purchase. If presented effectively, the information you provide customers can persuade them to believe they need what your business is selling, even if the product is outside of their immediate desires or needs. In this sense, information used within your marketing efforts are responsible for shaping the needs and wants of your customers. The implication is that, through marketing, you can capitalize on your customers’ internal weakness and persuade them to make a purchase.

A customer purchase is often based on one of three factors; (1) whether the product or service will help the customer be more productive; (2) whether the product or service can satisfy the things or people the customer cares most about; or (3) whether it fulfills a desire or need.

When marketing, you should understand how your product can solve your customers’ problem or situation. If you know your customers’ habits, likes, or dislikes you can market based on how your product will fit into their lifestyles. From there, the customer will be less hesitant to make the purchase and will have a solid answer as to why they need your product.

Customer Perception

Customer perception is a significant predictor of customer purchasing outcomes. The customer’s perception of your purchasing processes can influence your business’s reputation and sales. Customers with a positive perception of your business will likely react differently to reviews posted by previous customers compared to customers that do not have a positive perception.

Value Perception. As a business, you should seek to position positive product knowledge at the beginning of your customers’ journey. While attempting to examine the relationship between customer uncertainty reduction and value perception, I found that customer uncertainty about a business influenced the overall value perception of the selected businesses. To reduce the concern of potential customer uncertainty, your business should publicly display reviews and testimonials to assist in improving the value perception of your business.

Customer Service

These days, technology connects us in a way that we could have never imagined. And while this increased connectivity makes it easy for us to stay in touch, it’s important that we don’t let it stand in the way of real, personal engagement with customers. Think about a time when you called into a customer service line. You probably sat through a series of long, drawn-out automated messages, pressed a couple buttons, and after much frustration, breathed a sigh of relief when you were finally connected with an actual representative, right?

At the end of the day, people want to do business with other people — not machines and auto sequenced emails. By making a conscious effort to infuse more human interactions into your day-to-day communication with customers, it will be easier to build trust and deepen the relationship. Satisfying the needs of your customers ensures the survival of your business. A periodic check is required to discern the level of performance related to the current quality of services and products, followed by a plan to upgrade or enhance those services or products as necessary to build a quality relationship with your customers. In order to fulfill this goal, you must have a set of rules to measure and improve this quality.

Delivering quality services to customers is considered the most effective way to ensure that your business stands out from your competitors. The main ingredients involved in a quality relationship between your business and your customers are trust and commitment. Trust means confidence and security in the relationship you have with customers and can be treated as the biggest investment in building long term relationships. Lack of trust, on the other hand, weakens the relationship’s foundation.

Attracting the right customer

Many businesses that I have consulted for boasted about their low prices but hated the fact that customers would only purchase products on discount. Those businesses failed to sell products at a profitable margin and often could not afford other expenses including employees, marketing, and general operating costs. It’s great when your customers love your low prices, but if your customers are the only ones winning, then that is not good for your business.

Most customers – the ones you want – will view your product or service as an investment. They likely will not see your prices as an issue considering they desire other conveniences of your business, which may include your location, quality, reputation, etc. That’s a very different mindset from that of customers who simply want to buy a product at the lowest cost possible. However, it is your responsibility to market your overall value as the focus of your business and not just your prices.

Qualifying The Customer. I’ve seen it often; an employee talks with a potential customer and the customer seems (or acts) interested. After that meeting, the employee is confident about what the customer wants and offers the customer pretty much everything that the company sells, backtracking from pricing individual services to a grand total number.

The problem? The potential customer has never purchased from the business and has no plans to make a purchase until the end of the year. In addition, his budget is way below what the employee proposed. Immediately, the customer disregards the business as an option, both now and when his budget increases by 50% the following year.

Sometimes, a customer will never be the right fit. And sometimes it just isn’t the right time. Don’t ruin your chances by not understanding your customers’ current and future needs – including their financial constraints. In addition to understanding your customers’ objectives and the current state of your marketing outreach, you should also define the following:

  • What are the customer’s goals?
  • What does success for the overall company look like?
  • What is the timeframe for achieving those goals?
  • Are there separate long-term and short-term goals?
  • What specific metrics will define success?
  • What challenge is the customer currently facing?
  • What value does the customer see in the services you provide?

Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction

Most businesses believe that a satisfied customer is also a loyal customer. That is not always the case, as your customer can be satisfied and not loyal to your business. Satisfaction is an emotion while loyalty is related to a future action taken by the customer.

Building satisfied and loyal customers require:

  • Keeping customers engaged in the salesprocess
  • Educating customers on why they should choose you over your competition
  • Knowing the unique needs of your customers and satisfying those needs

Not every customer is destined to be a life-long customer— but if you follow the tactics above, both you and your customer will be set up for a happy and productive relationship.

Understanding your customer loyalty level.

  • Satisfied but disloyal customers: A customer can be fully satisfied but may not be loyal due to following reasons:
    • Experimental Customer. These types of customers like to experiment and enjoy the option of diverging in other available businesses in the market.
    • Price Shopper. These customers are happy with your product or service but will only use your service until they are comfortable in duplicating your results at a lower price.
    • Business Growth. These customers may feel that your methods or product and services are outdated, and will go to a different business that markets having and using the latest trends and technology to grow with the customer’s goals.
  • Unsatisfied but loyal customers: The other situation is when the customer is loyal but is unsatisfied. The reasons for this are:
    • Lack of available options: This situation can arise if your business does not offer products or services offered by competitors or when your business offers an inferior service.
    • Emotionally connected: There are some customers who are afraid to change their supplier because of an emotional business attachment or bonding. The customer may feel that it would be best to try and fix an unsatisfied situation rather than start new.

For your business to be successful, it is important for you to gain customer loyalty. While satisfaction may not guarantee loyalty, it is a prerequisite.

Customer Satisfaction

According to a study of 362 marketing agencies, 95% of the agencies believed they placed a priority on the needs of their customers. Additionally, 80% believed they delivered a superior customer experience. While businesses may believe they place a priority on customer services, the same study found that only 8% of customers agreed that these businesses prioritized customer service.[1]

The relationship between businesses and customers are often one-sided. Where businesses may only see customers as numbers, customers want to be seen as individuals. Creating genuine customer experiences are about providing a unique value, surpassing expectations, engaging customers, and remaining honest.

Successful businesses find ways to satisfy and build customer relationships, as they should. Customers are spending their money to partner and invest with your business. They are your brand ambassadors who will promote your business to their friends and family. You should make it a priority to satisfy their needs and concerns. You can help your business get ahead if you can master the art of customer relationships and build loyal followers.

 

[1] “Tuning In to the Voice of Your Customer,” Harvard Management Update, Vol. 10, No. 10, October 2005.

Customer Profiling

Customer profiling is a behavioral relationship marketing technique which involves a variety of marketing strategies ranging from simplistic to complex. Customer profiling begins with the identification of data associated with satisfied existing customers and then uses that data as a basis to target new prospects with similar profiles. The profiles of customers can be categorized in multiple ways according to influential variables present in their profile.

Profiling consists of determining the characteristics and demographics of customers. Identifying demographic profiles of current customers may help your business strategize ways to attract new customers and generate higher revenue through targeted marketing strategies. To gather demographic information from existing customers, your business should track sales data and other customer related information to help determine the ideal customer for your business.

Customers have unique preferences and needs and segmenting allows for managing customers based on their individual or grouped characteristics. Invalid segmenting could produce dissatisfied customers. Customer profiling should be the basis of your segmenting strategy and has proved to be the most useful strategy in customer acquisition.

Cultural Uniformity. Although it is rarely discussed in smaller businesses, analyzing the cultural differences between your customers can help in developing targeted marketing strategies. Cultural differences naturally exist and can greatly influence your marketing. Cultural differences may include customer locations, beliefs and cultural norms, lifestyle, income, and many other psychographic and demographic parameters. Additionally, it is important to consider online customers and the environment and culture of your website visitors as they often have a wider reach than brick-and-mortar locations. No matter the location, you may have to acknowledge cultural differences if you decide to change the way you do business, or if you plan to expand online, or to another region.

The targeted customer for your business was likely determined by who your business would like to attract. You should target your marketing efforts toward those individuals and businesses who would most likely utilize your products or services. If you want all customers and ethnicities to purchase services from your company, you may need to analyze your marketing strategy and determine how to make it attractive for all groups and cultures. The best method to understanding your customers is to conduct marketing research, which is discussed later within this book.

Customer Persona

In advertising, there are four user personas identified as competitive, spontaneous, humanistic, and methodical. The goal of a marketing campaign is to develop strategies for each persona, or to retain your preferred user persona and market toward only that group. Individuals within groups react differently to campaigns. Consequently, you should develop your campaigns to attract your desired customers using various strategies which include specific elements:

  • Competitive – logical, quick (fast)
  • Spontaneous – emotional, quick
  • Methodical – deliberate, logical
  • Humanistic – emotional, deliberate (slow)

Competitive. The competitive customer is business minded, power oriented, and does not like to waste time. This customer looks for businesses that have high qualifications, a positive track record, and a stellar reputation. This customer reacts strongly to marketing campaigns that outline what you can do for them and how you will support their ideas and conclusions. The best marketing strategy for this customer is to provide them with options, probabilities, and better results than they’ve previously enjoyed from other businesses.

Questions the Competitive customer considers when purchasing:

  • What are your competitive advantages?
  • Why are you a superior choice?
  • Are you a credible company?
  • How can you help me be more productive?
  • How can you help me look good?
  • What are your credentials?
  • How can you help me achieve my goals?

Spontaneous. The spontaneous persona enjoys marketing campaigns that are personalized and activity oriented. This customer requires you to present evidence that you are trustworthy and customer service oriented. In marketing to this demographic, you will need to present evidence showcasing why your business is the best solution for them. You can achieve results by focusing on their feelings, interest, and excitement. Additionally, you can help them select your business by offering guarantees and recommendations, but not options.

Questions the Spontaneous customer considers when purchasing:

  • How can you quickly get me what I need?
  • Do you offer superior service?
  • Can I customize your product or service?
  • Can you help me narrow down my choices?
  • How quickly can I take action and achieve my goals?
  • How will your product/service help me enjoy life more?

Humanistic. The humanistic customer reacts to personal and relationship-driven campaigns. This type of customer is somewhat slower in making decisions and desires to develop a personal relationship with you and your business. Their decisions are primarily based on who you are, what you know, and how well you know them, their business, and their market. You can attract this customer using testimonials and a highly attractive portfolio.

Questions the Humanistic customer considers when purchasing:

  • How will your product or service make me feel?
  • Who uses your products/services?
  • Who are you? Tell me who your company is and let me see bios.
  • What will it feel like to work with you?
  • What experience have others had with you?
  • Can I trust you?
  • What are your business values?

Methodical. The methodical customer is detail oriented and disciplined with their time. This customer will require evidence of your experience, processes, and knowledge. The desire of this customer is for you to prove that you can provide solutions. You can attract this customer by offering a solution that is rational and supports their principles.

Questions the Methodical customer considers when purchasing:

  • What are the details of your offering, including the fine print?
  • What processes will you use?
  • Can you take me through the process step-by-step?
  • What are the product specs?
  • What proof do you have that you can help me?
  • Can you guarantee your product or work?

Example campaigns for a marketing agency.

Competitive: Professional Marketing Services. Beat out your competition. Build a successful online brand. The competitive persona looks for a company that has a positive and successful reputation. This ad would satisfy the competitive persona looking for marketing services as it showcases a professional agency that knows how to help them get to the top of their industry.

Humanistic: Affordable Marketing. Stay connected with your customers. We have a plan to help you succeed. This ad will be great for the humanistic persona as it explains to them that they will be able to stay connected with their customers, which they would desire to do so. It also shows that they can contact the agency who will develop a personalized plan for success.

Methodical: Professional Marketing. Proven success stories. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed. This headline will draw in the methodical personality because it shows that it’s not a freelance or amateur company, which methodical customers generally do not prefer. Providing money back will also provide further proof that the agency is trustworthy and customer friendly.

Spontaneous: Affordable Marketing Offer! Low-cost marketing services. Get started on your marketing TODAY! This headline can be used to draw in the spontaneous persona, as they are normally looking for easy, fast, and affordable.

Repairing Strategy – Responding to a Customer Complaint

When responding to a customer complaint, your company should have one main goal and that is to defend its name. Within this process, the first thing that needs to be done by your company is to check the information and try to figure out who wrote the complaint and why they wrote it. This information can likely be found by analyzing the complaint to find hints of information about the author. Normally, those who leave complaints don’t leave their true identity or contact information. Once your company finds out who wrote the complaint, you should get together a response for the complainant. This complaint response should be well written, it should answer the complainant somewhat directly and it should come directly from a respected and high authority.

The department that worked with the customer should write the response and it should be edited and signed by the company’s CEO. This will allow for a filtering of the response that will rid it of any emotional attachments.

In addition to putting together a response, your company should also check the damage of the complaint. Things to you may want to check are other complaint boards, user responses and the search engine rank of the complaint.

If the complaint has influenced a negative spread and additional complaints, your company should look to respond promptly to the complaint. To find the true spread of the complaint, you could use search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. With these search engines, you should search the name of your company and see which complaints show up and respond to them from highest to lowest ranked.

The goal of the response is for your company to confront the mistake and seek a resolution. In addition, your company should provide a positive image of the company and alternative methods for complainants to resort their anger. This alternative method should include either the websites testimonial section, using the contact form on the company website or contacting the company CEO. By providing links and email addresses to these other sources, you can prevent future complaints on third party websites from happening.

The best solution comes by contacting the complainant directly to solve the issue at hand, and once they are satisfied with the results, you should ask the customer if they would be polite enough to remove the complaint or request removal of the complaint. Someone simply listening to the customers concern and finding a mutual understanding can easily resolve most complaints. You can prevent future complaints by sending out progress reports to customers and by encouraging customer feedback and satisfaction through these reports. This will allow for small problems to not turn into big problems.

READY TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS?
Copyright 2023 - Dr. Elijah Clark Enterprises - Sitemap - Policy - Fees