Tag Archives: customer value

Don’t drop the price, fatten the offer

Yes, everyone is well aware that we’re in a recession and customers everywhere are looking for a great deal. But relying on that fact alone is the wrong reason to start reducing the price of everything you sell.

Instead, during these lean times it’s best to fatten your offer, according to Judy Kirkland from Echo Point Marketing partners in a Business Management Daily post.

The problem is, she says, is that when you “only focus on price you’re vulnerable to any competitor who undercuts you by a couple dollars.”

When you “fatten your offer” with something extra, you’re giving customers an added reason to buy from you.

Don’t have the money to add anything extra to the sale? No problem. It’s easy to find “extras” in things you’re already doing for your customers.

For example, the Wyndam hotel print ads offering to make sure your favorite snacks and beverages are in your room when you arrive. Since the hotel already stocks mini bars with a variety of snacks, allowing guests to make requests requires little to no extra effort on the hotel’s part.

Or the kitchen remodeling company that offers an added concierge service to help clients clear out their cabinets. The company had been doing it for years until they started positioning the service as an added bonus for signing a contract promptly.

Whatever your product or service is, odds are you can find something “extra” to help fatten the offer.

Think about giving customers added content with their purchase, such as a white paper or tip sheet. And what about offering free customer service for the life of the product?

In what ways does your company “fatten the offer” when selling their product or service? Any ideas to share with the rest of us? Leave a comment and let us know.

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More B2B buyers using Web 2.0 to decide

B2B marketers who dismiss social trends in buying as a strictly consumer trend are wrong, very wrong according to the latest research.

Forrester Research recently surveyed business buyers to discover more about their social activity, with special interest in how business buyers use social media in their purchase decisions.

The survey of more than 1,200 technology buyers in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. with 100 employees or more in seven major industries, resulted in findings that may surprise some business to business marketers.

Key findings include:

  • 69% are “Spectators”—they read blogs, watch user-generated videos and participate in other social media for business purposes.
  • 37% are “Critics”—they contribute comments or react to content they see in social formats. This is the next most common behavior after reading and watching.
  • 29% are “Collectors”—they use social technology to collect information and stay on top of trends.
  • 29% join social networks (“Joiners”).
  • Only 5% are nonparticipants (“Inactives”).

Though they do take peers’ opinions in to account to make decisions, buyers who use social technology don’t rate it highly in terms of its influence on their buying decisions.

“If you’re a b-to-b marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, now is the time to start. Because many blogs, communities and other social outreach from firms that sell to business are less than mature, it is a perfect way to stand out.”

For B2B marketers interested in integrating social technologies into their marketing mix, Forrester researchers suggest:

  • First, understand your audience. How does your audience like to communicate and where do they go to share ideas?
  • Integrate social applications into other marketing. Don’t keep your social media separate, but a part of your overall marketing goal.
  • Learn from others. How are your peers using social media? Find articles, webinars and networking events to learn how others are finding success in social media.

Of demons and customer service

Seth Godin wrote a blog post last week, titled “Demonization,” that ties in seamlessly with our Tuesday post on what can happen when terrible customer service hits the Internet.

Here’s what Seth says:

The closer you get to someone, something, some brand, some organization… the harder it is to demonize it, objectify it or hate it.

So, if you want to not be hated, open up. Let people in. Engage. Interact.

If you interact regularly with your customers in the places they like to hang out (blogs, forums, Twitter, etc.), an unhappy customer will be more likely to approach you first, before telling all of their friends about the horrible experience they had.

Be open, engage your customers and help them when they ask for it. Instead of telling everyone how terrible you are, maybe, just maybe they’ll spread the word on how absolutely wonderful your company is.

How to set company standards for response in social media

One of the biggest fears companies have when it comes to getting started in social media is how customers will respond to your presence and how to control the communication coming from your organization.

A simple way to ease the fear of handling customer responses is to come up with a plan.

The U.S. Air Force is an organization that is taking social media very seriously. To help their Emerging Technology Division know how to handle comments, they created this detailed chart.

How to set company standards for response in social media

How to set company standards for response in social media

By answering a series of yes-or-no questions, those within the organization can determine exactly how they should approach each comment posted within their social networks.

Using a chart like this ensures that everyone involved in your organization’s social media efforts will know the correct way to respond to your audience.

If your company has been hesitant to join social media out of a fear of losing control, you can ease some of those fears by setting standards for communication, like the Air Force’s chart.

Visit Global Nerdy if you would like to download a full-size PDF version of the poster.

What do you think of this chart? Does your organization have a “standard operating procedure” for handling communication in social media?

Email marketing impacts more than online sales

Permission-based email marketing campaigns reach further than ecommerce transactions, having a greater impact on offline sales than once thought, according to a new email marketing survey.

The survey, by Epsilon Data Management, found that 67% of those polled said they purchased products offline as a direct result of receiving a commercial email.

The findings also revealed that 57% feel more positive about companies that send them email, and 40% indicated that email correspondence increases the likelihood that they will make a future purchase.

“A majority of people receiving emails sent by companies from which they purchase products/services admitted that their overall impression of the sending company is positively improved because of the email. This telling stat provides direct evidence that companies can develop and foster a positive image with even the most casual of customers by reaching out via email often remember email post-purchase.”

Email also helps to build company-consumer relationships, according to the survey. The number of people who enjoy recieving emails from companies in which they are registered has risen significantly in the past three years.

When asked, “I like receiving email from companies I’ve registered with: even if I don’t always read it, it’s good to know it will be there when I’m ready for it.” 84% of respondents gave a positive answer.

“Email is a vital link between marketer and consumer that can provide companies with rich information about their products and services. Email extends well beyond the boundaries of opens and clicks, and must be optimized and measured as an important part of the overall media mix.”

Read Epsilon’s full email branding study.

Why Zappos sent my mom a get well card

Today I’d like to lighten the mood a bit and tell you all a warm and fuzzy little story about my mom and Zappos. Yes, my real mother (Diane) and Zappos, the customer service focused online shoe retailer.

A few weeks ago she was online looking for a new pair of shoes to wear to a wedding. She had recently broken her ankle and needed a pair of shoes with a long ankle strap to fit around an air cast.

So, she finds a pair of shoes she likes online. Being more of a traditional shopper, she wanted to call and speak to a human being about the shoes to make sure the ankle straps would fit in her situation.

During the conversation with the customer service representative, she shared her reasons for shopping for a new pair of shoes. After hearing her uncomfortable reason, they waved any shipping costs and put her name on a “Preferred Customer List.”

If that wasn’t enough, one week later she received this get well card in the mail:

Zappos' outstanding customer service

Zappos' outstanding customer service

Not only did the customer service representative she was working with write her a thoughtful message, but six other representatives signed the card as well.

It’s just another lesson on awesome customer service and an example of how Zappos is leading the way.

Fun with links: Customer service, HR marketing trends and how to stop ‘wigging out’

Once again, there’s too much in my giant list of blog post ideas to get around to one at a time. So, here’s some of the latest and greatest marketing advice on the web. Enjoy!

Cut customer service and you’ll lose customers. As straightforward as that idea may seem, some companies are testing the waters when trimming customer service and customers don’t appreciate it. Scott Anthony at Harvard Business is one of those customers dealing with more than one damaged customer relationship due to cuts in customer service.

Yesterday HR Marketer announced the release of their ninth installment of the “Trends in HR Marketing” series of research reports. The findings mirror what was found in previous reports based on surveys sent to HR suppliers. Internet marketing and online social media are playing an increasingly important role in the marketing mix of HR vendors and suppliers. Find out more and get your own copy of the report at the HR Marketer blog.

Times are tough these days and everyone seems to be feeling the effects of the economic situation we’re in. Though the news may be bad, it doesn’t mean your attitude has to be as crummy as the headlines. Use a few of these tips on how to get away from “stinking thinking” and put yourself in a better mood, courtesy of the folks at Conversation Agent.

Paul Williams at MarketingProfs Daily Fix recently asked readers for their expert marketing advice on how to help his struggling business, simplifying the task by pretending the business was a lemonade stand. Advice came pouring in, “ranging from conservative to far out.” Read all of the comments and discover some new ideas to help your business in our down economy.

Have you been worried about the recent request by Postmaster General John Potter that Congress allow the U.S. Postal Service to cut mail service to five days a week to reduce costs? While it may save the USPS money, many marketers and publishers are worried about how the cutbacks will affect business. Read more about their plans at BtoB Magazine.