Articles Tagged ‘Customers’

Consumer, Consumer, Where Art Thou?

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Gone are the days when you could tell the customer what to read, think or buy. The customer has his/her ideas about everything including what and where to buy. They aren’t listening to us very much.

Case in point: many businesses are putting their newspaper ads on Facebook–you know the discount ads. When these are put on Facebook, they interrupt the customers dialog with their friends. If you want to know what to put on Facebook, look at what gets the most comments. Every time I see an advertisement I just skip over it. There seem to be so many bogus offers that I’m not into looking at any of them even if they look interesting.

The advertising channels are going through a reincarnation; it’s not that consumers don’t care what you sell, they’ve changed how they want to connect with you. The online marketing is about engagement and the traditional marketing is about ‘here we are’, look at us. The most important distinction is the customer and how they want to build their connections with businesses. Customers want to talk with each other about their lives, not about what products to buy. Are you surprised?

If they’re looking for a product they’ll ask their friends. Where I live we have an online conversation called ‘The Hudson Park List.’ People comment about local street problems, missing cats and ask for advice about contractors etc. This is the best place to look for an electrician or a plumber; it’s our own Angie’s List. It’s much better than looking through the classified sections.

Despite the fact that newspaper reading is down, magazine subscriptions are up and talk radio is is growing. I read that 40% of Americans now listen to audio on digital devices and it’s projected to double by 2015. I am one of those talk radio fans. I remember when I was very young, my parents listening to talk radio at night to fall asleep. Little did I know, that 50 years later I would be falling asleep to the same thing! With the advent of blog talk, there are more radio shows than ever. It seems that everyone has something to say and they want the world to hear it. My favorite is the repeats of Car Talk out of Boston.

It really is difficult to reach customers unless they want to be reached. In fact, the statistics are quite staggering.
◦200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the FTC’s “Do not call list.”
◦86% of people skip the television ads.
◦91%of email users have oversubscribed from a company email that they previously opted into. This is important for us bloggers!
◦44% of direct mail is never opened.

The number of smart phones is staggering; 46% of consumers in this country have smart phones. Mobile networks are clogging up the airways. Emergency 911 numbers have not been allowing text messages up until recently. Several states have decided that texting should be allowed. Often times an accident victim can’t speak on their phone but might be able to text. Accident victims have been posting their help messages on Twitter and 911 was asking them to not do it. It was slowing down their response time. After Twitter, 911 still had to be called.

65% of people surveyed believe that social media is better than call centers. There was one case where a person had complained to UPS and couldn’t get any satisfaction. Instead of continuing to feel ignored, the customer wrote a note on Twitter. Apparently within 2 hours the problem was resolved .

The idea is to decide who are your customers and what are you trying to achieve with your marketing? Why not bring your video camera every time you step out of the house and see if there’s anything your customer might like to see. You might find something that would be useful for your newspaper ad or your social media.

How about taking your television commercial and put it on YouTube or your Facebook page? You may want to shorten it into several minute clips instead of one 5 minute clips. When your taping your television clip, think about how you might use it on social media.

Lisbeth helps businesses build loyal relationships with their customers through customer service training and social media. She can be reached for training or speaking at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service can be purchased on her web site, www.lisbethcalandrino.com.

Lisbeth Calandrino
Fabulous Floors
Associate Publisher & Director of Consumer Research
lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com

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R.I.P. – Don’t Be a Small Business Statistic

Monday, March 21st, 2011

In my seemingly bustling town of Brownsburg, Indiana, I’ve seen many businesses close up shop in the last year or so. Some were service businesses, and others were retail establishments. I don’t know the details of each individual situation and why they made the decision to close, but as a marketer, I can’t help but say to myself, “I wish I could’ve done something…” or “they should have done this…”

I know the reality that half of all new/small businesses fail. Some are swallowed up by competiton with greater marketing dollars. Some just don’t provide great customer service or have a product that people want to buy. Some were born from great ideas, but didn’t gain enough of a following to sustain the business.

As a small business owner or professional, how do you keep your company from becoming a part of this statistic?

1. Listen to your customers. Survey your potential customers and make sure there is a need in the marketplace for your product or service, or if they are happy with your company, and why or why not. This could be as simple as asking your current customers in a quick email or phone call, or even asking family or friends. Doing a little market research will help you understand the market needs and how to tailor your business offerings and/or service for success. Remember – needs change, so do this every once and a while, especially if you’ve been in business a while. You may discover an unmet need that you can use to expand your product offering or extend your brand. And if you’re doing something terribly wrong, wouldn’t you want to know about it? So Ask!

2. Get your name out there. If your customers or potential customers don’t know you exist, how are they going to buy from you? It seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen many companies just open up a store and rely on drive-by traffic to get people in the door. How much business are you leaving on the table because you are not promoting yourself? Yes, marketing is an investment, but you should consider this a monthly expense, just like your office lease or supplies, to keep you in business. Just as in personal finances, despite the risks, if you don’t make the investment in your business, you won’t see the returns.

3. Find more than one way to promote yourself. Along this same line, don’t simply rely on one tactic, such as referrals or advertising in one coupon book, to get new business. With websites, SEO, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email marketing, direct mail, tradeshows, workshops, Google AdWords, newspaper advertising, magazine advertising and more, if you choose at least three or four tactics and create an integrated marketing campaign, I guarantee you’ll see greater results than you would with just one of these tactics alone.

4. Do the right kind of marketing. Many businesses think that throwing a bunch of money into advertising will get them the results they seek, without putting much thought into the ideal places to market, or the right message to market. Put together a list of all of your advertising and marketing options, determine which tactics best fit your target audience, your budget and your time commitment, and go from there. Then adjust your spend and your message based on results so that you’re not wasting your efforts.

5. Learn from others’ mistakes (and your own). Doing the research before starting a business, or expanding your business, or investing in a new marketing tactic, may prevent you from regretting it later. The Internet is a great resource for information, but you can rely on friends and colleagues, a business coach, a consultant or an industry thought leader to give you feedback and advice. If you’ve made a mistake, try to adjust your course and keep on sailing.

Business is cut-throat, and there are no guarantees of success. In some cases, it’s necessary to cut your losses and move on. But my hope is that your business can survive if you use a little intuition, a little guidance from others, and some smart marketing tactics.

Susan Young, President
AimFire Marketing
(317) 858-7669 office/fax
(317) 414-3623 cell
syoung@aimfiremarketing.com
http://www.aimfiremarketing.com

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Your Prospects are Waiting for You!

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Snow stinks, and I hate shoveling. On Tuesday, I saw a teenager walking around the neighborhood with a shovel, soliciting impromptu snow removal jobs.

As I pulled into my garage, he got turned down two doors down, and then won a job at my next door neighbor’s house.

As I sat in my living room, I longed for this kid to scrape his plastic snow remover on my concrete too. I watched him with anticipation, hoping that he would finish quickly so he could come over an aid in my laziness. All I wanted that evening was to give this kid $20 so I could watch him do my work.

The phone rang. My mom called. I got distracted. The kid left without even coming to my house.

I was distraught.

How many of your potential clients are sitting in their offices upset because you neglected to call them with an offer to buy?

Think about it, and then pick up the phone.

Jamar Cobb-Dennard
Vice President of Business Development
reachmore
317.576.8492 ph

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