Avoid High Anxiety with a Marketing Review

Avoid High Anxiety With A Marketing Review

Avoid High Anxiety with a Marketing Review

With high anxiety during periods of economic stagnation, budget and staff-cuts are always at the forefront. But, take a good look at what is and is not working before you make your decisions. Some common reactionary mistakes include:

  • Reduction of sales and customer service staff before reviewing other parts of the operation. Sales and customer service is the lifeline of a successful organization.
  • Continuing current advertising “because we have always done this” and without a good understanding of cost versus value.
  • Not requiring measurable statistics of all advertising activities.
  • A panicked approach to finding new clients.

Where to Start?

Are your customers raving fans? Are they selling your services for you? If not, go out and buy the book “Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service” by Ken Blanchard. A good customer service plan is central to any solid marketing strategy. That includes continuing to market to existing clients and providing them with great service. If you don’t, you’ll certainly see a drop in revenue.

Focus on Marketing Statistics as You Review Budget Categories

As you review budget categories, put marketing at the top. Analyze the previous year. Conduct a detailed review of every marketing activity, including a cost/benefit study. It’s time to break out the Return on Investment (ROI) statistics you’ve been compiling.

What worked well for you? What didn’t? Advertising line items for which you have not compiled ROI statistics must be considered suspect. Go back to any advertising provider and ask for market penetration and segmentation statistics. Are you able to document how many new clients or how much additional revenue can be attributed to each and every advertising campaign? If not, the campaign is a candidate for termination.

If you can’t show measurable results from a program designed to grow your client base, discontinue it. It’s time to stay in front of your current clients, solidifying their business with exceptional customer service and product offerings. Ignoring current clients while searching for new ones can be disastrous. Do those things that have the highest potential to bring immediate and sustained impact to your bottom line through your current client base.

Beef  Up Marketing With Customer Service

Disciplined, planned marketing activities need not be costly to be effective. Implementing a referral program, a thank-you program andother scheduled client “touches” might provide the anchor that keeps your clients coming back. If you can retain more clients, with fewer engaging the competition, you’ll feel less pressure to rush to add new clients. A leading reason clients look to the competition is some dissatisfaction with customer service. When clients feel neglected, they leave. Ask yourself the tough questions and then ask your customers the same. A customer survey will provide you with valuable information to help drive client retention.

There’s No Quick Fix

It’s time to resist reacting to the economy with quick-fix advertising activities that you hope will generate a quick improvement. Advertising to new clients requires a disciplined, long-term plan. There are no silver bullets to magically drive new customers your way. Advertising outlets are also feeling the crunch of revenue pullbacks. They may employ more aggressive sales techniques, often with unrealistic and undocumented projections. Rather than sign up for a quick-fix program that may prove to be ineffective, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can seek the assistance of an independent consultant. Take the time to create a written marketing plan and update it every 90 to 180 days. Be sure that taking care of existing clients is a key part of that plan. Take care of them first and they’ll take care of you. Avoid the high anxiety!

Baking for Business

Baking for Your Business

Baking for Business

So you’re at the checkout of a large retailer, and your cashier doesn’t bother to acknowledge you as you approach. Instead, he continues his conversation with his co-worker at the next register, throwing in a “Here ya go” as he hands you your bag and receipt.

Or maybe you’re having a bad day and the phone rings. You pick it up, spew a quick greeting, and find a customer with another “stupid” question. As your customer is talking, you’re rolling your eyes and making gestures as if to say, “Get on with it.” Then, as you answer that question for the 20th time that day, your voice sounds monotonous, bored, and annoyed.

With customer service as one of the most complained-about aspects of business and such a significant component of your overall marketing, improving the client-company relationship is a necessity. I witness good customer service at work on a daily basis and do my best to provide it with all of my customer interactions. After all, since I expect it, I should provide it as well.

But still I wonder… Why is it so difficult to give and receive great customer experiences sometimes? It shouldn’t be; we all know how we like to be treated ourselves, so what makes it so difficult to give others the same treatment? Why do we continue to return to places that don’t treat us well enough? Have we grown tolerant of such poor practices that sub-par customer service has become the norm?

It bothered me that, in the past, I had not always given my customers the best experience I could, and conversely, that I had not always had a good one when I was the customer. So I went to my customer service kitchen and concocted a recipe to help me improve. What came out was some sweet customer service, sure to make everyone happy. The recipe is pretty much universal, so please, try it for yourself.

In a large bowl, start with a smile. Sound cheesy? Maybe a little simple or cliché?  Perhaps. But going off personal experience, this is not so easy to do. Make smiling the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning. Smile at everyone you meet. Smile when you answer the phone—it really is noticeable in your voice. This simple gesture can go a long way. It will make your customers feel welcome, appreciated, and often it will disarm them. It’s tough to be upset with someone who looks and sounds happy to see or hear you.

Sprinkle in some compliments to co-workers. Whether directly involved or not, your team is also a big part of your customer experience. Tell Jane you like her earrings. Acknowledge (constructively) Bill’s haircut, or just wish everyone a genuine “Good morning.” This helps to set a positive tone for the workplace, and when your service team is happy, it’s easier for them to keep your customers happy.

Next, add a finely cured greeting. This is a multiple-step process. As you approach your customers, remember the first ingredient. Verbally welcome them. Introduce yourself. Get your customer’s name, repeat it, and remember it. Shake hands. There aren’t many people who wouldn’t like to be met like this, and it’s easy enough to do.

Stir in the details. Taking the time to make sure your customer understands your product, service, or situation helps in a few areas. It ensures everyone is on the same page, better informs the customer, and thus eliminates those easily avoidable hiccups and headaches that would otherwise arise.

Now blend in a genuine “thank you.” In my experience, this is all too often overlooked. Thanking clients for their business should be automatic, but these two words are not used enough in customer service today. Expressing a genuine “thank you” is another great way to let your clients know they are important to you.

Finally, toss in a pinch of observation time.  This is to make sure your employees are following this recipe for great customer service. Do this when they don’t know you’re looking, and you may be surprised at how different some of them treat your customers. Performing observations and offering feedback will help make sure your recipe is consistent.

Now, mix all these ingredients well and bake in your business. What comes out is a fantastic pan of customer service that moves patrons up the client ladder and keeps ‘em coming back for more.

Connect with Consumers

Live Marketing – Connect with Consumers

Connect with Consumers

How do you bring a brand to life?

How can consumers feel connected to your brand and remain loyal? Today’s consumers need, want, and desire more: a brand that’s more than attractive colors and images. Such superficial marketing tactics bring fleeting emotions, but a trusting relationship holds long-term value. Consumers feel connected when they use their senses to relate with the brand—to see, taste, touch, hear, smell, or feel emotion. Think of how to build a relationship between consumer and brand. In marketing, two prominent methods exist to create experience for the consumer and thereby evoke the senses to secure a long-term relationship: the digital and the live marketing worlds.

Connect with positive emotion

Live marketing gets the consumer to say, “I had fun at the Brand X event” or “Brand X gave me tickets to the Madonna concert, and I had an amazing experience.” The idea is to connect your brand with a positive emotion that transcends into memory retention and brand loyalty. Some ways to utilize live marketing are through sampling (taste), interactive displays (hear/smell), exclusive events (experience), meeting a celebrity (feel emotion), and sports competition (see). Disney World could be considered the grandfather of live marketing. Once you enter the gates, you enter another world and instantly feel like a kid again. The brand comes to life and resonates as a positive memory during the point of purchase.

Understand the consumer

The key is to understand the consumer more than just from the aspects of age, income, and marital status. You need to know what drives the consumer to get up in the morning and continue through the day. What are their personality traits? What makes them tick? What makes them happy? Brands used to define the consumer. Now the consumer defines the brand.

Ask yourself how you connect?

Start the experiential marketing approach by thinking in the realm of your own relationships. How do you connect? What can you do you make a relationship last? The main ingredient in a lasting relationship is trust. Trust is more than just image; people gain trust through freedom of negative experience. A brand should do the same through image, positive experience, and positive interaction. Solidify the message and gain insights by using social media techniques that directly pull consumer information and allow them to take an active role in brand development.

Location is important

The next step in experiential marketing is to identify where the consumer lives. For instance, if you want to reach a consumer who likes live music in an outdoor environment, who is highly sociable, who likes to experience festival flavors of food, and your brand possesses the essences of freedom, social connection, and an identifiable relation to music, then use an event like Summerfest. Either utilize the surrounding event environment with product sampling to enhance your brand, or create an extension of the environment by enhancing your brand with a display area. The display area could contain splashes of your brand colors, controlled signage of your marketing message, brand ambassadors who embody the life of your brand, and activities to engage the consumer. If the budget allows, you can extend experiential elements throughout the whole festival, like allowing consumers to text a message to a concert screen with their thoughts on how a particular brand makes them feel. For example, Corona might want to identify with a feeling of escape and relaxation, so the brand asks consumers to text, “What’s your escape?”

Keep in mind that experiential marketing brings a brand to life, but you must uphold your brand message, connect and establish trust. Listen, observe, and engage your consumers. They really have all the answers.