What do we mean?
Most advertising is wasted, even the good stuff. How many times do you skip the ads when you are watching television? How many of you actually pay for ad free services? Building customer loyalty is generally wasted – the usual measure of customer loyalty is now only 13%. Most conversations about our products or services are out of our control. Nowadays, 2/3 of our marketing is done by our customers, according to Mark Shaefer’s book Marketing Rebellion, recently showcased by Mark himself at the excellent You Are The Media event in Bournemouth.
We are still using technology as a way of blasting information at our customers in the fond hope that maybe 1% will buy. Are we seriously happy that the plethora of “information” will annoy the other 99%?. We’ve already established that annoyed people tell 19 of their friends whereas satisfied people tell only 7. Smart! Of 100 people you have mailed, the one buyer may tell 7, the other 99 could tell up to 1881. It won’t be that bad, but you get the picture.
In a personalised world, we must think of our customers as a multitude, not a mass. Individuals with individual needs and experiences. Think of it as though you are appearing on TV, or the radio or doing a podcast. Whilst you have an audience of many, for each listener or viewer, you are talking just to them. That doesn’t mean you have a different message for each one, you simply need to talk conversationally, as though to just one person.
Conversations are what 2/3 of your customers are doing in marketing your business without you being there. Yes, 2/3 of your marketing is occurring without you, and out of your control. Traditional advertising, pushing content to people, won’t work. If you’ve had a conversation with them, then the conversations (word of mouth or social media posts) they’ll have about you will reflect the empathy and warmth you shared with them. Empathy implies understanding, which means listening. Make sure your antennae are turned on – don’t bombard, ask. Find out what your customers are using as work arounds or hacks and fix them. It’s one of the easy innovation wins – it’s here.
End of control
This means you don’t have control over your marketing anymore. Your customers are in charge. That’s great. Instead of having to dream up something they might like and shout at them until some buy it, all you have to do is ask them, and give them what they want. No big sales funnels to manage, no big marketing and adverting bills to pay. Get into the customer space, be curious, be empathetic, be…interested! Aren’t you keen to find out from customers what they want and would buy from you?
No sales scripts! Conversations. Don’t let your agenda get in the way. Don’t let your internal bureaucracy inhibit your focus on ensuring that your customers are heroes of their stories. They have never been interested in your story and you need to wake up before your customers drift off to a competitor who realises that. Customer tune in to station WIIFM – What’s In It for Me?
Your internal procedures should ONLY be designed to serve your customers quickly and effectively. Stop worrying about possible loss by that one in a million unscrupulous customer, who will take advantage of you by exploiting your good nature, and start focussing on enthusing more people to join in with you. Sometimes you might take a hit, but it’s offset many times over by the good.
The last take away from the event is the need to create powerful moments, preferably throughout the customer experience, but certainly at the end. The example Mark used (courtesy of Chip and Dan Heath) was Disneyworld. Customers rated their experience throughout the day. Buying expensive tickets, waiting in long lines – they scored a 1 or a 2, meeting Mickey was a 9, favourite rides a good 7, and the parade and fireworks at the end, another 10. Hour by hour, it averaged 6, but when customers were asked at the end of the day for an overall satisfaction score, it was 9. Opportunities to annoy were inevitable throughout the experience, but were overcome by opportunities to delight. And they kept the peak moment, the lasting memory until the end of the day.
Another key moment is the moment of truth – not when your customer buys your product, but when they use it.
How will you create moments like that, and how can you influence those moments if you are not present, like when they use your product?