Big Smartie is business management software, offering a deceptively simple way to fine-tune your business focus and maximize resources. We call it Big Smartie because it makes everyone work a little smarter.
First step to enticing your busy customer: stop talking about yourself.
Have you ever been on a date with someone who spends the evening telling you how fabulous they are? That’s how most customers feel looking at a website, brochure, or in a sales call. Of course, they want to find about your company, but the reason they are interested is because they have a problem to solve. Their perception is that something in their lives is either broken or could be improved.
So, here is a good rule of thumb. If you’re developing customer-facing communication of any kind answer this question first: How can your company address their issue?
This begs the question, what is their issue? Many companies have success without considering their customer’s actual needs. It’s a happy accident that’s difficult to repeat. It could have generated a fair amount or revenue and can be celebrated—right up until the time it starts to plateau or decline. Then what? Hopefully, another happy accident. It can happen if you’re lucky. I’ve never been one to bank on luck.
Some companies consider customer needs just long enough to convince themselves they need whatever the company is offering. The motivation for not looking too closely is that they may have to reinvent themselves and their offerings in the future. What a scary thought especially if you don’t understand your customers needs or why they are making their purchase decision.
The final option is my favorite. Know your customer and know your company. Find the bridge that connects the two. It takes discipline and resources, but it will make your customer feel special which in turn breeds loyalty and long term stability.
It’s just like a great date where the other person is actually interested in you and your life.
All your tactics can be very effective and efficient to implement once they are tied directly to your larger strategy. You can quickly evaluate each tactics based on your companies values, personality, positioning, SWOT, and consumer needs.
Here is an example of the potential cost of neglecting to directly tie tactics to a larger strategy. During the Atkins Diet craze many baked goods companies who had solid growth for years were suddenly losing revenue. Sales and business development people were screaming for a diet product. Companies started reformulating their product line, designing new packages, creating new sales programs and new messaging—then the fad wore off. Their image of their company had now become convoluted, and getting back their market share likely was even more difficult.
This response was human nature. Of course, the natural response was to develop “diet products.” Without organizational guidelines that are stronger than the panic, what else would an entrepreneur do?
Since constant change seems to be the constant part of our business climate, re-creating tactics would need to happen quite often without the overarching guidelines. The leadership team, or in some unfortunate cases an outside firm, would need to regroup again, put their heads together, and craft another set of actions they’d need to take immediately to respond to the new situation. Next, they’d need to create a new budget to support those actions, scrapping former efforts to adapt to the new situation.
It is possible that these are actually the correct actions for that moment in time, but how can you be confident that they are appropriate for the long-term goals of your company?
• How do you know this is the right direction and not just a new direction?
• In what ways should the new plan connect directly to former efforts and in what ways should it deviate?
• Will the return be worth reinventing internal procedures to support the changes?
• Will the company really be able to deliver on its new promise/direction?
• Does the marketing department or firm even care how hard all of these new tactics might be on the rest of he staff?
• What will be the cost to your image?
In short, there is no reason to risk your company’s future on a set of tactics that offers only the illusion of being rooted in a long-term plan. Use guidelines. It will help keep all tactics on track.