Tag: Sales

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FAB Understands Marketing is a Part of Everything

The philosophy of “marketing is a part of everything” is the notion that every part of your business that touches the customer is an opportunity for marketing. Not marketing in the sense of selling, but true marketing that reinforces brand values, builds consumer relationships and, yes, sometimes up-sells. It describes marketing that touches every part of your business; product design, manufacturing, customer service and billing all have marketing built in. 

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You are likely familiar with the discount design shop FAB, or at least familiar with this type of business. FAB is an e-commerce website that offers time-sensitive deals on designer products. Based purely online, this company must have precision marketing to grow and sustain its business. That is where the “marketing is a part of everything” philosophy comes into play.

I recently purchased something from FAB (a nifty pair of touchscreen-compatible gloves). When my package arrived, it came with a note and four cards. The note said, “Here are three gift cards for your friends. Keep one for yourself.”

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Even after I purchased, they continued market to me, and even empowered me to market for them! It’s the holiday season, and I passed the cards out at the office. FAB used the delivery of purchased items as an opportunity to spread the word about the company.

They needn’t reward me, but it certainly helped. FAB’s success is based almost purely on word of mouth. Tactics like these help FAB empower its customers to market for them. Nearly every touch point that the company has with its customers can be a marketing opportunity.

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Every business can do this. Invoices, inbound phone calls, packaging and paper receipts are all opportunities to market the business and tell your story. If you are handing people plain, brown, recycled paper bags to carry your product in, it better be part of your eco-conscious, world-saving story. Otherwise stop being a cheapskate and get something printed on them that reinforces your brand values or entertains your customers! You are missing a big opportunity for your business. Think it through, consider all the touch points you have with a customer and make them all work together to tell your story.

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The 5 Social Media Strategies

It is still amazing to see the number of brands that are using social media incorrectly. Some can’t seem to shake this “Look at me!!” mentality, which is ruining their customer experience and inevitably causing the loss of the customer.

Brands need to begin focusing their social media strategy and they have 5 choices.

1. Branding
2. Sales
3. Customer Services
4. Innovation
5. Community Experience

Each platform they participate on needs a purpose that fulfills their customer needs. Given the number of big brands that still don’t have a huge following on social media they have a great opportunity. By focusing their Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or Blog on one of these strategies they can “teach” consumers where to find the answer or experience they’re looking for.

The type of content provided under each strategy has very specific purpose:

1. Branding: Complimentary Imagery & Matched Tone
- external and internal content that supports the brand
2. Sales: Offers/Discounts, Links to New Products/Reviews
- content that showcases products and services
3. Customer Services: Public Answers to Questions & Complaints
- recognition of problems and specific answers
4. Innovation: Calls for Feedback & Customer Opinion
- the key is to implement the feedback and showcase it
5. Community Experience: Additional Content, Customer Submitted Content
- keep it interactive and exclusive

Are your favorite brands using one of these?

Professional Expectations

Before you can sell a service, a product or an insight to the naive,
you need to sell them on being professional.
” – Seth Godin

The quote comes from Seth’s recent blog post “Naive or professional?“, where he explains the difference between a naive business person and a professional business person. Essentially the naive person is content with the way things are and when a problem occurs, blames an outside source for the diversion. The professional doesn’t let problems slip by. They analyzes them, try to understand them, and build fail safes to ensure they don’t happen again. The quote is interesting because it relates to building expectation AND good business habits.

Building your customer expectations of your product or service from the first engagement is important. Equally important is building the expectation of their involvement in the fulfillment process. This is fairly easy to do and can be chalked up to three steps.

Identifying the Problem
A few years ago, I consulted a company that sold a product on a B2B basis. The sales team was making their sales quota but the sales that were won the company had trouble retaining – about 50% of sold clients were “troublemakers”.

Analysis
I analyzed the sales process; the before and after sale, the materials, the sales scripts and sat in on sales meetings. Turns out that the sales people weren’t “overselling”, which is what I expected to find, but what they weren’t doing was selling the experience. The product involved a specific amount of “homework” to be done by the customer to ensure the highest quality product and timely delivery. The issue was the sales team never mentioned or emphasized this part of fulfillment. So when it came down to the customer doing the work they needed to make the service work, they weren’t ready or willing.

Corrections and Fail Safes
We changed the sales script and developed very detailed points on what was expected of the customer when we began working with them. We also built in a touch point in the customer relations process to remind them of their “homework” and offer assistance (this only added about 30 minutes to total customer time). The result? Retention increased to 80%. Sale percentages weren’t affected.

As a professional, it is important that you constantly reevaluate your business processes. As a professional, it is also your job to ensure that your customers are ready to be professionals as well. They need to understand that they have a stake in the product or service you’re delivering and they have to be ready to learn and adjust as they engage with your company – this can be a fun process! There is no “be all, end all” solution to your customers’ problems. In a world of instant gratifications, it is your duty as a business owner to build the correct expectations of your product and of your customers.