Brand Building through Customer Loyalty

In business we often talk about branding and how to capture customer loyalty over the competitors and there is two major ways that this can be done; one is branding the product itself, the other is branding the company.  When it comes to branding a product you need to do something that makes a product that is similar to the competition stand out. For example, zip lock potato chips; the product is the same but the packing is unique;  you need something that differentiates your product from the competitors.  The other option is branding your company itself; companies that have various products often go this route in order to create customer loyalty to the company as a brand; they do this so that when they gain a customer’s loyalty it is not simply for one product but for the company overall.  When you are shopping if you are loyal to Johnson & Johnson, they make hundreds of products, so you may purchase a variety of products simply because you trust this brand. Continue reading

Without Customer Service, Sales are irrelevant

If you have ever spent any time in the operations side of a company than you know that every meeting the topic of sales comes up; and it should because without sales there aren’t any customers, and obviously without customers there isn’t a business. If anyone has ever seen the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross than you have probably heard the sales acronym ABC – Always Be Closing. It’s true no matter how many customers you have, no matter how much money you’ve made as an organization you are only as good as your last quarter, so you always need sales, you always need to be closing. Continue reading

Do you understand your customer?

In my  many years of doing business I have come to the conclusion that many companies do not understand their customers’ needs  and one might ask themselves how that is possible; how can you be in business and not understand what drives your customers needs?  It is absolutely essential that a company is able to understand and identify what their customer’s’ needs are.  I have found that one of the biggest issues is that with the technology that is available today that the customer has dramatically changed, the problem is the mentality of many companies has not. Continue reading

Give your clients what they need, not what they want.

I was sitting at my desk working on my second cup of coffee while listening to a customer drone on and on about what they wanted from an upcoming marketing campaign.  I listened as they went through their long list of expectations and what they thought they were going to accomplish.  Once they got it all out, I took a sip of my coffee, took a deep breath and crushed the majority of their expectations.  They did not have much of a clue as to how the marketing campaign they were considering doing worked.

This is not unusual in marketing, in fact is it very common.  Most clients and prospects come to the table with an expectation of what they want, yet most of them don’t really understand the mechanics of the marketing program they are getting involved in.  They are not an expert in this area, you are, and that is why they came to you in the first place right?  That being said, the old adage “give the client want they need, not what they want” applies.  As a business if we were to give every client what they wanted, we would not have very many satisfied customers.  Now that might sound strange, but in my experience most clients that are looking to do any type of marketing usually have a predetermined expectation of what their marketing campaign is going to do for them.  As a marketing expert it is my job to create a successful campaign for my clients, and to create a campaign that is going to serve the needs of their business, not their imagination.  I am the expert; they are not, so the task of educating them and giving them what they need is laid on me.

Many marketing professionals just go with the flow and give their clients lip service to make them happy, and make promises that they cannot keep, and in not correcting the thought process of a clients expectations these professionals are in effect lying to them, even if they didn’t directly make any promises, the fact that they allowed the client to entertain certain expectations they have indirectly lied to them.  I am a firm believer that it is our job as the professionals to manage those expectations, to educate our clients and prospects so that they understand exactly what to expect, and what not to expect, so that they are going into this with their eyes open.  Does this ever cause us to lose business?  Sure it does, but I would rather lose a deal and have the client walk away feeling like we just saved them from wasting a lot of money than taking their money and creating an unhappy customer whose expectations were not met.  The former will come back to you in spades and creates good will and shows that you are a knowledgeable professional who is not just trying to “close the deal”.