You know that the global recession is not going to end anytime soon and how you market to customers is constantly changing.
If there was ever a time to have a robust, integrated multi-channel collaborative marketing process in your business, this is it.
Now, if you don’t have this marketing approach in place you are either living very close to the edge where customers could dry up at anytime or you are already there. If you do, great and well done!
A question I was asked many years ago was “How many forms of marketing are you implementing and testing?”
“A few” I answered and what testing I thought.
You need to be doing at least 10 forms of marketing and testing to find out which ones are working and how you can improve through split testing. You also need to be continually trying out different types and ways of marketing.
I wasn’t doing that and consequently the flow of customers got very low.
Online and Offline Marketing
Does your marketing plan just focuses on the online, or is it balanced with some offline direct marketing?
You will not know which is best in terms of Return on Investment (ROI) if you do not test. Putting this all together is a lot of work. Developing a marketing plan is a step in the right direction but there has to be a purpose of which there are two choices. Its either to sell directly or start a relationship with people who will become your customers – typically long lasting and very valuable customers because of the relationship that you have with them. The key objective is to understand what is the lifetime value of your customers and make it an objective to create such a strong relationship that they will never think of leaving you.
Creating collaborative business relationships
In any business creating and maintaining a relationship is key if you and your customers businesses are to be even more successful and profitable. This is not always easy and although sounds like common sense it is not always given priority. When I was working for a global corporation and the spending cuts came around, I could never understand why we reduced our marketing budget when what we needed was to get more customers, establish more relationships to keep the flow of work coming.
Below I have two strategies for you to consider, which when combined together can help you collaboratively market your products and services.
The UK British Standards Institute (BSi) has over the last several years developed a framework specification with other pan international organisations to develop a framework specification called BS 11000 – collaborative business relationships. This 3 phase, 8 stage process will help you to consider the benefits of collaborative business relationships, develop a strategy and action plan to evaluate, select, create value and manage business relationships with the right customer and business partner. How many times do you just go after customers not knowing if you are concentrating on the right ones. This is also the same for customers – how do you know you are selecting the right partner to work with?
By adopting BS 11000 as a guide you can start to understand you customers wants, their current collaboration behaviours and competencies and how you can best work together. At the same time you will identify the necessary people and processes required to make each relationship as successful and collaborative as possible.
Getting your people to behave collaboratively, develop and utilise your existing business processes to operate in a collaborative way is one part. This now needs to be applied to your marketing and customer management processes. Below is a 4 point marketing strategy on how you can grow your business by being able to market more and get / “buy” more customers:
- Grow your business by getting more customers, increasing your sales frequency and increase your average sales value
- Know the average lifetime value of a customer
- Knowing the life time value of your customer means you will know how much you can spend marketing to acquire new customers
- Reduce the cost of acquiring/”buying” new customers
Your ultimate aim is to “buy” more customers. How you do this can be done in many ways, including offline and online marketing’ which can include the following to name but a few:
- email marketing
- Direct mail – sales letters, postcards, tear-sheets, etc
- Social media (be careful there is only certain parts that work – do not get swayed by the new shiny widget)
- and many more
Collaborative Marketing Roadmap
Imagine if you could integrate and implement the combination of creating collaborative relationships into your multi channel marketing strategies. What would this do to your business profitability?
The most important step for you is to take action. This is always the most difficult thing for you to do as you have so much other “stuff to do” don’t you?
Having this all on one view as a roadmap can help you visualise where you are now, what your vision and long term objective is and how you are going to get there. Utilising collaboration technology, you can create a collaborative marketing roadmap so that you can share and gain insight and feedback from colleagues within your business who are in different locations and time zones so you can work collaboratively on your marketing plan.
But more importantly you can use BS 11000 to help establish a proactive and working collaborative business relationship and develop a marketing strategy specifically for a customer you wish to do business with, by sharing it directly with one another. This form of marketing becomes very focused as you quickly get to understand what your customer wants, rather than what you think they need – a big difference!
Once you know this you can now share relevant information with them in one place that it becomes a valuable resource for them. This process of giving freely, valuable information that they want, creates a relationship where they will begin to trust you and do business with you.
One last key benefit is your customer collaborative marketing roadmap changes how you develop and use customer account plans. These typically exist as a static PowerPoint presentation or document, updated annually. Your customer marketing plan morphs into a real time, visual and collaborative account plan, where you can all work collaboratively.
It certainly beats trying to get them to read your emails when they have so much other stuff to read and deal with doesn’t it.