The Mystery of Marketing Revealed

Today for small business operators as well as larger enterprises marketing continues to be a mystery. Often, the ad that generates record-breaking volume one month is repeated the following month and bombs. A campaign designed by the best ad agency may elicit a mediocre response. The same item sells like hotcakes after a 30-word classified ad, with abominable grammar, appearing on page 35 of an all-advertising shopper tossed on the front stoops of homes during a rainstorm! The mystery eludes solution but demands attention.

Your marketing results can be improved through a better understanding of your customers. Putting the customer first is probably the most popular phrase used by firms ranging from giant conglomerates to the corner barbershop, but the sloganeering is often just lip service. 

Marketing success, however, is more likely if you dedicate your activities exclusively to solving your customer’s problems. Any marketing program has a better chance of being productive if it is timed, designed and written to solve a problem for potential customers and is carried out in a way that the customer understands and trusts. The questions and answers that follow will reveal the mystery of marketing by looking at ways we can put the customer first. These are questions that we often receive in our practice and some of the answers we give. I hope it helps you in your marketing efforts. How can I set myself apart from the competition?
Client retention is key. The importance of “the relationship” with the customer never diminishes. For most small businesses, developing and exploiting the relationship is the one major advantage they have over the big players who don’t have the time and energy for it in the first place. This boils down to added value. Customers crave it but don’t get enough of it. When was the last time you gave serious thought to providing a value-added premium in customer transactions? Coupons, incentives, giveaways, special events – All of these are very effective when aimed at strengthening customer relationships.

How do I recession-proof my business?
Build a cash reserve. We have all heard the expression “save some for a rainy day.” But what happens when a rainy day turns into a rainy year, or two? Many entrepreneurs and small business owners will be facing this situation in the coming months. The best way to prepare is to set aside cash during more prosperous times. There’s a real benefit to having a long-term business plan that deals with the kind of cash requirements you’ll need in case of a business downturn. For some, building a cash reserve may come at the expense of swifter business expansion. But the alternatives such as borrowing cash, taking out a loan, dipping into personal net worth, or shutting the doors are far less palatable. But wait, you say, isn’t this finance rather than marketing. True but without cash reserves to launch marketing initiatives a marketing program has no chance in getting off the ground. Many people believe that the best time to launch a marketing initiative is when times start to get tough. This is a fallacy. The most advantageous time to launch such a campaign is when times are GOOD. In this way we can invest both our time and dollars at a time when people are more apt to move forward. This approach may be the very thing to keep the recession from knocking on your door. How can I get former clients back?
Recognize that all customers are at risk. Even satisfied customers can be persuaded to defect to the competition. Do not take any customer for granted. Consider that customer win-back strategies can be more effective than finding new customers. Many experts believe that win-back success rates are far higher than recruiting new prospects. Here’s a few that anyone can implement:

  • Identify all of your products or services that could possibly be of value to your customers.
  • Motivate your customers to use as many of your products or services as possible.
  • Prove to your customers that your products and services offer value that they can not find anywhere else.
  • Keep track of every sale and sort in a database
  • Personally communicate with customers at regular intervals
  • Establish some form of satisfaction rating system
  • Sell peace of mind more than just product or service solutions
  • Admit when you’re wrong and pick up the pieces quickly and effectively.

Make your organization defection-proof. While everybody is talking about customer loyalty today few are taking real action. Preventing customer defection is surely the prime motivation for building customer loyalty, but it also gives us the ability to proactively develop strategies to improve our value and service in general. This is what prevents price sensitivity.

We can literally avoid price sensitivity by how we treat the client. Remember when you’re telling, you’re selling. No one likes to be sold. That’s precisely when they start focusing on the cheapest price. By asking questions we accomplish several goals. We discover valuable information about the customer. We bond with the customer by letting them do most of the talking. And we show that we care by being interested in their wants, desires and motives. This is the most effective way to overcome the price objection and redirect their interest to the relationship. 

You don’t need a fancy ad agency or marketing firm to improve your marketing performance. In short my advice is to place the focus on the customer. It’s really about doing the simple things and doing them consistently. Focus on the relationship. Add value to every transaction. Build a significant cash reserve. Keep current customers loyal and win back the old ones. And most critically ask plenty of questions. Show that you really care. I hope you’re starting to see that there really is no mystery to marketing. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other every day and always putting the customer first. -Mark Deo

Posted in Marketing Strategies, Uncategorized.

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