It’s Marketing 101. Figure out who wants (or should want) your product. Evaluate a full range of integrated marketing techniques. Look at advertising, PR, Direct Mail, Promotion, Event Marketing…you’ve done it 100 times. Segmentation and Targeting. You seek new customers for your hotel, your widget, your professional service firm.
Hooray, you’re now a quintessential marketer! You look forward – you march ahead to the greater tomorrow. You dreamt of the day when you finally captured the all too-elusive millennials.
But wait! You’re forgetting something. You’re forgetting your existing customers, your loyal customers. You know, the ones that have been with you for years?
Did you know that 66% of customers are willing to spend more with brands they perceive have excellent service?
So, marketer, it seems you have a choice: Spend a lot of money chasing down the maybes, or spend less and focus on your existing customers. After all, you know where to find them – in your stores, on your sites and in your databases.
Now, don’t think they are a “sure thing.” They’re not. They’re just an “infinitely more likely thing.” And the sooner you start treating them like prospects again, the quicker you’ll start seeing the ROI (and with exponentially less expenditure than new customer acquisition).
So, how do you market to your existing customers? By getting to know them. No, not each one individually, but the sooner you can identify patterns, or personas as we like to call them, the easier you can adapt and the sooner you will see results.
Here are six common consumer personalities and examples of how to market to each:
1. Aggressive Alan – You’ve met Alan before. He challenges you. He’s done his research, which means he’s also a serious buyer. He wants the best price, the fastest shipping. He wants to understand every product detail before he pulls the trigger. Most marketers confuse Alan with being difficult. He’s actually your least difficult customer. If your team knows their stuff, is familiar with the competitive landscape and can quickly give Alan information and respond with appropriate speed, he will take the least time. But if your staff doesn’t know an answer, don’t try to make it up. Alan will lose confidence very quickly.
2. Passive Penny – By contrast, Penny doesn’t really know what she wants. She wants to be guided, directed to a product that will serve her needs. She wants her hand held in the retail environment, and to be guided around the store, not just directed to the right area. With careful questioning, and demonstrating that you really understand her needs, Penny will purchase the product you suggest.
3. Chatty Cathy – Cathy just wants to be loved. It might be hard to love Cathy right away because you can’t help but wonder why her niece’s ballet recital has anything to do with the 42-inch flat screen she is buying. But Cathy is seeking community. She is in your store because she doesn’t want to buy online, she wants to buy in the community where she lives. Embrace Cathy – she is the antithesis to the showroomer, and if properly indulged, she’ll be back to buy the blu-ray player, and the surround sound. So go ahead, and look at all 32 pictures of the recital. Isn’t Olivia darling?
4. Timeline Tom – Fifty percent of customers feel more comfortable working with customer service representatives that are well versed in their client history. Tom is a firm believer in that rule. He wants you to have information about what he bought last and when he bought it. He wants to be an important part of your data set. He wants to matter. He wants longevity and roots with the brands he does business with. When marketing to Tom for a new purchase, having existing information will be invaluable. “So I see, Tom, that you bought the blu-ray player. You know it would sync perfectly with this LED TV….”
5. Enquiring Emily – Enquiring Emily might seemingly drive your associates crazy at first. She is full of questions (and seemingly disconnected ones). But Emily really wants to learn. She is soaking up knowledge. With a measure of confidence and information, marketing to Emily with solid, crystalized information will make her a loyal customer. If she knows she can get the right information she needs from you, and the ability to ask basic and complex questions alike, she will not only be loyal to you forever, but she is highly likely to tell friends.
6. Doubting Daniel – You’ve burned Daniel before. I know, it’s hard to start a relationship when someone already predicts you will disappoint them. But Daniel also has low expectations. A little kindness, and sticking to your word will earn Daniel’s undying loyalty. But be careful in your dealings with Daniel. Under-promise and over-deliver. Eighty-five percent of customers who leave a brand say they would have stayed if they were handled differently.
Of course there are more personas, but the real lesson here is in need states. Look inside the customer at what is driving them, and from there, talk to them about your products and services.
We all know that a marketing buzzword of the last few years has been “dialogue.” Start a dialogue with your customers. This has largely applied to the proliferation of social media and the way too many brands started just talking to their followers and not really listening.
This of course, is a good start, but if the last five years has been about starting a dialogue with customers online, the next 10 will be about really cultivating those relationships. In an increasingly commoditized business environment, the winners will be the ones who have built relationships so deep, that their customers never want to leave.
Once you’ve mastered retention, you can then go forth and add.