Are you happy with the current return on investment for your marketing efforts? Do you find that you are spending more and more each year on your marketing efforts only to realize minimal gains? If so, you may be what is considered a Neanderthal Marketer. Of course we’re not implying that you yourself are an outdated, prehistoric caveman, (or caveperson) however, some of the marketing tactics you employ might be. In Philip Kotler’s book “Kotler on Marketing” he defines a Neanderthal Marketer as a company that employs the following practices;
• Equating marketing with selling
• Emphasizing customer acquisition rather than customer care
• Trying to make a profit on each transaction rather than trying to make a profit managing customer lifetime value
• Pricing based on marking up cost rather than target pricing
• Planning each communication tool separately rather than integrating marketing communication tools
• Selling the products rather than trying to understand and meet the customer’s real needs
While this book was written in 1999 there are still quite a few companies still trying to make fire by rubbing sticks together. Consumers are more informed and more active in the decision making process of their friends and other consumers. Consumers are looking for companies they can trust. There are a lot of choices out there, and it is critical to set yourself apart from the crowd. After all, the customer is king.
Companies that realize this are out there working with their customers to develop new products, to improve existing products, and learning more about the customer and their needs through social media, data mining or market research. The more you know about the customer you serve, the better your opportunity to serve that customer. Below I have highlighted a few local companies with great brand equity in Austin. I want to give a shout out to them for their efforts integrating their customers into the daily operations of their businesses and their forward thinking when it comes to building trust with their customer by adding value to their experience.
Bicycle Sport Shop
An early adopter of social media Bicycle Sport Shop‘s “customer service door” is always open. This is most evident by their presence on Facebook. With two pages, a store profile and a service fan page, customers can interact with the store regarding service or repair questions, thoughts on local events, sales and product questions or just to shoot the breeze.
Lesson: Opening the lines of communication with your customer allows you to better understand their goals and obstacles. Working to improve your business to help your customer overcome those obstacles and meet those goals will builds customer loyalty.
Sweet Leaf Tea
While Sweet Leaf Tea does not sell direct to those that enjoy their tasty beverages, it’s obvious that they are interested in their lives and how their product fits into them. Sweet Leaf Tea does a great job leveraging all of their channels to create a unique experience for their fans. Whether they are educating, entertaining, listening or engaging Sweat Leaf Tea is all personality. “Our consumers are the brand and anything we can do to enhance their experience with our product ” April Dawne Riggs.
Lesson: Successful social media campaigns leverage all of their channels, integrating them in a way that “tells their story” and offers opportunities to learn about the consumer. Create an overarching plan that guides your actions and integrates your channels in a seamless consumer experience.
Blue Dahlia Bistro
This is one that I was referred to by my Facebook fans. What I really liked about Blue Dahlia Bistro was the personality that resonated through on their Facebook page. It makes you want to “be their friend”. Their posts are entertaining, engaging and informative. A great balance between who we are, what we do and why we do it mixed with a welcoming and inviting tone that encourages their customers to interact with them. Below a fan shares their meal with us…now I’m hungry.
Lesson: Identify your brands voice and let it be heard.
Your brand is not your logo, and it’s not your product, it’s the perception/feeling that someone has about your product or organization. Put some personality in your media. You would be surprised at how many sites I visit where the posts are all about the company. “Look at me I’m having a sale”, “Hey, look at this article we’re in”, “Be our friend”, “follow us”, listen to us talk about ourselves and hand out coupons so you’ll follow us. While you may be using a social channel to advertise your business you are missing a huge brand building opportunity. Remember your brand is not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is. Put down your club and stand up straight. It’s 2010 and time to do some work. Here are a few things to remember to ensure that you’re not stuck walking at the back of the evolution line.
1. Don’t just talk, listen and engage
2. Make a plan that integrates your marketing/advertising efforts into a complete consumer experience
3. Have a personality
4. Track your efforts to gauge your social media success and discover the ROI