Nurturing your marketing advocates
To be competitive, businesses need to focus on efficient production, finance, organizational performance and marketing. Managing these essential components well can lead to sustained profitability.
However, a common refrain in business is, “the customer is the most important person in the business”. This is because, without customers to buy and pay for what your offerings there is no business.
Keeping the customer satisfied is not just the function of the marketing and sales department. For the customer the purchasing experience involves all departments from production to finance and marketing all doing their part to deliver a positive customer experience.
You can increase sales by giving customers an experience that encourages them to be your marketing advocate spreading the word about your offerings through their social and professional networks. This can result in new customers who trust the recommendation of a satisfied customer they know.
The business challenge is in creating positive experiences that customers will naturally promote within their circle of influence. Golf is indeed a contact sport. Stories of the benefits of a product narrated to “contacts” over a round a golf can convince prospective customers within such a niche segment.
Focus on identifying the customers who are most enthusiastic about your business offerings. Invest in cultivating and understanding these enthusiastic customers so they become loyal repeat customers. These customers are the ones who can help to promote your business and encourage new customers to do business with you.
The best way to identify loyal customers is to ask them if they will recommend your product or service to someone else. High growth businesses have a high number of customers who will recommend products and services to others. This happens when the business recognises and acknowledges customer loyalty.
Loyal customers are advocates who can act as a free marketing department of your business. Give information and create opportunities for them to talk up your business to their friends, family and colleagues. A successful car dealership uses the tag line, “Where customers send their friends and family”. The inclination of loyal customers to introduce new customers at no charge to the business can help reduce the cost of marketing to gain new customers.
Building a loyal customer base goes beyond providing customer satisfaction. The true test is in understanding why highly enthusiastic customers will recommend your business to others.
Create a customer feedback program to measure the percentage of customers who will recommend your business. Use this program as an operating management tool to provide excellent service. Reward your team members for increasing the number of loyal customers who return as repeat customers and who recommend your business to others.
There is a story of an Indian beer company that decided to sell their beers through tandoori restaurants in Britain. Initially the beer company suggested to the restaurant owners that they recommend the beers when taking meal orders. Instead of recommending the beers the restaurant owners placed beer bottles on the tables. As new customers saw the regular customers drinking the beers they too started ordering the beers. The regular customers of the restaurants became the loyal customers of the beer company promoting the beers through their actions. This was indeed a case of actions speaking louder than words.
The cost of marketing to create awareness and outreach to new customers can be greatly reduced by utilising the enthusiasm of loyal customers to promote to family, friends, colleagues and the wider community. Invest in building a team of loyal customers who will advocate for your business and create a path to high growth.
International Business Consultant
Reboot your business plan for sustained high growth
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