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customer insight

Your customer has changed and now he has a voice

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

How to love your customers in 2015 was a great post done by Hatchback recently. What I really loved about this post was some key stats that really resonated with me about our customers:
1. We always have our mobiles on us and 70% of us check it every hour
2. A third of us are using social media to share our opinions on things
3. Peer to peer recommendations carry a lot of clout
4. 88% of consumers think companies should try to achieve their business goals while improving society and the environment
5. 75% of consumers don’t believe that companies tell the truth in advertisement

Even though these are US stats they seem to ring true. What this means for marketing is that the old way of communicating with your customers has to change because they have changed. See persona Mike below for more insights.

Meet Mike

Lose the high tech, aim for high connect!

By | customer centric marketing, Customer Insight | No Comments

Michelle Jayne

Daniel Newman just won a fan. He wrote a great blog post on Forbes this week called 1:1 Communication – The next Big Evolution.

Dan is the man, as he states we need to move backwards to move forwards.
We need to move towards, “personal connections and conversations with customers will lead to conversions and this is why marketers need to adopt customer-centric strategies today.”

Our Customers have Changed, Why shouldn’t our Marketing?

According to a CEI survey, 86% of buyers don’t mind paying more for a better customer experience, while only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations.cust sat

We all know what it feels like to have a personalised experience verses an automatic, robotic artificial one.
I just got back into yoga this month in an attempt to get my body out of the ceased state that working on a computer all day does. Anyway, part of the yoga experience is how the teacher or yogi conducts the class, their insight and the environment they set.
Michelle Jayne was awesome. She was nearly as good as my favourite online Yogi Adriene. Both have the ability to connect with your inner thoughts and make your time with them special. If I go to yoga then I am measuring my investment of $20 against a soy chai and muffin with a girlfriend or a trip to the movies. It needs to lift my spirits, create a feeling of well being and give me something back.

Michelle injected her sense of humour throughout the class, with the odd mother-in-law joke, a deep knowledge of what the poses are doing to our body chemistry and just enough emotional insight to know we are looking at the person next to us, saying that we aren’t that flexible. In essence she understood that the practice of yoga meant different things to different people. She personalised that experience for everyone in that room.

Adriene does the same thing by understanding we are all human and sometimes we need the relaxation for different purposes, sometimes even due to a hangover!

When is the last time you really listened to your customers, engaged with them, shared your ideas with them and personalised your service for them?

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?

Co-creation as a business strategy

By | Customer experience, Customer Insight, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing | No Comments

Back in 2009 I wrote an article about the intersection of CRM and social media. Basically,to summarise, I wrote about the customer driving their engagement with us as small businesses and the need to engage with them in the appropriate mediums that they choose to use. I also wanted to see some more aggregation of the listening touch-points we have via CRM/Social  (SCRM), so we can get closer to our customers and use this information to be involved in their conversations.

Jump forward to 2012/13 and as Paul Greenberg states “that we are now at a point that the customers’ expectations are so great and their demands so empowered that our SCRM business strategy needs to be built around collaboration and customer engagement, not traditional operational customer management.” It is less about transaction and more about interaction.

The disconnect I still see, is while customers have become in control of how they interact with us, we still are yet to make leap to map our goals to that of the customer needs and concerns with the solutions our products or services provide. We don’t make their agenda important. The end result is we are still in the large part transactional or commodity based businesses not partners or loved brands.

Examples of how we make the customer an intrinsic part of our business ecosystem  Paul Greenberg lists as follows:

 

“It can mean anything from customers and the company collaborating on product development, to customer suggestions on how to improve a company process, to customers helping other customers solve customer service issues, to even doing what gamers do and modifying game play using tools for scenario creation which adds value to the game. Co-creation is the ability of the company and customer to create additional value for each other – what form it takes is not always THE BIG THING.”

Co-creation is one example where we as small businesses can help the engagement with our customers.

 

Examples of co-creation is Amazon with reviews of books,  Nike in the design of shoes. Solosso is a leader in co-creation for men’s wear, making it possible for their customers to create high-quality custom dress shirts

that are perfect just for them, and do it for a reasonable price. Threadless is the same concept. At Threadless.com customers can send in their own t-shirt designs, which are subsequently voted on by the other custo

mers and visitors to the site. The winning design is then printed and sold as a newly created item/product. Again, consumers have a direct participation in and influence on the final outcome of the product development process. By the way, the winning design is rewarded with a cash prize as well as other benefits. Now this concept has moved into different product offerings including iphone case design. Keepcup does the same design concept online.

“The four types of co-creation

  • Club of experts: A very specific challenge is needing expertise and breakthrough ideas. Contributors are found through a selection process. Quality of input is what counts (e.g. Nokia)
  • Crowd of people: Also known as Crowdsourcing. For any given challenge, there might be a person out there having a genial idea that should be given a podium. It’s the Rule of the big numbers (e.g.Threadless)
  • Coalition of parties: In complex situations parties team up to share ideas and investments. Technical breakthroughs and standards often happen when multiple parties collaborate (e.g. IBM)
  • Community of kindred spirits: When developing something for the greater good, a group of people with similar interests and goals can come together and create (e.g. Linux)”

My favorite by far at the moment is Ikea for Business. What a long awaited idea. I want to design my space, pick it and get it delivered! Hooray Ikea you are listening. Great case study examples too!

Chris Lawer for the P2P foundation puts why we should consider co-creation carefully as a small business,

“Co-Creation is therefore just a natural way for organisations to help their customers meet their goals in the lifetime of use of their products. But they can only do so if they embrace a different view of value and start building back from the customer’s view of value, not the firm’s.”

How can you co-create with your customers? It can be a small step first. Even asking for feedback will spark some ideas. Ask your employees and brainstorm how you can co-create with your customers today.

Are you talking all about you, AGAIN?

By | Branding, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

When I look at your website can I tell that you get me? I mean if you really understand my needs, or is it all about you? I am not interested in all about you. The problem with the majority of websites and I dare say most marketing materials, is  that they shows a distinct lack of understanding and insight about two things:
1. The ideal customers that they are trying to attract
2. A way of positioning the value that they offer to that customer group so it is effective.

Maybe this lack of insight  that is resulting in this swell in demand around research, buyer personas, geotargeting, consumer panels, crowd sourcing, social media mapping, branded communities and more.

Larger corporates are leveraging any means possible to provide insight into product development, positioning, sales touch points and refining their brand footprint. As a small business we can take a more immediate and simple approach but it is useful to stay abreast of the technologies used to discover real-time insights.
Some examples of companies in this space are:
Panelportal.com makes it easy for companies to deep dive into what customers think about their brands in real-time using a cutting-edge, socially inspired branded member community website. In real-time you can get feedback from the community on any idea.

Usamp -With 9 million panelists. Usamp combines self-service, mobile ap on demand audience, branded panel.

Gfk.com is a retail research company that has been around for ages but has adapted its research to take in more social media and mobile tools.

So what is the take away for us. Well as a small business ask your customers for their opinions. It might be as simple as having a suggestion tab on your website or doing a yearly survey using wufoo or survey monkey. The direct approach sometimes works well. Is there anything I could be doing to serve you better. Ask for recommendations in LinkedIn and read what they have to say. Do a poll on Facebook. Great a persona of your ideal customers and check it against who you are attracting.

Look at your marketing materials from your customer’s point of you. Are they written to them or more about you? It is not just about your customers but also your employees. Do you ask them for feedback about how they feel about working with you? They often have some good insights for better ways to serve your customers.

Tools

Content Mapping. This Barbara Gago Persona Mapping pdf is a great tool for mapping out your content strategy using the buying cycle and a persona profile template to profile your ideal customer.

Identify your ideal customers: who are those people you serve best and love to work with. Focus on these. This template helps you narrow your focus and allows you to be more purposeful with your marketing strategy.

How well do you know your customers?

By | Marketing Strategy, Sales Process, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Having an “outside in” approach to your business is difficult. It requires you to shift your focus from running, managing and developing your business to that of your customer. This mind shift of really stepping into the customer shoes and then developing a marketing strategy  is critical to be a successful small business (well any business really) and yet most companies are still selling a promise to customers that they can’t deliver or one they don’t want.

I hear customers I interview say all the time;”If they had only asked me what I wanted I would have told them.”

Your customer’s perceptions of you are not based just on an email, your website or going into your store to buy something. Their perceptions are formed when you live up to your promise or break it, generally after the sale. What happens when the product breaks, they are left on hold for 10 minutes, they are given the run around! It is hard to keep promises. It is hard to always treat the customer well, but that is why it is more important than ever to preempt their concerns and stay ahead of their expectations to deliver a really compelling customer experience.

It is about identifying with the customer journey that you can really ensure that your promises are kept. If you make promises that are not kept the customer will judge you as a liar and customers will tell others, as we all hate liars.

If you want to gain some customer insights and map out your customer buying path book a marketing strategy session today.

 

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