BIZTALK: The key to retaining customers
Naomi Simson joins Northern Star as a guest columnist for our latest series, Business Class.
WE ARE all consumers and we all know what it's like to have advertising messages thrust at us relentlessly.
Some are completely irrelevant, and others are almost offensive. We tend to tune out when the messages are not relevant to us and they become white noise.
As such, your experience as a consumer is an important educator when it comes to promoting your own business.
Do your promotional messages create a connection with potential customers? Or are they just adding to the 'noise' created by the 14,000 or so commercial messages most of us see every day? Sit in the shoes of your customers. Be pragmatic. Take the time to respect their time and attention.
Firstly, you must know why you're promoting before you look at what you're promoting.
Is it to build awareness for what you do/sell? Is it to build consideration or preference for your offering? Or is it about building an emotional connection to elicit a particular 'feeling' about your brand?
The level of emotional connection you're likely to summon from customers will completely depend on the role you play in their life. That is, the way people interact with a brand is determined by the role that brand plays in their life at any given time. It usually fits within three categories:
- Functional: the task a customer wants or needs to get done.
- Emotional: how customers feel about and perceive the relevance of what you're offering.
- Social: how customers want to be perceived by others.
I would urge you to ask, 'what job is your customer hiring you to do'. This basic question will guide you when it comes to engaging with your customers in a truly meaningful way.
Not all customers are created equal and not all will not want to interact in the same way. Your job is to make your brand relevant and worth their attention.
In an environment where attention is the new currency, creating an emotional connection to your brand is paramount - not only to success, but mere survival.
Emotional connection in a loving relationship is described as follows. "When you are emotionally connected as a couple, you build a foundation of strength, trust, and respect."
And while we're not expecting customers to vow their loyalty to us until 'death do we part', as brands we must create this experience of trust so that customers feel their exchange of time with us is worthwhile.
Seeking and gaining the attention of your customers means offering them value, every single time you interact and ask for their time.
You must respect the time exchange taking place when you communicate with your customers.
I want to know that customers will pay money for the job I'm hired to do, and I equally want to know they see value in what I deliver - otherwise, they won't come back.
An entrepreneur and business leader; Naomi Simson co-founded the Big Red Group in 2017. BRG is all about serving experiences to different audiences through its various brands: RedBalloon, Adrenaline, Redii.com. BRG serves an experience every minute as the third largest experience marketplace of its type in the world. In this series we present some of her key learnings on how she grew her businesses.