30 Jan

Turning Customers Into Evangelists

Going to Florida for a seminar is not really on the books yet, but after having read a fair few articles on the Word of Mouth Associations website it would have been nice.

Although the article itself is not revolutionary, it does focus the attention on something that I think is so often forgotten; turning customers into fans starts with the product.

9 times out of 10 the expectations of marketing are squarly focused on promotions and sales. It would be interesting to calculate the ROI on general promotional activities versus money invested in turning a customer into an advocate.

No, even better, let’s see how much business has been generated from customer referrals and other word of mouth promotion, and how much from general advertising, trade shows etc.

In b2b marketing, I don’t think there is a question about what comes up trumps.
So why don’t we do more with it?

Here are three reasons I can think of:

1. It takes long term thinking; the results pay off in the long term
2. It’s not as visible; no new website, ads or brochures to flash around
3. Based on the two factors above, it is a higher risk strategy for a marketing person.

Solution? Get support from the top first; it’s not a hard sell once you have the numbers.

Word of Mouth Basic Training: Day 2: Turning Customers Into Evangelists

26 Jan

Some data on how much we trust marketers

My last post on customers’ cynical outlook on marketing messages stuck with me and I came across www.womma.org, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

It caught my eye because word of mouth is such a major factor in business to business marketing, and small business marketing in particular. I must say I felt a bit slack for not being aware of this groundswell, until I found out that they freely interchange WOM with viral…and I knew about viral of course.

The association has just had their love-in in Orlando, so there is quite a bit of presentation material, and some interesting research into consumers perception of word of mouth. There is no question in my mind that with the information overload we look for filters to get information on products and services more efficiently.

So is this really the future of marketing? Maybe, maybe not. Let me think this over a little more. And I welcome your thoughts.

24 Jan

Are we really more critical, and cynical as customer?

There is a lot of argument online about the growing sophistication of customers, and how that impacts the way we should be marketing to them.

I just wonder how pervasive, and what evidence actually exists for this argument?

It’s a very logical argument to say that because we are marketed to so heavily we have turned off from traditional marketing messages, but the reality is that the vast majority of products and services are still sold with these traditional messages…

So what does that mean? Maybe it means that this more sophisticated consumer is really only a very small (but very vocal) group that is largely present online…

it could also mean that the market has changed and that traditional marketers are missing out by not tuning there message and channels to this shift.

But what proof is there of either? This is something I’d love to have some comment on.

16 Jan

Managing customers profitably: but how much does it cost?

The concept is not new: not all customers are equal, the 80-20 rule (80% of profits come from 20% of your customers), loyalty, relationships, etc. From what I can see this tends to work really well in two types of organisations; those large enough to have the systems, training and management to develop and implement the right strategy and those small enough to manage this in sales people’s heads.

The challenge lies with the company of that medium size, and they make up a very large chunk of the economy.

They often don’t have the resources to get experts involved in developing the strategy and the systems to support this kind of customer management, but they understand the need.

So a software package is bought at great expense, it is installed and everyone goes back to the way they worked yesterday.

So what can you do?
I believe that it’s more important to get the thinking right first. Understand what you want to do, what you can do (considering the size of your operation) and how you want to do it. And don’t forget to get the people involved first…

You may not even need a new software applications when all is said and done.