Customer Marketing tends to be the focus when things aren’t going too good in a business… is that your experience? Really though, it’s a bit late at that point and harder to achieve the desired results.
So when should customer marketing commence? ..Right at the concept stage of a business, and before any investment in bricks and mortar or equipment, stock, etc, takes place.
Let’s take a look at the fundamentals…
- Customer demand… is there a big enough demand for your product/service to produce and sustain a viable business?
- Location… do your prospects live within the catchment area of your business, or can you economically reach them?
- Presentation… is the appearance of your business one that customers would find acceptable for your type of business?
- Staffing… are your proposed staff numbers sufficient to meet customer requirements and will your staff possess suitable knowledge and be properly trained?
- Stock mix… will you carry the appropriate range of products or services for your type of business, and in sufficient quantity to satisfy demand?
- Procedures… have you arranged your policies for setting pricing, payment options, credits, refunds, replacements, specials, lay-by requirements?
Well that’s most, not all, of the boring things that you should be in control of before you turn to what is generally considered to be marketing… the clever, attention grabbing, wow-the-customer strategies that promise to stack money in your bank account!
But you can’t stop yet until this is done…
Hold it! Before you run your advertising or dash off to your printer… what is it you want your prospect to do?
If you don’t clearly know what you want your customer to do… how will they know what to do? Will you invite them to visit your premises.. do you want them to telephone you.. fill in a coupon or form.. give you their contact details..?
With solving their current problem in mind you can now construct an advertisement or printed promotional material that details how you will achieve their desired result, and exactly how they should respond to your invitation to do that.
Do you take advantage of past secrets?
Don’t be fooled by all the wonder schemes that promise to bring vast wealth by divulging to you “new” ideas! There are only two areas to be concerned with…
First… Marketing Strategies. Despite the sheer number of gurus offering the latest and greatest marketing ideas, the reality is that nothing has changed over the last few hundred years! Rather than spend heaps of money, almost everything you need to know is already in print, and has been for the past 100 years!
This is so because the basic needs of humans doesn’t change… we still all need food, clothing, shelter, love and a range of other emotional and physical requirements… just like our ancestors.
Second… Marketing Techniques. Here we do find change as we adapt to the constant development of aids and technology… from the peak days of printed advertising, then telephones, telex, fax, and the internet which has itself spawned a number of opportunities. But these only work because of the predictability of good old human, standard issue desires and needs, as mentioned above!
So work on the basics, understand your prospects or customers and then select the most appropriate and effective means of guiding them to the solution you can provide to their problems… Tell them about it, and you are marketing to your customers.