Thursday, December 22, 2011

The customer is always right (here).

          Are marketers paying too much attention to getting new customers and not enough to the customers they already have?

          There's always a cost in converting a non-user to a user. We have to promote, advertise, and use special offers and discounts. We have to sample or give free trials, throw in extras, give gifts with purchase.

           Our present users have already made their decision and it costs far less to keep them. Yet we're always so busy talking about conquest sales and share of market that we tend to take for granted people who already love us.

           It's probably human nature to try to want what we don't have already.  Or get what the other guy has.

           Even so, we should probably spend more time going the extra step to please our present customers. They can leverage their support for us by telling their friends, often in the same target market economically and psychographically. Our present customers can also be persuaded to visit us more often, bring people with them, and spend more when they do.

           Think about the first time you bought something on a new Web site. Once you went through the whole procedure, you felt comfortable navigating the site. You knew the ropes. When your order arrived promptly and in good condition, and you were pleased with it, you didn't have reservations about shopping there again.

          Pete Blackshaw, the author of "Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends", calls that the "lovespot". That "critical moment of experience with a product or a brand that makes positive feedback and word of mouth slide off your tongue like kids off a waterslide."

          When a marketer converts that lovespot into getting users to participate and talk about it online, on a Web site or in social media, they can vastly multiply the good messages about you and your product.

          Blackshaw points out that a marketer has to create those lovespot experiences. Dell did it when they empowered customers to configure their own computers online. They sold $15 million of computers a day and nurtured loyalty. (M&Ms strengthened emotional ties with their customers with their Global Color Vote.)

          Listening, experiences, participation, loyalty, recommendations, sales: the new coda for how to enliven marketing to your customers at a time when attracting new customers on the Super Bowl can cost $3 million for 30 seconds.

         In this economy, everyone can use all the lovespots they can find.

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