June 10, 2015
Becoming a better marketer is just like anything else: if you want to get better at it, you have to practice. However, unlike an athlete, we’re not talking about training a muscle to get stronger, be faster, or throw farther. Yes, the concept is the same, but we are talking about marketing and that means creating better content to catch the eye of your audience, generate interest, and creating brand loyalty in your product. So what is it that we do? We turn to the experts.
If you Google “marketing experts,” right away you get hit with a tidal wave of information from business publications featuring their top ten picks of marketing experts you should follow. In fact, the top two listings are from Forbes.com where author Joshua Steimele selects his top 10 for the years 2014 and 2015, respectively. However, in these listings you’ll notice one key feature: the lists don’t present the same person twice. Why is that?
Aside from the obvious of each being an article to help create publicity for different individuals every year, look at a more obvious answer: there are many so-called experts for you to choose from – and rightly so.
The experts listed in these articles are no doubt masters of their craft, and Joshua Steimele includes them to grab your interest in hearing what they have to say about their experience in the marketing world. After all, if you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best – it’s the timeless truth of conventional wisdom. However, they are not the only ones you should be listening to when it comes to improving your craft as a marketing genius. Instead, consider the one expert that is often overlooked: the customers you serve.
How the Customer is Your Best Expert
Your customers are a direct reflection of your marketing ability. Businesses who know their customer base, and who remain in touch with what their customer’s desire are the ones who most often succeed in retaining them. Thus, it’s important that you rely on them as your No. 1 expert regarding your business and marketing strategies.
Don’t push aside the responsibility of asking your customers what they want. Yes, reading white papers on better marketing techniques and pouring over behavioral data like website analytics help you be a better marketer, but they do not replace the customer. Be honest with yourself and admit that it’s the customer who defines you and that begins with how you see them. Do you serve them, or do they serve you?
Keeping the Customer as Part of the Experience
One company that effectively demonstrates this type of marketing strategy in improving its content is Starbucks. It is able to consistently reinvent its brand with success to garner new customer attention, while retaining customer loyalty. The reason? Starbucks build its entire business around the customer experience; the content it creates is customer centric. That doesn’t come from reading expert opinions on white papers; it comes from keeping the customer engaged in the product that Starbucks is as a brand.
It’s a strategy that permeates its entire business model, from retail stores, to corporate operations, to social media campaigns. Starbucks understand it is selling more than just a transaction, it is selling a “third place” – a community where consumers can enjoy themselves away from the confines of home and from the hustle and bustle of work – and unlike their competitors, Starbucks is able remain relevant with consumers because so much attention is given to customer feedback. An example of this successful marketing strategy is the company’s website, My Starbucks Idea: a place where customers chat and brainstorm new ideas to help make Starbucks the best in its market and Starbucks considers each idea by actually responding to those requests. This is why it remains so successful.
As Huffington Post’s Rachel Tepper explains in an a 2013 interview with branding expert, Priya Raghubir, the company’s intense brand loyalty is due to its success in building its business around what its target market values as consumers. Thus, it builds its business by listening to what its customers have to say – not just, what they do.
Tips on Listening to Your Customers
Pick Up Your Phone
Nobody likes to be sold over the phone, so remember: that is not what you are doing. You are simply trying to gather information for the service you provide. Be up front, honest, and do not take a lot of your customer’s time. Furthermore, demonstrate that you value their feedback throughout the conversation and follow up with them as you make the changes necessary to better fit their needs. Doing so will help you build a successful relationship with your customers because they know you are listening.
Surveys are valuable resources in getting to know what your consumers are thinking. They tell you the preferences of your audience, your audience’s perceptions and expectations, as well as the impact your content has on decision-making consumer behavior. The trick is knowing when and where to use them such as blogs or digital magazines, product or service content, or e-mail newsletters.
If you are not using social media to engage your customer base, you need to start. There are plenty of platforms to choose from when it comes to picking the right social media resource for your company to interact with your consumer base. Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Twitter all try to help businesses engage their customers in a way that is beneficial to both parties. Successful marketers know this and use it regularly.
Inviting Customer Feedback
No matter your business, you will never find a better expert when it comes to your marketing campaigns than the customer you serve. Paying attention to them is the key to extraordinary success.
Have you ever turned to your customers for advice?
When she’s not exploring her passion for traveling at Findvietnam.com, Alesia Hsiao provides businesses with professionally-written articles that are engaging and compelling for JeffBullas.com, Business2Community, Business.com and Tech.co.