Customer Love is Good Business
The eMail messages in response to my thoughts on corporate love keep rolling in. There are two general themes expressed so far.
First , that it is too idealistic to execute in the real world, but we should at least keep trying because it is the right thing to do. As you might guess, I believe it is the right and moral thing to do. It is also good business. My premise is that if we care deeply about our customers as individual people, we will be more effective at serving their needs, at delivering value that they want and will pay a premium price to get. That is the promise of contextual marketing. Because it is good marketing, we should be guiding our companies in this direction.
Second, several of you are saying: “Good idea, Dale. But marketing cannot get that personal until it reaches the individual sales rep who is talking with an individual customer.” What this tells me is that you have not yet seen how one-to-one marketing communications is becoming a reality. Mass marketing has great difficulty in delivering “corporate love” in anything but high-level corporate ad and pr messages. But mass marketing is not where the future is headed. Personalized, one-to-one contextually relevant messaging is where it is all headed.
Let me share a hypothetical example for how you can use marketing communications to get down to the individual level where you can demonstrate to customers that you care about them. This is an example of using your website to listen to individual customers and respond to them in a more contextually relevant manner … one that shows your love.
1. You conduct an online survey in your customer eNewsletter and on your website to discover the major kinds of pains your customers are dealing with.
2. Then post a promotion with multiple offers that address or reveal each of the major pains that your customers might be experiencing … offer a series of whitepapers or checklists that help them in achieving these primary objectives. Each offer is on a different pain. When they select an offer they are telling you which pain is most pressing to them at that time.
3. Be helpful before you try to convince them that your product is the best thing since sliced bread.
4. Capture which offers they select and record this information in the customer profile.
5. Eventually this profile reveals their needs or interests and you can focus additional marketing resources that are contextually relevant to helping the customer, on building trust and mutual respect and eventually on winning the customer … all because you cared enough to go the extra mile in helping (in loving) the customer.
Compare this contextual marketing with traditional marketing. A lead gen mailer is sent out, the prospect replies and your sales rep calls for an appointment to tell them how wonderful your company is. No listening. No customizing. Because the attitude is the customer is there to serve the company.