When I was a salesman, my boss told me that people bought products or services from their ‘friends’. I have yet to meet a salesman that I could call a friend – not whilst they were trying to get my money, anyway! Trust is the basis for building loyalty which in turn will increase interaction – it is up to you to turn this interaction into profit. As a personal example – I am an Apple McIntosh user at home, but have to suffer PC’s at work. Think about the customer loyalty Apple has – most Apple users can be identified by two main attributes – they are fiercely loyal to the brand, and they are poor, because the loyalty costs so much! I have used Michael Porter’s value chain model to demonstrate the trust-focused value chain, culminating in ‘trust’ in a brand, product or service. It is no fluke that trust occupies the same space that ‘profit’ does in Porter’s model, indeed I could have extended it with another field to the right called profit. Being trustworthy is profitable.
It is worth repeating the quote from my sales manager – it is important in generating trust and developing a good relationship. The relationship should also be open, honest and trusting – if you trust your customers, they are more likely to trust you. It could, however, be that the customer doesn’t want a relationship with you – that, unfortunately, is life, you have to encourage the customer to want to interact with you, to opt-in and build a relationship. It will start with trust! LISTEN! Use your two ears and one mouth in proportion. Let the customer tell you what they want instead of you telling them what they should have. Finally, customers should be encouraged to interact. At O 2 , we are looking at incentivising the opt-in process, giving the customers an immediate, tangible benefit from receiving information from us. More of this in a moment. Over time, the benefits will be seeing in terms of the customer receiving more relevant and exciting offers. If you demonstrate trust, the customer is more likely to follow.
Marketing is regarded as an art – so why not be creative about encouraging your customers to opt-in and to interact with you? Encouragement to opt-in does not mean the same a trusting the brand. The research carried out within O 2 indicates has shown that customer are quite savvy about data privacy issues and what brand attributes they should and shouldn’t trust. Our research has shown that if we ask for details about mobile phones, customers are happy to respond. If, however, we ask for a full postal address, but are not due to post them anything, they become sceptical. This relates back to the issue of ‘relevancy’! By keeping within the safety of the RFM boundaries, we can infer ‘trustworthiness’. Marketing is constantly challenging rules and trying to get the competitive edge over others in the marketplace. The creative approach we are used to taking can increase opt-in and increase the interaction of the customers – don’t be afraid of using new ideas (but check for the legality of your approach). Trust is a two-way process and we must feel confident that our customers are being trustworthy toward us, giving us correct information and interacting with us honestly. But, ethical marketing will ensure that the company does everything possible to encourage honesty and trustworthiness by exhibiting it, itself. This may take some time, so don’t get despondent.
Being trustworthy is profitable, and provides you with a competitive advantage
But everyone else is trying the same thing. Are you more trustworthy than your competitor? Do you employ better people? …
I did some sales training many years ago, and the one thing that sticks in my memory about it is that customers relate better to dialogues. When talking to customers though, you should address them foremost – you are not interested in me – you want to know ‘What’s in it for me’!! Am I right?
Customers see your brand as a single entity, with a single personality and character, and react to it in the same way they would to the character of a trusted sales person. * Every touch point with a customer is an opportunity to exchange information and build on the profile of that customer, * also building a trustworthy character within the segment or market as a whole! * Every touch point should deliver some information. Outbound marketing campaigns should be devised in such a way as to make them interactive, as much as is possible. Remember the final ‘A’ in the AIDA model – ACTION – get the customers to do some action that you can record. * Finally, make your interactions cumulative, building on one another. Do this to learn titbits of information about the customer each time, and build a consistent and strong image of the brand or product to the customer.
competitive advantage is therefore achievable
Engaging customers online Building trusting relationships with your customers and partners online Thom Poole July 2005
Loyalty Online customers are promiscuous - but look at Amazon’s or Google’s loyalty ratings?
Communication Interaction offers opportunities to educate your customers and to learn from them
Control Direct selling rather than through 3rd parties, e.g. Airlines
Speed to market A global market, open 24/7/365
Lower costs “An average offline retailer requires three purchases to break-even on the acquisition of each new customer” - Kate Delhagen, Shop.org 2000 Also, servicing, distribution and support costs are considerably lower than any other medium
It is no good developing applications for the elderly if they are unlikely to use them
“ I don’t know who you are, I don’t know your company, I don’t know your company’s products, I don’t know what your company stands for, I don’t know your company’s customers, I don’t know your company’s record, I don’t know your company’s reputation, Now – what was it you wanted to sell me?” MORAL: Sales start before your salesman calls – with business publication advertising
How to treat business customers online Q: Are you a business or a consumer customer? Q: How many adverts have you seen today? Yesterday? Last week? A: You are all consumers for something & always looking for WIIFM e.g. A business person during the week, becomes football fan at the weekend. So, a mobile marketing company can offer consumer football alerts to the customer for that persona
Business tools SUPPORT DISCOVER ACQUIRE billing consistency The O2 website strategy for business customers upgrades cost savings FAQ Care performance tracker expense management front-end procurement learn new business methods
Growth strategies existing products new products existing markets new markets market penetration product development market development diversification From Ansoff, 1957 entering the online market building an online market be different