I read somewhere recently that when employees are given 15 minutes at the end of each work day to simply reflect, they are more productive. This happens even when we’re in the throes of busy-ness. So let’s do that with our marketing plans. Let’s look at our marketing plans through a new set of eyes. This can help you determine where to best use your marketing time and resources.
Put on your customer hat and look at your plan through their eyes. Actually, let me amend that a little. Put on your customer hat, while thinking about how you like to be treated and communicated with when you’re the customer.
Understand what happens at the point of purchase.
A friend’s son recently went into a sporting goods store to buy a pair of basketball shoes, his own debit card in hand. The clerks ignored him. He walked his debit card through the mall, over to the next store where someone helped him. This 14-year-old paid an extra $10 for the shoes because of how those clerks made him feel by helping him. This young man’s mom then contacted the company to let them know about what happened – no expectations, she just wanted to give them feedback.
How’s your corporate customer service working? What happened next took the bad experience further. The person in customer service was very responsive, and apologized and offered to send some coupons that week. A promise. Think about this in terms of social media. If you’re now listening to your customers through social media channels – how are your people links working? Do you have a process in place? Let me illustrate. In this situation, the customer service agent didn’t have the authority to send a coupon, so she passed the “to do” onto someone else. The coupon was not mailed out for a month. (The promise was a week.) And when it was received, it was the same coupon that any member of their “club” gets every month. Spend $60, get $10 off. First the brand was eroded by the treatment in the store and it was further eroded through the customer service process. These are both fairly minor things compared to the big blunders that can happen in a sales transaction, but customers are fickle.
Think about your company messages.
Is it confusing to the customer or prospect if they’re engaging with you through multiple channels? Or is everyone in your organization singing from the same songbook? Do your print ads mesh with your trade show messaging and your events and your e-mail marketing campaign and your social media?
What does your pipeline of engagement look like?
Where do you start the conversation with a prospect? How does someone even understand that they have a need for your product? This is where content marketing and learning events will come in. You have the opportunity to put messages out there that help people to understand when they need you.
What finally takes prospects past the tipping point?
Document and study the process that you have for bringing new customers to the table. What makes them want you? Or what makes them change their minds about you? Or what makes them call you wanting to sign a contract? It’s important to document and measure each marketing piece of the puzzle and understand how they work together – and then when you find the right process, the right conversational hot buttons, the right influencers – then you hone in on those.
It all starts with some introspection, and not merely doing the same thing you did last year.