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Entries in marketing (84)


What Will Marketing Look Like in 2013?

The rules of marketing don’t change, or they change very slowly. But the tools, the channels, and the messages can change very rapidly. The way we communicate with consumers today is far different than it was even ten years ago.

So what will change next year? What steps can you take to prepare, move ahead of the competition, and grow?

This week, I will address three main areas of marketing that will be vital to your success in 2013 in a series of three posts that I’m calling, “2013 Blueprints”.

And like you might us tax software to help you prepare your taxes, these posts are meant to serve as a blueprint to a successful marketing plan for next year.


Is Customer Service the New Marketing?

That’s the question asked and answered in a panel conversation hosted by Software Advice.

The question is a good one, and relates directly to a topic often covered on this blog, which is the role of marketing in the digital age.

You all know that I firmly believe that the role of marketing has expanded to include almost all functions of a business, mostly due to the fact that the internet has made consumers more powerful than ever before. And marketing’s efforts can be undone with one bad sales or customer service or product design error. And so marketing has the responsibility to get involved and make decisions at all levels.

Today, good companies realize the power and the voice of the consumer. And they cater to them with this in mind. Good customer experiences mean stronger word of mouth and potential brand advocates that can help spread your message more efficiently than any marketer. That’s all true.

But is customer service the new marketing? Taken literally, the question seems a bit silly. I’d phrase my answer this way:

The new marketing includes customer service as one of its many important functions.

How would you answer that question? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


5 Ways to Scare off Potential Customers

Someone lands on your website, walks into your store, gets you on the phone, or emails you wanting more information on what you’re selling and how it will fill his or her need. What happens next will often mean the different between making a sale and losing one.

Here are five things to avoid if you want to make the sale:

1. Don’t greet them cordially

    The first thing you say or do can have the most impact on how the interaction will go. We all know that first impressions are important. When a customer is in the decision making process, getting treated like crap can be all it takes to make them walk away. Be courteous, enthusiastic, and helpful.

    2. Don’t answer their questions

      Too often the sales process is filled with canned responses and pitches. Learn to listen to what the customer is saying. They will tell you what they’re looking for, and what is important to them. That way you can respond with an answer customized to their questions or concerns. And answer them directly, don’t avoid the question because it’s difficult to answer or may not be what they want to hear.

      3. Don’t give them pricing

        Most people want to know the price right off the bat. In some cases, that’s difficult because pricing is based on options or custom quotes. But always offer at least a ballpark. Don’t avoid giving out pricing information in favor of collecting more information, otherwise you lose a percentage of customers before the conversation even starts. They will think you have something to hide, that the price will be a ‘gotcha’.

        4. Don’t support your pricing

          When you give them pricing, don’t give them pricing alone. Support your pricing with benefits and value. If your prices are higher than competitors, tell them why. Some people will shop on price alone, but most will shop on a combination of price and perceived benefit. Sell the pricing along with the value your product or service will provide.

          5. Don’t follow up

            The sale may not happen during that first interaction. Don’t worry. The key is a good follow up strategy. Keep track of customer interactions. Use email and phone follow up to keep your brand at the top of their mind. Ask them if they need any other information or help making the decision. This will often lead to sales down the road.

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