Thursday, December 30, 2010

Use Surprise To Wow Your Customers

Customers come and, all too often, go. If you want to keep your customers coming back time and time again, give them a surprise. When you do something unexpected that wows them, they'll not only keep returning, they'll recommend you to their friends--a great way to grow a solid customer base.

The surprise you give your customers doesn’t have to be a big one. In fact, it’s the small touches that resonate with meaning, that make them feel like their order is more than just another job on your list. In fact, it was a little thing that sparked this idea for me. We got a Christmas card from Ed Plante Auto Detailing last year. The card wasn’t anything special, but there was a surprise inside that made it stand out from all the other business associates’ holiday greetings we received: he included a picture of our family SUV taken after his last detailing. In other words, he surprised us with a small, personal touch that made us feel just a tiny bit special.

When you do a little something extra like Ed did, you acknowledge your customer as a friend, as someone whose good feelings toward you warrant particular attention. The picture itself wasn’t any big deal either, but, as your mother always said, it’s the thought that counts.

The main factor to keep in mind is that what you do needs to be slightly out of the ordinary, something the customer doesn’t expect. That means it doesn’t have to occur at the point of service; in fact, surprises work really well when they come later, after the customer has started to forget the last time they did business with you. Secondly, the surprise should have a personal angle to it. If it’s something you do for every customer, like the book store clerk who automatically puts a bookmark in the bag with every order, it’s not going to prompt anybody to give it a second thought.

Different kinds of businesses present all sorts of opportunities to give customers great surprises. The picture Ed sent was of our clunky old family SUV with a fresh wax job. Can you imagine what kind of impact an unexpected picture of an auto restyler customer’s tricked-out rides would have? Those customers’ cars mean a lot or they wouldn’t be spending money on them. To the auto shop customer, getting a picture of his car is like getting a picture of his kids—maybe better!

Dave Donelson, author of The Dynamic Manager's Guide To Marketing & Advertising: How To Grow Sales And Boost Your Profits a for and

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Marketing Pros Praise The Dynamic Manager's Guide To Marketing & Advertising

Another marketing professional offered a positive Amazon review of The Dynamic Manager's Guide To Marketing & Advertising this week.

GraceW wrote:
I worked in financial services and marketing for 30 years. I wish I had a book like this when I first embarked on my marketing career. Mr. Donelson offers some clear and concise practices to encourage success in a sales/marketing position regardless of the industry. His writing style is crisp, yet full of energy.
Click here to read the entire review.

Dave Donelson, author of The Dynamic Manager's Guide To Marketing & Advertising: How To Grow Sales And Boost Your Profits a for and

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Marketing To Your Best Customers

Want to get to know your best customers better? Do a little above-board sleuthing. Compile your best customers’ street addresses from credit card records, phone numbers, delivery destinations, etc. Plot them on a map and look for clusters of them. Good marketers know that birds of a feather flock together; similar people tend to live in similar neighborhoods. Once you’ve figured out where your best customers live, you can look for other birds of that feather—they’re your best new prospects.

Now drive through those neighborhoods. Guesstimate the value of the homes and look at the cars there to get a rough idea of income. Check for kids and/or their bikes, swing sets, and sports equipment (or lack thereof) to get an idea of their parents’ ages. Don’t limit your surveillance to weekdays, either. Take a few minutes on the weekend to drive through to see how many residents are doing their own yard work or washing their own cars. These things will also tell you a lot about their lifestyle. The more you know about your best customers, the better marketing decisions you will make.

If you are a business-to-business marketer, your research job is actually a little easier. You probably have fewer (but bigger) transactions with fewer customers than someone who sells to the general public, which simplifies your data-gathering. What may complicate it, though, is the tendency for businesses to have multiple decision-makers in their buying processes. Don’t be daunted by the details, though—just gather data on one person at a time until you’ve got a clear picture of who they are and what their role is.

You may also think that personal information like education and lifestyle choices aren’t relevant to business buyers since their job is to make rational, profit-oriented purchases. Nothing could be further from the truth. Corporate buyers are people, too, and they allow plenty of emotion to influence their decisions. In fact, a personal, human reaction to a vendor’s marketing approach may be the only factor that separates two competitors. The more you know about that business-to-business customer as a person, the greater your chances of tipping their decisions in your favor.

So, before you make any decisions about price, or which products to sell, or what ads to run, take a good hard look at your customers as people. Identifying your best customer takes some work. The end result, though, is marketing that works better, costs less, and generates greater profits.

Dave Donelson, author of The Dynamic Manager's Guide To Marketing & Advertising: How To Grow Sales And Boost Your Profits a for and