The “customer experience” —is it tops on your priority list?

Now more than ever, companies/organizations must place a high priority on gauging their customers’ experience with them.  And I mean the TOTAL experience —all touch points from sales, customer service, usage of product or service to post-sales and tech support.  It must begin with upper management’s commitment and it needs to be filtered throughout the organization. 

How many instances can you think of where you might have had a problem with a product such as a PC and you had to deal with a tech rep to solve the problem?  Did you have a good experience or was it a nightmare? And after the incident, did you tell a bunch of your friends?  Or, did you post your experience online?

 In today’s world, companies cannot afford to leave a bad taste in any customer’s mouth.  Take for instance the true story of an aggravated customer of a cable (TV service) provider….

This person was getting the runaround trying to get a tech out to his home for service.  He was so enraged with the lack of service, that he started a blog called ” (Cable Co. name) must die!”   The very next day, he received a call from the cable company (who obviously is monitoring the web for  publicity) and they immediatley sent out a repair tech.  This cable company knew damn well that they could not afford to have the power of viral marketing damage their reputation —in fact, no one can especially in these tough economic times. 

The lesson to be learned is simply, to be one of the leading companies in your industry and perhaps even survive this economic crisis, you must analyze and monitor all the possible touch points your firm has with your customers.  Make sure everyone in your organization knows how crucial any communication is, and that they must do everything possible to ensure a pleasant and positive customer experience. …make your customers rave about you and your business will thrive!

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Back to Basics: The Marketing Concept still Rules

Today more than ever, successful marketers will follow the principals found in Theodore Levitt’s “Marketing Concept”.  I was introduced to Mr. Levitt’s concept while a marketing major at Northeastern University back in the early 1980’s. 

For those who are unfamiliar with Mr. Levitt’s work, “The Marketing Concept” is simply put as “your product/service offering should be geared towards what the customer WANTS, not what YOU THINK they want.  Back in those days, and even today, some companies are engineering driven —meaning …if we build it…they will come.  NO MORE. 

Now, new product development needs to be customer-focused on fullfilling a need or in the iPod/iPhone case creating a gotta-have-it….they really don’t need it, THEY WANT IT!  So, how do you know what your customers/prospects need or want?  ASK THEM..they’ll be glad you did.  

With the rapid explosion of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.) and adding your own microsites and Wiki’s, you can hone your R & D and marketing research efforts with these low-cost and powerful communication tools.

Although today’s marketing and communication channels are undergoing rapid change, one thing will always remain constant and that is successful businesses/organizations listen to their target market and give them what they desire…and they strive to make the TOTAL customer experience better than their competition.

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Tips for Improving marketing ROI

Greetings!  Here are a few tips to improve your marketing ROI.

 

Tip 1:  Keep testing your landing pages – make them relevant to your

             offer or search terms!

 

In addition to testing the creative elements (copy/design) and offer on your landing

pages, making the pages more relevant to your audience can have a big impact

on conversion rates.

 

According to a recent Marketing Sherpa survey of marketers, 68.2% of those

who tested “altering landing pages dynamically depending on offers or search terms”

reported that their conversions were “definitely better” after implementation.  According

to the survey, linking to a landing page with a search term was the single most effective

tactic for improving conversions.  Out of the 3,451 marketers surveyed, only 3% are

already automatically generating landing pages when specific items are searched for.

 

 

 

Tip 2:  Create Direct mail – to Web applications

           

Direct mail lists are still the “king” when you are looking to pinpoint your

direct response marketing.  “Cold” email solicitations just do not measure up –the lists

are not as targeted, and most messages are deleted and treated as “spam”.  If you are

looking for a way to reduce mail costs, then one solution is a “web driver” approach.

 

Creating simple direct mail packages that drive responses directly to the web

have several advantages.  First of all, they cost less.  The direct mail piece is primarily

creating excitement and giving the recipient a reason to check out the offer —the landing

page does the selling.  And, that leads to the second benefit— the low cost variable landing page.  It’s low cost to produce (generally $1000-$3000 if outsourced) and there are no printing/production costs.  Today’s technology allows you to produce 1:to:1 communications based on your database.  For example, in a B-to-B application, the landing page can be personalized by industry segment or by purchase history.  In a B-to-C application, the landing page can be personalized by demographics. 

  

Tip 3: Lift Conversion with Personalized URL’s

            Personalized URL’s in a direct mail piece is a powerful device in reaching your consumer. Advertisers can expect to see a 20% lift, in fact, on conversion by implementing personalized URL’s (or PURL’s) according to a MarketingSherpa study.

            When a consumer receives a piece of direct mail, postcard or an email, they are driven to their own customized landing page via their PURL. So how does this work? When the PURL is entered into a browser the database is triggered and will then serve a landing page for this specific consumer based on that unique URL. The consumer is given a direct, and personalized, communication that requires little or no effort on their part. The customization evokes a sense of comfort with the consumer prompting them to respond. Furthermore, the more simplified the consumer process, the higher the response. Utilizing this method increases the advertiser’s conversion performance dramatically.

            PURL’s are also powerful in aggregating valuable data. The respondent’s behavior will be in invaluable, as you have captured information that can be helpful in understanding how your services are viewed to a consumer as well as individual consumer data.  

Always tailor your PURL’s based on these learning’s in order to continue increasing your conversion and response rate.

 

Tip 4: Harness the Power of Social Media

 

            According to MarketingSherpa’s recent February statistics 46% of firms have not accepted and adapted to social media, citing a lack of understanding as their main reason for their leisurely approach to involvement. Social Media has been paving the way for itself over the course of the past few years. As the channel evolves in leaps and bounds and economic downturn is just the sort of spark to ignite the blaze. More and more companies are cutting back on their budgets in response to more and more consumer’s uncertainty in the current economic climate. Both are consequentially spending less. Consumers are more cynical than ever. So how does a company maintain, and even expand, its consumer base and ultimately sales during a recession?

Social Media and Guerilla Marketing tactics allow companies and brands to effectively communicate with their audience. They also, when effectively harnessed, allow for an increase in their consumer base in the most efficient way the web has seen. Having and honest and public conversation with your consumers will fuel brand ambassadorship, igniting trust and furthermore loyalty. Allowing consumers to voice their concerns, issues and generally engage with the brand creates a direct line of trust. In years past this sort of dialogue could not be obtained or purchased. The savvy marketer understands that these conversations are currently happening all around them and they can authentically join in or continue to struggle with budget cuts and consumer’s ability to publicly rant or rave about their company or brand.

 

 

Tip 5: Fine tune your Pay Per Click Campaigns

            As you know, Pay Per Click advertising is one of the most cost effective ways to target sales via the internet. Countless advertisers seek this tactic due to the highly appealing nature off allowing an advertiser to only pay when their ad is clicked. For this reason, many advertisers manage their own PPC campaigns. However, creating and maintaining an efficient and effective PPC campaign requires a breadth of research and skill.

            Keyword selection requires more than just selecting words that relate to your industry and services. Avoid doing so, as it can easily return irrelevant clicks that may increase site traffic but ultimately do not return valid inquiries. This translates to a wasted budget. Be cautious when selecting the number of keywords you are bidding on. Quantity is not quality in matters of PPC. Select only well researched and relevant keywords.

            Ensure that you have written engaging copy. What is normally considered as engaging copy in the marketing world does not necessarily translate to the confining limitations of a PPC ad. A professional or firm can guide you as to what is enticing and will generate action in this specific marketplace.

            Pay close attention to your Click Through Rate! Monitor your campaign, as a slight variation can greatly impact its performance. One of the biggest mistakes an advertiser will make is launching a PPC campaign and letting it sit, without consistently analyzing and optimizing based on performance. Allow the campaign to ramp up after changes are made and closely monitor the impact of the changes. Give the modifications you’ve made enough time to settle and confirm their actual impact, then analyze.

Many factors contribute to your overall PPC campaign performance: the relevance of the keyword, how well your copy is tailored to this audience and the consistent analysis of your campaign. Be sure to consider all of these factors when engaging in and fine-tuning a PPC campaign. As always, practice makes perfect.

           

 

PURLS:

Frank Hudetz of Solar Communications reports a 33 percent lift in pURL campaigns.

Marketing Sherpa. May 7th, PURL’s can increase conversion 20%

 

 


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