Marketing Focus – Are you living up to your own hype?
When starting a new business, you know what you want to offer and who you want to offer it to. The target then of course is to get people interested and buying into your product or service through marketing so that it becomes successful.
However, be careful of the claims you make in your PR, Advertising and Promotions. It can be tempting to try to attract new clients with big promises, but it’s not wise to make claims that you can’t then live up to, as customer loyalty and long term success cannot come from marketing alone.
Make it your top priority to delight your clients throughout their experience with your company. From enquiry, to delivery, to aftercare, this whole experience should be taken into consideration from the customer’s point of view and monitored to ensure excellence throughout. Keep checking that you are delivering on your customer promises to stay on track as you grow and get busier.
Deciding what to promote in your marketing
Before you start producing your marketing materials do an honest SWOT analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your businesses offering. Of course you should try and stress the positives in all your marketing, but you should also be aware of your weaknesses and beware of blowing your own trumpet when it’s not justified.
Treat the weaknesses that you identify as an opportunity to solve them. If parking is a problem, but there’s an underground car park nearby, offer to reimburse their parking with any purchase, or offer clear instructions of where they can park nearby to make their experience easier. If you’re more expensive than your competitors, make sure you justify why and position yourself as luxury and quality to avoid nasty surprises. Build in clear processes to ensure optimal customer service, train your team well and make sure they understand the importance of what they are doing, every step of the customer journey.
Research shows us that what people remember experiencing is far more relevant than what they actually experience. The main points a customer will remember are the peak of the experience (good or bad) and the last part of the experience, so make sure they leave on a good note! In the customers’ memory you want to appear easy to deal with, professional, friendly and living up to your promises throughout, but especially during those points.
Sometimes established companies will use mystery shoppers to assess the service of their business. The data received from this exercise allows you to see what you are doing right and where things are going on and improve the customer experience.
Under promise in your marketing and over deliver every day
It’s better to under promise and over deliver in your marketing, than to make unrealistic claims and then disappoint when people come to you. So make sure you offer the best customer experience and beware of claims such as being “the best” “the cheapest” or “the quickest”.
Ensure that you know how you will deal with customers’ needs and requirements before launching a promotional campaign. Test the process and make sure you have enough people to handle enquiries. There’s no point driving a lot of traffic to your shop or website if you’re not ready to cope with the rush at the standards you first promised. As they say, false pretences might get you near the top but it won’t keep you there.
Dos and Don’ts for living up to expectations
- Do under promise – But not too much! Find the right level between promoting your good points in a measured way and giving your customers something to get excited about. Happy customers will do a terrific job of spreading the word about how good you are. Exceeding customer expectations is always satisfying for the company and the customer.
- Do follow it up yourself – If you personally make a promise to a customer then have to delegate the task to someone else, make sure to follow-up afterwards to make sure it was done as promised.
- Do train staff with company policy – As the Owner/Director of the business you will know your company message and goals off by heart, however your staff may not. It’s all well and good you shouting about a great company policy in the media but if your staff are not implementing the message and service this will become a major let down to the company. Impressions of the company go right down to your delivery guy, so make sure they are well trained, informed and can be an effective advocate for your company. Regularly refresh the message and do simulations of customer situations, or undertake mystery shopping to make sure that your team are doing what you expect.
- Do only make promises you intend to keep – Sounds obvious but it’s extremely common to make quick promises on the spot to customers and then fail to keep them. Even simple promises such as ‘we will call you next week to see how you’re getting on’ must be kept to if you want to create lasting relationships with your customers.
- Don’t think you need to position yourself as the best – Just make sure it clear to your customers what they can expect from you with no false pretences so they can make their own mind up whether to use your services or not.
Marketing on the Costa del Sol is all about building trust in your product and brand and making people believe in what you do, so being wary of making claims that you cannot fulfil and focusing on delighting your customers is particularly important.
If you want an outsider’s perspective on how your company is presenting itself and delivering to your customer we can help. We offer marketing consultation, can review your marketing materials and offer marketing training to make sure the whole team has the knowledge and skills to live up to expecations. Please contact us to find out how.