Business owners and marketers may think it quite unfortunate that we live in an age when marketing is as fast paced and complex as it is! Whatever happened to simple marketing? Today, there is is such a long list of marketing jobs to do. On top of that the attention of your customers is being harassed every second, there is an array of communication channels to choose from and tonnes of competing suppliers. Let's consider a few points to help us navigate the world of marketing in 2015.
This may seem like a rather scary piece of information. It means your customers are doing a hell of a lot of research before they make any form of contact with your business. Your existing and potential customers are informed and aware of what they want and need. Today's customers research and assess alternatives. They make enough comparisons to minimise risk. By the time your customers come in store, give you a call or send you an email, they are almost ready to make a decision to buy.
What is marketing when customers are 70% through the buyer process
To improve marketing and sales performance in 2015 it's important to understand how customers get 70% through the buyer process without speaking to the seller. How do they do this? In short, the answer is the internet. Today's customers expect to find you online. They expect a positive user experience. They expect valuable information that will help them quickly assess if your product or service is a match to their specific needs and whether it's worth contacting you. This part is very much about marketing. This is the work of attracting your ideal customers and generating leads. It is about presenting your clearly defined potential customers with everything they need to move towards making a buying decision.
But if customers are 70% of the way through the buyer process, what about the other 30%? At this stage, leads that have been generated need nurturing into a closed sale. Email enquiries need responding to promptly, phone calls need answering, potential customers who come through the door need attending to effectively. And for businesses who offer products and services with perceived competition this last 30% of the way through the buyer process is invaluable. At this stage through the buyer process, if your marketing is on point these will be your ideal customers. It's an opportunity to further educate and inform them and convince them how right you are for them.
What is marketing in a world of information overload?
It's really important for businesses who want to market successfully to understand the customer now has more control. Businesses need to understand how this can impact sales performance in 2015. Your potential customers are informed and aware through the information they find on-line. They are using comparison tools and social media to help them decide what brand, products and services are right for them.
So who are your customers anyway? Have you ever stopped to think about that? Most people I ask this question to say, 'anyone really'. That's not good enough. When you believe that your products or services are for 'anyone really,' your psychology is all wrong. You will create generic products. You will treat everyone the same. You will spew the same message to people who have very different needs. And nobody wants to be treated the same. Everyone wants to feel special, cared for and everyone wants to to be part of a community with similar attitudes and common interests.
Really knowing your ideal customers and concentrating on them only means you will stop trying to please everyone. You will get to know them. You will work out where you need to go to meet them (on and off line). You will work out how to get them to notice you. You will work out how to help these unique groups of people figure out that they need you.
In 2015 you can improve sales performance by tailoring your marketing messages to specific groups of customers and appealing to their unique needs. Refine your marketing messages so you present your offering in a way that appeals to them and only them.
What is marketing to your business in 2015? 10 questions to help you make headway with your marketing in 2015
- Why are your products or services significantly better than your competitions?
- Who are your ideal, most perfect clients?
- What do your ideal customers really need from you?
- Are you marketing messages strong enough to convince your ideal customers to bother? Why should they bother to visit, clicking through, take the trial, contact you or whatever it is you are asking them to do?
- How can you help your ideal customers understand your products or services more?
- Where can you go (on and off line) to meet more people who match your ideal customer criteria?
- Where should you stop going (on and off line) because it does not match with your ideal customer profile?
- What marketing activity should you stop doing because it does not match with your ideal customer profile?
- Since your ideal customers will expect to find you online, what do you need to do to be found on the web?
- What can you do to improve your ideal customers user experience?
Answer these questions to help you focus limited resources on the right customer groups and stop wasting your time on marketing activity that is not right for you anyway.
*I nabbed these statistics from the Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce sales workshop which I attended in December 2014. Thanks to Simon Atack of Ace Tech Training and Andy Collings of Improve Business Performance for further fuelling my interest in the merging worlds of sales and marketing.