© 2012 Leslie R. Wolff
Marketing is made up of many elements. Back in the 1960s Professor Theodore Levitt of the Harvard Business School, wrote a description in a book called “Marketing For Growth” that said….
“Marketing is all the exhilarating big things and all the troublesome little things that must be done in every nook and cranny of the entire corporate organization in order to achieve the purpose of attracting and holding a customer”
Think of it this way…. anything within your operation that interacts with or influences the decision of a customer is an aspect of marketing that you need to pay attention to.
It is the neglect or oversight of the many troublesome little things that hurts every business from the one-person home based business to the more established firm, from part time to full time operations. Below are question drawn from workshops and teleconferences held in the past that you should find interesting and educational
Q. What is the main reason people buy or is it always price?
A. Price alone rarely succeeds.What do people buy? – Benefits! Real or perceived, all of us make a purchase because some how we feel we will benefit from it. We will be more productive, healthier, more attractive, make more money. Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon said it best when he was quoted “My factories produce lipstick, I sell hope”.
How well do you understand and communicate those benefits? Does you audience clearly understand the answer to their most important question? WIIFM … What’s In It For Me? What benefits am I going to gain from doing business with you?People don’t buy from you because you are the biggest, oldest, newest, they buy because you have been able to communicate to them what benefits they will receive from you. That can be your competitive edge, because few firms communicate their “benefits” well. One of those “benefits” is how customer friendly are you? Are you easy to do business with?
Think about the interaction customers and prospects have when they call your business-
• Is your phone answered quickly?
• Is it answered with a voice, manner and reply that pleases or irritates?
• Do you return calls quickly?
• Do you use voice mail, is there a way to get to a human voice quickly or do you need a degree from MIT to understand your system and the patience of a saint to use it?
And that’s only the beginning of how just the telephone can affect your business. There are a myriad of little troublesome things within you marketing and management operations you can improve immediately and usually with little or no cost.
Q. What steps can you take to keep customers from leaving you?
A. A feeling of being treated with indifference is the number one reason for customer defections. Do you have a formalized customer retention program? Did you know it costs 5 times as much to get a new customer as it does to keep the ones we have. Yet more than 90% of firms who have worked hard to get a customer, start neglecting them almost as soon as they get them, because their focus is on the horizon for the next new client. You need to —
• Communicate with customers at least 4 times a year
• Conduct a survey (3rd party) to measure their satisfaction
• Constantly be asking how you can be more helpful
• Be proactive rather than reactive.
Whether you are a retailer, manufacturer, service company or even a professional you need to look for ways you can do things that will help your customers.
Some examples …
A jeweler who complains that he has 2 hours of down time every afternoon between 2:30 and 4:30 in which he is twiddling his thumbs. He should look at this as an opportunity to spend 10 hours per week to strengthen existing customer relationships simply by calling them to see how satisfied they were with their last purchase, see if they have any important “gift” events coming up soon, offer personalized shopping during these “down” hours and more.
Nothing is more irritating to request information at a trade show and then either never gets it or receives it 60-90 days later. Too often trade shows leads are not followed up within 30 days or less, if at all. A firm should get a software program that tracks every lead, its activity and incorporate an incentive program with a telemarketing effort which guarantees that every lead is fulfilled and followed through until its long-term value is determined.
An entrepreneur is “Someone who gave up working 40 hours a week for someone else
so they could work 80 hours a week for themselves.”
Being an entrepreneur is not easy the pressures of running a business often make one wonder why they ever started one. Next week we are going to cover whatyou can do to improve your customer service and differentiate yourself from your competition.
Smart Marketing … for Small Business is designed to be helpful to everyone from the established business to the aspiring entrepreneur. It is most effective if you communicate to us those areas you are interested in having us comment on and provide you some guidance
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Les is CEO of Philadelphia based Smart Marketing Group a creative strategy firm focused on showing clients on how to outthink, not outspend their competition. Smart Marketing … for Small Business is based on his 50 years of experience, expertise in the marketplace. (www.smartmarketinggroup.com) E-mail him your question at smartmarketing4U@aol.com.