Any well seasoned marketing manager or executive knows, attracting customers is the first step of many. Today’s market is ultra competitive. You’re competing with dozens of other companies who are offering the same products and services. Trying to stay on top is a constant struggle. Although technology has revolutionized virtually every aspect of influencing the masses, expanding your customer base and personalizing the overall customer experience, there’s a few wrinkles. Despite putting your best foot forward and utilizing the benefits of all things digital in its entirety, there’s a good chance you might be alienating your customers.
Amid the infinite amount of creative strategies to grab the attention of potential customers, there’s a gray area. A big ol’ question mark of sorts. How much is too much? How far is too far? Are you going to attract the right crowd? Are the marketing campaigns appropriate for your target audience? Once you have their attention, the gates open to a much larger challenge. How do you turn a first time customer into a loyal customer? There are a myriad of avenues to take. It’s a process. In addition to understanding the psychology behind all of it, there’s data to study, statistics, trends to keep up with, etc. The face forward, full speed ahead approach seldom, if ever, works.
Jason Fried, founder and CEO at Basecamp, once said, “Customers don’t just buy a product, they switch from something else. And customers don’t just leave a product, they switch to something else.” Most of us assume the reason why customers switch is they’ve found a bigger and better company or cheaper product, but that’s not always the case. Often times, customers made the switch because they felt alienated.
One of the top reasons why customers feel alienated is because there’s too much focus on digital advertising. Those aggressive ads and the in-your-face approach are shutting out the customers. They don’t want to be talked at and bombarded with information. Customers want a clear path to engage with a brand, prompt and personal replies, and to be treated as an individual.
In a recent Harris Poll Study, Rob Tarkoff, President and CEO of Lithium Technologies, said, “Pushing out ads on social media is the surest way for brands to alienate consumers, especially the younger generations who make up more than 50 percent of the population. That’s a lot of purchasing power, and it’s only going to grow as these generations reach their prime spending years. The promise of social technologies has always been about connecting people, not shouting at them, and the brands that don’t do this risk their very existence.”
As a customer, I can relate to these findings. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve walked away from a company because they completely missed the mark. Last month I visited a local retailer with a list of supplies I needed to complete a small outdoor project. A few items weren’t in stock. I left my contact information. Shortly after, my email lit up with their sales ads. I received several irrelevant text messages. After trying to get through to their customer service several times, I learned the items I had requested had been in stock for over 2 weeks. I was livid and ended up purchasing the remainder of what I needed from another store a few miles away.
My example is one of millions. As time goes on, and the digital world evolves into something much greater than what it is today, new generations of customers will surface. Their needs and wants will change and companies will have to make adjustments in how they present and approach. However, the fundamentals of gaining a customer’s trust, establishing customer loyalty, and not alienating customers will remain intact. What are those fundamentals and how can companies maintain the balancing act without stumbling?
We’ll be discussing that later this week. Stay tuned!