From the smallest of businesses to the multi-nationals, marketing helps grow businesses as well as keep them in the minds of their customers. Through this article it is aimed that readers are empowered to think deeper on the marketing techniques they use whilst also envisioning the message sent to their (potential) customers.

As with most things, industries move with advancements of technology and this is true in the case of marketing too. Without a doubt the most common marketing tools used by small to medium enterprises (SME) are search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media marketing (SMM). These platforms have very good return on investment (ROI) hence their popularity. The added analytical tools provided can also be seen as a positive influence on the high usage too.

Over the last few months, discussing marketing with many businesses, it is apparent that such wide scope of these tools may be blinding us to the fundamental principles of marketing. Firstly, let it be clear, these tools are great and bring the world to the doorstep of all businesses giving even the smallest of businesses a voice. My point revolves around the premise that these tools shouldn’t be seen as the only forms of marketing.

A few people I asked had responded with the above tools or something similar. A post on an active Facebook group didn’t get the response I had hoped for, but the limited response only backed my theory – most people tend to see these as the go-to tools. We must delve deeper and look at some other techniques.

Marketing, in essence can be seen as a tool to bring custom to your business. It is often forgotten though, that marketing is fundamentally a package of Display + Customer Experience. For those customers who aren’t aware of your business you ‘display’ it through your marketing strategy, and those who are targeted through customer experience.

The words ‘customer experience’ are intentionally used instead ‘customer service’. Though they are used interchangeably, they are two very different principles. Customer service is what all businesses provide, a basic pillar of any business. Customer experience however, sets the par. Customer experience is why people pay $800 for a haircut or $4000 for a suit. Yes, if you are buying an expensive suit, you obviously get a better quality suit but, realistically the more expensive company hasn’t spent thousands extra for better quality, possibly hundreds but not thousands. Instead they chose to spend the money on making the customer experience better, be it through packaging, excellent service techniques and much more — that is their investment and sure enough, these expensive brands sell.

For every business the ‘experience’ element is different, but it starts from before the customer walks in your shop it is about the cleanliness outside, the dirt on the windows, the display, etc. While internet based businesses, it starts with the ratings you may hold online, reviews on independent sites or the spelling on your website. In all forms, it is most likely to start before the customer has engaged with a representative from your organisation.

Knowing this, one can then propose that the most important element of your marketing is your ‘customer experience’. Naturally great customer experience leads to high word of mouth marketing (WOMM), which has invaluable positive impact on your business. In WOMM, your customer is acting as a brand ambassador and marketing your product to their close ones, and in such relationships, trust and loyalty ensure the advice is taken.

You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards…  – Steve Jobs

As can be seen, customer experience seems an abandoned art. Companies may provide a high of customer service, but if you really wish to excel and be the leaders in your field, work on customer experience. Just think about moments where you have been ‘wow-ed’ as a customer. . When reviewing your marketing strategy next, look at ways of improving your customer experience. Below are some links, on what great customer experience looks like. Granted, not all businesses have the power to do this, but the point at hand is to think beyond profit, think solution, think customer experience!

Apple – Wife says ‘no’, Apple says ‘yes’!

Tesla – Customer complaint to execution in 6 days  

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