Reflecting on your experience as a consumer, there are brands and products you confidently recommend and buy from and others you avoid. Understanding the thinking behind these decisions is essential to an effective marketing campaign and for bringing in the right consumer. Thousands of people can go through a store but if not one stops to purchase something, the foot traffic isn’t helping the store. Working this into a business-to-business scenario can be more challenging, but it is really important. Here are the three things we hear businesses say:
One: “My product/service can suit anyone, anywhere!”
Understanding the appeal of your product or service, it’s key differentiators, will allow you to tailor your sales message and have a bigger impact. On the surface, it may seem everyone could purchase this product but often thinking through these three elements will help you narrow it down:
- Product: our products become like our children, we believe they have universal appeal but think about the top five things that make your product different to everything out there. This isn’t always a function of the product or service, it may be the way you make the consumer feel, your delivery times or a customisation you are prepared to do. Now, with these in mind, who is the ideal customer to purchase it? Think about their characteristics and behaviours. Looking at past customers and testimonials is a great way to be inspired.
- Price: when you see a brand name priced too cheaply, suspicions are raised. Equally, products priced too high put up a barrier. What does your pricing model say to the market?
- Place: how can your prospects and customers purchase your product? If it’s an online product, this requires computer access, technical savvy and trust in online ordering – you have reduced who you appeal to immediately. Similarly, if you are a boutique store in the countryside, your customers will need transport and time to access you. How you deliver your product to your customer will help shape the kind of customer who comes to you.
Two: “To increase sales, I need more new customers!”
New customers are the hardest and most costly to obtain as they probably haven’t heard of you and aren’t aware of the benefits of dealing with you. Whilst spending time here may be essential, depending on the level of growth you are looking for, we have found increasing the volume of business from your current customers to be the most effective way to increase sales quickly. Many of us assume that all of our customers understand all of our products or services. Yet my experience and research indicate that this is just not the case. So look to increase the volume of business from your current customers. The product or service you offer is likely to be relevant to them, so consider starting the marketing effort right there. Spend time educating them to make sure they know you and understand what you offer and how you work.
They can also become your advocates, referring other businesses to you and will appreciate your asking for feedback or using them as a sounding board for a new concept. They may be able to provide insights into what is remarkable about your products or services and levering these insights will increase the effectiveness of any prospecting or broader marketing efforts.
Three: “What I say in my marketing doesn’t matter as long as my name is out there!”
Much like place, product and price, how you talk about your brand in your marketing will indicate to your prospects and customers what kind of business you are and what kind of personality the business has. An example of this is in car advertising, they are selling a status and a lifestyle at the top end of the market and so all their marketing from adverts to the in-dealership sales material promotes the same concept of luxury. To this, they add their specific brand messages of safety or fashion etc. But from the moment you begin seeing these messages, the brand remains constant. When you get the product it matches all the messages you have received and delivers on the promise. That is what you are looking to achieve, brand harmony. When you get this right, customers believe you, you build trust and they see your brand is authentic.
Not all companies, products or services are equal in the minds of customers and similarly, not all customers should be equal in our minds. Your choice of customer will directly impact on all other aspects … including your sales, your profitability and even your peace of mind! It should receive a great deal of attention to make sure you’re getting it right! Then you will have an EFFECTIVE rather than an EXPENSIVE campaign.
By: Karren Hodgkins
Managing Director / Brand Strategist