As a marketer, one of the most important aspects of our job is to know our clientele.
This can be difficult when your clientele is anything but static. Fickle clientele can alter their behaviors based on market trends, social and even economic trends. The only way to manage your marketing approach to your clientele is to try to stay ahead of change. Are you left playing catch up? If so, you’re likely not getting the results you’re looking for.
I want to look deeper into the clientele and how they change over time and how you can maintain the competitive edge in marketing.
5 Tips to maintain competitive edge in marketing
It’s Easier to Sell to Existing Clients than New Ones
The first thing to remember when talking about selling to new clientele is just what you’re up against. The likelihood of attracting and selling to a new client has a slim margin. In many cases, you’re only going to enjoy a 5%-20% effectiveness.
On the other hand of the spectrum, you enjoy 60%-70% effectiveness when trying to sell to existing clientele, according to Forbes. This is why it is important to become intimately familiar with your clientele. Get more involved than just knowing demographics. Demographics are little more than numbers.
When all you know about your clientele is what they look like, it will tell you little about how they think and even less about what will influence their purchasing decisions.
Try as you might, you cannot maintain a static clientele. As your current clientele ages, they will change their purchasing habits and what influences them. Moreover, your current clientele may become your former clientele leaving you the challenge of getting to know your new clientele as quickly as possible.
The best idea is to never stop familiarizing yourself with your clientele. Always reach out to your clientele to ask them what their interests are and what makes them want to purchase from you as a business.
How the Digital Age has Helped Marketers to Engage with Clientele
In years past, one of the only ways marketers could reach out to clientele was in person or by asking people to take some time to fill out a questionnaire. These days, most of the hard work is done for you with clientele all but willing to give you as much information as you need.
Just take a look at email lists. Have you ever used an email list?
They are ridiculously easy to set up and to maintain and they provide you with unending opportunities to get to know your clientele. You can offer your clientele offers sent via email if they sign up for your email list. Once they do, make sure to follow through on sending out offers through email.
Utilize that same email list to every once in a while ask a question of your clientele. This will help you to get to know the people you’re already selling to and figure out how you can continue to sell to them.
Not only should you be asking your clientele what it is that they like about you, but you should be looking for any problems with service. Remember that the majority of clients will jump to another business more often for reasons of service than price.
In fact, according to Bain & Company, a customer is 4 times more likely to do business with your competitor for service problems. It is better to know about these problems as early as possible to try and salvage the customers you have and make it even easier to maintain your sales. Taking advantage of email lists can greatly assist you in this realm.
Another way you can utilize the Internet to keep the competitive edge in marketing is to keep a close eye on social media. This is one of the most common arenas in which you will encounter posts regarding dissatisfaction with your service, products or prices.
The reason why this is important is because for every one customer complaint, there are 26 customers that are simply not saying anything, according to Lee Resource. Social media gives you insight into what is actually going on in the mind of your clientele, so you can work harder to maintain their business.
How to Know to Move On
In many instances, regardless of how hard you try, your clientele is simply going to change. Learning how to handle changing clients is much the same as what you would do to retain your existing clientele. In fact, if your clientele has changed, you’re talking about the same thing.
You’re not investing in bringing in new clients. When you’re talking about is maintaining the happiness of your new clients, instead of the old ones. Remember that the ratio between customer retention and decreasing costs is 1 to 5. This means that a 10% decrease in costs will have the same impact on your business as a 2% increase in customer retention.
As you get to know your new clients, find out what brought them to your business.
Did they come because you have better service?
Did they come because you offer the best product on the market?
Getting to know what enticed your new clientele in the first place will help to guide you in your marketing. I wouldn’t maintain the same marketing practice of touting my awesome products if I knew more people chose to switch to my business based on my service acumen.
After all, if your new clients are willing to switch based on this fact, there are many more who will follow. Remember earlier where I said that there are 26 unhappy customers for every one that decides to make a complaint.
This same idea works when it comes to defecting clients. The same thing that attracts one client has the potential to attract 26 more! That’s a hard number to ignore when you’re looking at growing your business.
Naturally, you want to learn how to handle changing clients without alienating your old clientele. This can take a special touch when you have a wide gap in the demographics and social norms between your new and your old clientele.
In many cases, this requires a multi-pronged marketing tactic. Highlight separate parts of the business that interests both sectors and run marketing campaigns based on those. It is important to be sure the different marketing points don’t create confusion about our company and the standards you uphold.
Remember that you can only retain so many people.
Eventually, some of your clientele will transition into new products, or will not be purchasing anything. Decide on which portion of your clientele is most interested in the business and will invest the most money into it over time. This will include certain demographics like income level, interest in the business and more.
Always Concentrate on Service
Remember that according to Defaqto Research, 55% of customers are willing to pay more if a higher level of service is guaranteed. If as a company, that can be achieved, it should be highlighted in every marketing tactic being utilized.
Whether you’re utilizing the Internet, billboards, print or media, you should make sure that service is always at least implied. I know it’s not likely you will want to shove this down the throats of your customers, but a gentle reminder is not going to hurt.
Have you won any awards in service?
If so, including some indication of your award in every advertisement will allow you to show your dedication to service. You won’t even need to mention your service standards at this point. The award will do all the hard work for you. At that point, the company just needs to be sure to maintain that level of service in order to maintain the competitive edge.
If you can go as far as to offer a guarantee on your service, make sure you mention it in every marketing tactic you utilize. This will effectively help you in how to handle changing clients as well.
By assuring everyone you will provide better service in all your advertisements, it automatically instills trust. Whether you provide refunds for poor service, replace items or perform a service again, you need to indicate this. Clients want to know what your guarantee means and how you will stand behind it.
The most important thing is to let your clients know that they are buying into better experiences. You don’t even have to alter the prices of your products. Just make sure that the perception of your clients is that they are paying for service along with the product.
If the product is a lower price, you can highlight how you offer a lower price and superior service. If you have higher prices, simply indicate that you’re offering the best service in the market. Your clients will receive the message that part of what they’re paying for is an elevated level of service.
Stand by Your Claims
Always remember that just offering better service is simply not enough. If you want to maintain the edge, you have to actually provide better service. Even if you offer good service, a refresher course for all employees will not hurt.
Emphasize to them how important this is in retention as well as proper marketing. Let your employees know that for every negative experience that has not been resolved, it takes 12 positive experience to make it up, according to Ruby Newell-Legner.
Your clients are going to change, but the best bet for how to handle changing clients is to impress them from day one. Show them your company is not just all hype. Deliver on the experience they have been promised every time and you will get the results you’re looking for. You will attract new clients looking for better service than what they have received. You will maintain the interest of your current clients. You will also lay the groundwork for increasing prices without your clients balking.
What Have We Learned?
The market is always going to change and as a marketer, you have to learn how to change with it. Doing so will allow you to:
- Maintain the competitive edge in marketing
- Figure out how to handle changing clients
- Utilize increased service standards to attract and maintain clients
- Learn about your existing and new clients
- Market in a more effective way to a more diverse group
Don’t get caught trying to play catch up while your competition leaves you in the dust. Be aggressive in getting to know your existing and new clients. Learn more than just their demographics. Learn what makes them tick. Formulate marketing campaigns that speak to your individual market. Always maintain a focus on reaching out to your clients, so you know when your clientele changes. Doing this will maintain your competitive edge in marketing and assure your company will continue to grow.