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Show me you understand me and create moments that matter.

By | branding, customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Uncategorized | No Comments

It is often when we are in holiday mode that we get the chance to look at everyday activities and interactions with an open mind. I love the chance to slow down but even with the change of pace I still can’t help keeping an eye out for marketing ideas.IMG_0725
The biggest point of difference going forward for all businesses is the customer experience and being able to show your value, show that you know your audience and deliver some special insights that delight them. Learn more here re predictions for 2015.
While I was having a cup of tea these holidays I came across this tea bag. Each one had a different saying on the tea bag ticket. What a clever and simple way to show that Tetley actually understood that having a cuppa is a moment in time, an experience that we want to escape, reset and enjoy, not just a beverage. Every product and service can use this customer insight to create those moments that matter, that set them apart from others.

We have been staying in a holiday cottage by the sea and the owners have gone to great lengths to think of those creature comforts that make the memories we share here special. Little things like a selection of CDs, magazines, hot water bottles, dominos, extra cushions and blankets, tea and coffee and condiments. They have even developed a little guide for activities and how to get down the the water via a track only known to residents.

Creature comforts

Creature comforts

Gartner has found that for most brands, 80% of your future income will come from your existing customer base. This is why the most brilliant marketers focus their efforts on customer satisfaction strategies.

How do you show your customers that you understand them and create moments that matter? Love to know?

2015 Marketing predictions

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Uncategorized | No Comments

digital-marketing-predictions-infographicCustomer Think recently had a great article on the predictions for 2015. We as customers know more and expect more.The most forward thinking small businesses will win the race for loyal customers. Price and product are likely to decrease in importance and customer experience will increase in importance and the impact it has on competitive advantage. I would like to add my own take on these for small business owners.
Strategy-chart by WalkerInfo.com
1. We will use data to predict our customers behaviour
“The customer of 2020 will be more informed and in charge of the experience they receive. They will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience. Immediate resolution will not be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs.To be relevant in 2020, companies must focus on leveraging big data to create a single source of truth and making customer intelligence accessible throughout the enterprise. Companies must consider “insight generation” as a sales enablement function and emphasize proactive and personalized customer support to effectively grow and retain customers.” Tony Zambito
4. Personalising or humanising the customer journey will be a competitive advantage

“B2B decision-makers are putting more emphasis on emotions-based factors versus logic-based. A recent Fortune Knowledge Group study shows 55% of 720 executives surveyed are relying on subjective, hence emotional influence, as opposed to logic-based objectives or factors when making decisions.”

5. How we collaborate is a big competitive advantage
To collaborate with customers, employees and partners can only give our customers a better experience. It will allow us to understand them better and give them an immersive experience.

6. By 2017, one third of all customer service interactions will still require the support of a human intermediary (compared to 60% in 2014).By 2018, 50% of agent interactions will be influenced by real-time analytics ~ Gartner Predicts 2015: Weak Mobile Customer Service Is Harming Customer Engagement. Customer service will be more proactive.
7. Maintain a presence across the wide range of platforms that their customers use and make a consistent experience.
8. Surveys are valuable in giving insight but information architecture will become more important as well as customer intelligence.The customer of 2020 will be more informed and in charge of the experience they receive. They will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience. Immediate resolution will not be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs

9. Customer metrics will be on what customers plan to do. Tracking actions and the return to the business.

10.By 2020, smart phone applications will proactively inform a shopper regarding specific issues with products or retailers upon entering a retailer‘s brick-and-mortar store or using its website. Brand management by 2020 will need to develop a host of new skills, tools, and communication modes, both nimble and innovative, than are typical today. PWC report

Resources
Forrester’s Top Trends for 2015
Mobile Maker report
H.U.M article
WalkerInfo.com – 2020 report
Gartner Mobile report
PwC report on retailing

If 2% of the sales happen at the first meeting, what happens to that other 98%!

By | customer centric marketing, Marketing Automated Technology, Sales Process, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

“2% of sales occur at the first meeting; the other 98% will only happen once a certain level of trust has been established“.

Trust ladderThere has never been a better reason for follow up than

that quote from Robert Clays research.

People in business often hope and expect to do business the first time they meet a prospect. Yet studies reveal that only 2% of sales occur when two parties meet for the first time. This actually makes sense when you think logically about it. The higher the time and dollar value of the investment the greater perceived risk from the buyer’s perspective. So what happens after that first call or meeting?

A recent study in the Harvard Business Review** found that companies take, on average, 42 hours to contact a web lead, and that 23% of companies did not respond at all. Furthermore, they found that leads that got a response in the first hour were seven times more likely to make contact with the decision maker. What is going on? Why aren’t we following up?

Stale-Leads

1. Number of people who buy on the first meeting – done their homework

The 2% who buy at a first meeting tend to be people who have already looked into the subject matter, and already know what they’re looking for. If they meet someone who ticks all the right boxes and they get on well, then business may well be transacted. But that is far from the norm. The other 98% will only buy once a certain level of trust has been built up.” So of those 2% are well informed and have done their homework and are likely to be troubled enough about their problem (thanks Hugh – Leaky Funnel) to want to solve it, if they find something that will fix it.

2. Salesforce should be well-informed

“Anyone who believes they can go into a sales situation armed with “101 sure fire sales closes” and make sales is seriously misinformed … and about 20 years behind the times. Professional sales people get to know their prospects; understand their issues; solve their prospect’s problems; and provide irrefutable proof. They build relationships and trust by engaging in on-going dialogue (otherwise known as follow-up). They don’t just peddle their products and services with an armoury of closing tricks.” These days doing your homework has never been easier. In a B2B sale you can use google, LinkedIn to research at a company and a personal level. At a B2C level you can ask open questions to uncover their need and if you have a database keep a record of their likes and purchases to communicate with them about other purchases they might like to consider in the future. (Amazon model).

4. Why we don’t buy

follow up

There are many reasons why people who could benefit from your product, service or expertise do not buy. At least not without further prodding. Inertia. Lack of time. Too many other things on their mind. Concern about cost. Cashflow. Budget constraints. More pressing matters. Your failure to do enough marketing to establish your name in your field so they’ll buy without question … and more. None of the these, by the way, is a negative. They are just psychological and transactional realities you must become aware of and recognise … which is why follow-ups are SO important. You really have to create a reason for prospects to consider you. Given that we know that our buyers are out there researching sometimes it is providing a helping hand to assist them in their research, education and sometimes it is just being there at the right time in the right place (where they are) using email, social media and collaboration marketing efforts.

5. Follow up just not done

Yet isn’t it amazing how often you express interest in a product or service, but never hear from the person or company again? It happens all the time. I actually say I am busy when a telesales person calls but invite them to ring me back and very rarely do they. Research shows, amazingly, that only 20% of sales leads are ever followed up … in other words 80% of potential opportunities are lost without trace simply due to lack of follow-up

People and companies who don’t

F1103B_A

follow-up; who do nothing to build up that trust and relationship cannot succeed, especially in today’s tough economic climate. People need to be sure they’re making the right decision before they commit to a purchase.

6.Tenacity pays off…

According to Clay, different studies carried out at different times, in different places, by different market research companies over a number of years all reveal that 80% of non-routine sales occur only after at least five follow-ups.

Think about that. It takes at least five continuous follow up efforts after the initial sales contact, before a customer says yes.  FIVE!!

There are some fascinating statistics on this:

  • 44% of sales people give up after one “no”
  • 22% give up after two “no’s”
  • 14% give up after three “no’s”
  • 12% give up after four “no’s”

That tells you that 92% of sales people give up after 4 “no’s”, and only 8% of sales people ask for the order a fifth time.

When you consider that 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes”, the inference is that 8% of sales people are getting 80% of the sales! Thus it pays to be persistent and consistent. Remember it is all about catching them at the right time.

OffersIntroduce a five “no’s” follow-up strategy

Once you’re aware of these statistics you should stack the odds in your favour by introducing a “Five no’s” strategy, where you maintain contact with prospects until each one of them has said “no”, or “not now”, or “not yet” … at least five times. Every time you’re in contact you have an opportunity to advance and build the relationship.

Businesses with a “five no’s” strategy will always enjoy a conversion rate many times higher than their competitors who have no such strategy.  What strategies do you have in your business right now to ensure that you contact your prospects regularly in a gentle and meaningful way so that you win their business and their loyalty?

8.Seventy-eight percent of consumers say that they only buy from businesses that make it easy for them to deal with, and a third believe convenience is more important than price.They are at the heart of Customer Experience Management (CEM) and staffed by specialists that are charged with providing the best experience throughout the transaction or journey and ultimately, achieving a tangible ROI. As this transformation has evolved, technology has played an increasingly critical role in linking businesses to their customers. However at the end of the day it is all about how you feel during the sales and after sales process. I once bought a car and because the car dealership did not treat me like the person who was making the economic decision to purchase both my and my husband’s car they lost the deal. I now get my car serviced not by the dealer because they made it too hard for me to get in and get out of the service process quickly.
Read more
9. Acknowledge the Impact of Experience
One bad experience might not send your customer fleeing to a competitor. But then again, it might.  On an internal, process level, bt-autonomous-2take a close look at what keeps your business running every day. If these processes aren’t managed efficiently, they’re costing you time, money, accuracy—and customers. Are there repetitive tasks (inventory checks, transaction reconciliation) that you could automate? If so, moving towards automated processes would save staff time and provide better, faster customer service. However be aware that people like to be empowered but not treated like robots. To actually speak to someone on the phone when doing a service call for a product is a competitive advantage these days.
Read more 

10.“Top of Mind Awareness”

There’s also the fact that 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least 3 months … and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy.

Contacting your prospective and existing customers every 1 month or sooner builds trust and professionalism and keeps “top of mind” awareness.  In this context, your customers do not regard contact for orders, payments and appointments, or the obligatory Christmas card as a meaningful communication. It is important to have an integrated sales and marketing campaign. We are ready when you are.

 

It is all about me in marketing, I expect you to know what I want in 2015

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight | No Comments

This is a great video about what we expect in terms of marketing from McKinsey & Company.
It is all about understanding what we want, how we search and review and making our experience personal. The merging of the physical and online worlds for us is already happening.

“Yet tools and standards are changing faster than companies can react. Customers will soon be able to search for products by image, voice, and gesture; automatically participate in others’ transactions; and find new opportunities via devices that augment their reality (think Google Glass). How companies engage customers in these digital channels matters profoundly—not just because of the immediate opportunities to convert interest to sales but because two-thirds of the decisions customers make are informed by the quality of their experiences all along their journey, according to research by our colleagues.” McKinsey


To keep up with these changes McKinsey suggests the following:

Discover. Companies must apply advanced analytics to the large amount of structured and unstructured data at their disposal to gain a 360-degree view of their customers. Their engagement strategies should be based on an recent behaviors and past experiences with the company, as well as the signals embedded in customers’ mobile or social-media data.
Design. Consumers now have much more control over where they will focus their attention, so companies need to craft a compelling customer experience in which all interactions are expressly tailored to a customer’s stage in his or her decision journey.

Deliver. “Always on” marketing programs, in which companies engage with customers in exactly the right way at any contact point along the journey, require agile teams of experts in analytics and information technologies, marketing, and experience design. These cross-functional teams need strong collaborative and communication skills and a relentless commitment to iterative testing, learning, and scaling—at a pace that many companies may find challenging.

Read more

Why your customers choose you?

By | Customer experience, Customer Insight | No Comments


Why your customers buy from you and not your competitors is a key strategic marketing question that is harder to answer than ever before.The competitive landscape has changed and commoditisation of products and services has given rise to the focus on customer retention and differentiation based on the “how you provide a service or product”.The shift away from an industrial, upstream model toward a customer-centric one has been under way for some time now. Niraj Dawar argues in his new book Tilt that most companies still look for competitive advantage where it used to be: through activities related to products and new product creation. But today’s advantage comes from interactions of a different sort—those you have with your customers. Companies that recognize and move on this shift win.

Key strategic questions that I earmarked in reading Tilt by Niraj Dawar are as follows:chat

1. Why do your customers choose you? Make sure it is not table stakes.

2. What business are you in? What business do your customers think you are in? How have they defined you? The answer you give to this question is predictive of how you see your business strategy

3. How is profitability measured? By customer or by volume?

4. Where do you spend most of your effort and energy? – on the service or product you sell or on understanding your customers and consistently delivering value to them by asking one fundamental question: What else do our customers need?

“Today manufactures can replicate the looks and feel of an innovative product and print it to market for a fraction of the price, in a fraction of the time it use to take. Even Nike and HP manufacture their products in Asia.” Tilt pg 178

5. How can we take what we know about our customers and provide value in different ways:coffee pods

How we distribute a product: Nespresso
How we store a product: iTunes
How a product or service is delivered: Audible, Spotify
How a product is consumed: Coles new ready made meals
How we dispose of a product or service: eBay
Niraj states the value equasion is VALUE= WHAT+HOW

6. How close are we to our customers and understanding them? If you sell through a channel that is made harder. Nespresso had the Nespresso club to sell direct first which gave them invaluable data on who their customers around who buys their coffee and at what price. They changed the coffee making market by understanding the pain of getting out of bed and getting dressed on a Saturday morning to stand in line and pay $4 for a espresso and risking that they are closed or run out of stock. Kodak didn’t understand their customers and so focused on a need that was surpassed.

Risks Table
coffee-pods-300x283
7. Do you focus on scale or scope? Niraj makes the comment that it is not how many widgets you sell but how you deliver on the needs your customers have and scope your deliverables around that. What are the costs and risks they face in doing business with you? How can you eliminate these? How do you make it easy for your customers to choose you?

“Businesses rarely pay enough attention to customer costs and risks because these aspects of a transaction tend to be invisible to a sell too.”Tilt g806

This is where strategic service design can uncover those opportunities and create a competitive advantage that is hard to replicate.
Listen to the podcast interview with Niraj belowteleconference
Podcast

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