Clients often come to us with a fixed timeline, budget, rough objectives in mind. It can be a challenge to respond to a customer who only has a vague idea of what their looking for, and wants a quick estimate. Offering good/better/best options can be a simple way to present a tiered range options, where one is more likely to meet the customer's needs and price point. It helps convey features and tradeoffs in a way that’s straightforward for your customer to understand, and narrows down options and scope to start a deeper conversation around one option. It also makes it easier for your customer to present and justify costs to a manager approving buget, which can often be the case.
Good: lowest price; standard features. This option should always include your standard SLAs – if you have value-added services as part of your SLA, those should be included too! Better: mid-tier price; added features and benefits included. Present your standard option with some recommended features. Depending on the range between your “good”and “best” option, among other considerations, there are times where you'll actually want to avoid offering a “better” mid-tier option. Best: highest price; has the most features and benefits included, plus add-ons that the client may not have thought of. Even if you’re aware it’s beyond your customer’s budget, consider this as a chance to present your best recommendation. It’s an opportunity to inform and showcase your full capabilities, and exhibits thought leadership and creativity – the outcome of which can lead to prospective engagements (not now, but maybe next time… or, not now, but talk to this other person who may be interested).
In other words, make it easy for the customer to differentiate between the good, better, and best – in a way that the benefits vs. the tradeoffs of each are immediately recognizable and understandable. Make it an easy "yes" decision. And, most importantly, don’t gloss over the “best”. Don't just show them what they asked for, show them what they could have. I’m coming from the perspective of a vendor-to-client scenario, but this can also be applied in marketing and selling products to end customers. Products that come to mind are car service packages, mobile phone plans, restaurant prix fixe menus, booking hotels, super value meals. Do you have a positive experience you can share as a customer, choosing between different levels of service? Or, as a business, offering your customer a choice of different levels of service?
Tags: Tips, Marketing theory
Client Relationship Management | Marketing
Fast Company is one of my favorite publications; they expertly deliver information on three of my favorite topics: design, technology and leadership. Just over a year ago, Fast Co. started a series of interviews called 30 Second MBA, a video series on topics like leadership, technology, connectivity, team work, customer relationships, and more. They have interviewed professionals from all industries and careers: musicians, artists, marketers, vice presidents, CEO’s; from GE to indie marketing shops.
Fast Co. says this about 30 Second MBA, “The great lament of any reporter is what to do with the jewels that routinely get left on the cutting room floor after a really great interview. Enter the 30-Second MBA, an ongoing video “curriculum” of really good advice from the trenches, directly from people who are making business happen.”
These videos are just that—30 second interviews with thought leaders on a variety of topics as mentioned above. Relative to my interests as a [mainly] digital marketer, I’ve chosen three interviews that are immediately applicable to my projects at Exsilio, and to my peers on our marketing team—and hopefully to you: Professor: Gayle Weiswasser, Vice President of Social Media Communications, Discovery CommunicationsTopic: How to develop a social media strategyProfessor: Linda Boff, Global Director, Marketing Communications and Digital, GE Topic: How do you strengthen your brand without going overboard?Professor: Ernst Lieb, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USATopic: The Customer Is the Boss of YouIn all, the consistent theme in these “courses,” is that effective marketing means having real relationships with your customers by listening to them and putting money and resources in to learning more about them in order to earn their loyalty.
Tags: Marketing theory, marketing strategy, Relationship Marketing
Exsilio Homepage | Marketing
Nobody has an infinite amount of attention. As the amount of noise in our lives increase, the percentage of messages getting through inevitably decreases. Marketers are discovering that traditional marketing/advertising just doesn’t work anymore in grabbing and keeping consumer attention.
Consumers have developed an immunity to traditional tactics such as TV commercials, banner ads, or even emails. So how do you cut through the clutter? One way to sell a consumer something in the future is to simply get their permission in advance to participate in the selling process. Here are some strategies to consider:
Permission Marketing lets companies develop long-term relationships with customers, create trust and build brand awareness. For more information read Permission Marketing by Seth Godin.
Tags: marketing strategy, Marketing theory
Following up on Brian B's post, "Why Customers Dump Brands," this post elaborates on what Brian shared, that brands and marketers need to keep communications relevant and actionable. Not every brand, company or entity should be using social media.Three questions should be considered before joining the rest of the crowd:1. Do you have a long-term customer engagement plan?I've seen (and been able to correct) many instances of marketers using social media as just another advertising channel. Social media is not an advertising channel, it's an engagement channel. In this interview with Dan Zarrella, author of "The Social Media Marketing Book," Guy Kawasaki asks Dan some basic questions about engaging customers through social media.
Marketers are given a great opportunity through social media to engage their customers in a unique way that creates lasting relationships between customers and a brand; this is something that advertising cannot do. While tweets and Facebook posts may seem tedious and time consuming for the poster, fans and followers look forward to learning more about a brand and, maybe, benefit from a special offer or Twitter-only coupon. Customers are savvy, and they expect more from marketers than to use them for a click-through.2. Are you ready to have an actual conversation with your customers, one that ADDs value to their daily online lives?When a customer decides to follow or "fan" you, it's not a decision that's made lightly--they are agreeing to give you a portion of their time online, space on their wall or feed, and adding to your follower count. What are you giving them in return? As I stated above, followers expect more than to be advertised to. Make sure your content is relevant and engaging, your number of posts aren't overwhelming, and you're there to listen if you're asked a question. Many brands have done a great job (Virgin America and Zappos are good examples) of providing customers with an unexpected bonus when that customer asks a question or voices a concern. Free credits, free shipping upgrades, and ensuring the customer leaves the conversation with a positive outcome are all unique opportunities for higher levels of customer engagment which foster long-term brand loyalty. 3. Are you ready for your brand to be publicly discussed every day in an open forum, where information travels at light speed?A Re-tweet on Twitter, or a "share" on Facebook both take about five seconds for a user to complete, and all of a sudden, your tweet or post has just been amplified to another 500 potential or current customers. If the content was positive, than congratulations. If it was negative...you've got some work to do. In the latest example of this, the Red Cross did a great job of damage control when one of their employees, responsible for posting content on their social media sites, accidentally posted a personal tweet, talking about getting drunk on Dogfish Head beer. How the Red Cross responded will be looked back on for years as the right way to react to a situation like that. Not to mention, DogFish Head helped them along with their recovery. How would you handle a similar, or worse, situation? Are you prepared? What if a customer posts something negative on your wall or tags you in a tweet sharing their disappointment with a recent purchase or experience with your product? Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are waiting to see how you will react.Answering "no" to any of the above may be ground to re-consider your involvement in social media. Remember--social media is a unique relationship with your current and potential customers--take it seriously.
Tags: marketing strategy, Marketing theory, social media
Exsilio Homepage | Marketing | Social Media
A recent ExactTarget study found that the majority of people who choose to unfollow, unlike, or unsubscribe from a brand did so because the brand's messaging wasn’t valuable or was too intrusive.
None of these reasons come as a surprise, but it’s important to visualize and quantify these experiences. This study serves as a strong reminder to brands and marketers to keep our communications relevant and actionable. These traps are easy to fall into and hard to (effectively) avoid, but the payoff is in the quality, longevity, and advocacy of your following.
ExactTarget goes into further detail about the twilight of consumer-brand relationships on Twitter, on Facebook, and via email in their new report, The Social Breakup. This is part 8 of their larger research series called SUBSCRIBERS, FANS, & FOLLOWERS.
Tags: Marketing theory, marketing strategy
Symbolism. Pragmatism. It’s an ongoing tension that has always existed in the marketing industry. Witness the successful text heavy ads of 70s Ogilvy accounts. Compare that to the wordless mystique of Apple’s design aesthetic. How much should your marketing strategy rely on explaining your product? And how much should be dedicated to imbuing your company’s brand with stand-in abstractions, something that tells the story more from the gut than 1000 words of product feature lists and positioning statements?
A few recent blog articles suggest a pendulum swing towards pragmatism in technology and professional services industries. A couple of reasons arise. The complexity of many products makes it harder and harder to differentiate between multiple flashy ads for an “internet appliance” or “personal financial planning.” Coupled with the 2-year drop in media rates, the barrier to getting the word out is lower than ever, and noisier than ever.
You need to find customers that crave your work. And hold their attention long enough to have a conversation. That conversation isn’t always a handshake and exchange in the elevator. Sometimes it’s a real-time product demo. Sometimes it’s a whitepaper that speaks to a problem plaguing their organization. Can you distill a “what you can do” statement out of what you’ve done? And then deliver that distillation in real value for your potential customers each and every time you have a conversation? That pragmatic action transforms the -ism into what you actually are.
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