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Targeting customers the right way
Debbie Baertschi, CEO Middle East of MOX Deals, tells Kippreport.com about the important of honest communication
March 4, 2014 12:25 by kippreport
Businesses try a lot of ways to contact customers with new products and offers. There’s always a new stratagem in the works. But, really, the simplest advice is to be honest and genuine. Customers are smart and educated, and can tell the difference between gimmicks and true concern. If yours is a company that cares for its stakeholders and customers, they’ll know.
The online world has been an excellent venue for businesses to cultivate a customer base. Through social media sites, digital advertising and home-grown platforms, they have been able to collect customers, regardless of their locations. Conventional logistical barriers have eroded. On the flip side, customers get access to goods and services they are interested in.
There is, however, a downside to the online free for all; it’s called the ‘paradox of choice’. It seems that after a certain threshold, enormous amounts of choice make customers less happy, not more. Add to this the information overload caused by businesses spending heavily on social media and digital channels, and you get disgruntled customers.
For many customers, the online experience is now a battle against a barrage of advertisements and promotions that follow them around. This cacophony has created a loss of loyalty. In fact, customer defection rates stand at more than 40 per cent.
Businesses and customers are both stuck in a bind. For the former, communication is lost in the noise and the latter finds it difficult to discern meaning in an online experience that is overloaded with shouting brands.
The only way out is for businesses to reconsider their online advertising models, favouring relevance over volume. At MOX IT, we make sure that every communication is targeted to people that have registered interest and want to hear from us. We avoid spamming social media channels. Targeted communication is far more effective than trolling. Outright bombardment will alienate as many customers as it attracts.
The first step in targeting is to know one’s customers; who they are, their age, gender, geographic location, what they like and why they’ve reacted positively to your brand, among others. That requires a systematic campaign to gather and analyse customer data through CRM systems. Once a company knows the demographics it appeals to, it will be able to tailor its communication specifically to them. For instance, if a brand realises that its primary market is people aged between 25 to 40 years that have reasonable disposable incomes to go with a fondness for luxury and fashion, and is interested in social occasions and music, then there is no need to send spam adverts to retired gentlemen living in the countryside.
Knowing your customer requires state-of-the-art database profiling. It also requires data capture to begin with. But, timing is key here. Customers don’t necessarily like being presented with registration forms. It is essential to find the right moment to ask a customer for information. At MOX IT, for instance, we don’t ask customers for information at the outset. Rather, the request for necessary information is embedded deep in the checkout process after a customer has made a purchase.
Customer satisfaction programmes are gaining popularity, yet customer churn continues unabated. So, how about implementing a customer dissatisfaction campaign? One that finds out why customers leave to the competition and what can be done about it. A dissatisfaction campaign can identify specific problems and come up with solutions. Companies can figure out what steps in their brand experiences have the highest rates of customer bounce and then them. At MOX IT, we’re sensitive to a customer leaving in the middle of a purchase process. We follow up, pour over data and try to find out ways to avoid it from happening again.
Keeping repeat customers is more important – and cheaper – than advertising for new ones. Companies should consider moving to the relationship market. Identify your most valuable customers and develop a strong connection with them. At MOX IT, we offer customers information that is directly suited to their needs and create great shopping experiences for them with open communication. This turns customers into informal brand ambassadors, who will not only provide valuable information, but also make their approvals heard through word-of-mouth promotions.
Reward programmes are also essential tools in a marketer’s portfolio. They make customers feel special and improve brand loyalty. But, perhaps, even more importantly, customers voluntarily and willingly share information about their preferences with you. They willingly give you access to a rich mine of invaluable information.
Once data has been gathered and a relationship is established, it is still important to continue to fine-tune your offerings. Sophisticated techniques, such as psychographic segmentation, use a combination of demographics and psychology to understand customer behaviour and motivations. They can prove useful for organisations that want to take the next step in deconstructing their target audiences.
Tips and tricks are all well and good, but they’re no substitute for honesty. Treat your customers like smart, educated, valuable people capable of making good choices. In fact, treat them as you would like to be treated. Hold conversations like you would want to be spoken to. And, the results will tell.