Archive for July, 2009

The Customer is Always Right

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Too often it seems that businesses view marketing as the advertising and promotions that they run. This is a narrow view of the function, and can result in devastating consequences to the amount of business that is conducted.

It seems that many businesses forget that the oldest and most central marketing theme always has been and always will be customer service. The saying “The customer is always right” should not be interpreted to mean that each individual customer gets what ever they want if they complain enough, but rather that you should listen to your customers.

I recently visited a business who’s policies greatly restricted the customer’s experience. There seemed to be no real rhyme or reason for the policies, though front line employees sited security and safety reasons.

The point is that the policies and procedures composed and implemented by finance managers or the legal department can have a great impact on how customers interact with and perceive your company. Cost/benefit analysis (whether formal or informal) should include intangibles that can effect the level of business you conduct.

One of those factors is perception. The founding idea of branding. How do people see, think, and feel about this business? So before sending out that memo, ask yourself “Is this policy in line with our brand? Does it help to reinforce our mission and core values?” If the answer to these questions is an unequivocal yes, then send away. Send it multiple times. Create a new division in the company to ensure that the policy is followed.

Just remember, that if your customers don’t like it, then get rid of it… they’re right.

What are you missing when it comes to advertising?

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

An incredibly fundamental aspect of marketing and advertising that many companies miss, whether they are B2B or B2C, is consistency. Too many people let their fluctuations in budget elsewhere in the company alter their marketing plans significantly.

If money is not flowing all you are doing by slashing your advertising and marketing budget is breaking the faucet. If your message is out there rain or shine then you can make money rain or shine. But what do you do when revenues fall and you can’t afford what you were spending on marketing and advertising anymore? The answer to that is simple. Do more with less.

Find an advertising agency that is willing to work with you on their hourly rate for creative. Ask them to get more creative/aggressive with your ad placement to mitigate costs (a lot of media outlets these days are hurting just like you are and will get your ad out there for a lot less than you might expect), and focus your messages on a specific call to action rather than brand awareness.

Think about it, you know it to be true. When you see ads on TV these days you see restaurants with specific low cost menu items mentioned, car commercials that don’t just tell you the car exists and how much it is, but have specific time frames to to get the car at slashed prices. This works in B2B as well. Let your client base know you understand they are hurting and that you are willing to work with them. Get an e-mail blast out there, make some press releases, etc…

In the end you will have more incoming revenue and reduced marketing costs in the lean times than your competition that panicked and shut down all spending.

You can thank me later.