What is the reason that pushes companies to the frantic conquest of new customers? Securing more and more revenue to support the business, of course.
The very word "target" cries it: people are seen as a target, to shoot arrows at. But it is an increasingly tiring and expensive task, with no guarantee of ROI.
Because of the complexity we live in, with countless choices enabled by digital, advertising ends up bouncing off us. It can no longer win us over.
That's why companies need to rethink the way they cultivate their relationships: customers (but also employees and collaborators) are no longer cows to milk, but partners.
Most Marketing courses focus on acquisition, not retention. The paradox is that the best Marketing tool is precisely a loyal customer: in fact, they bring important, positive word of mouth.
I studied successful companies closely, and I’ve tried to figure out their strategy: in my book, I summarized all that with an acronym, SPEEDO (CARDIO). I think they have exploited a very important concept: being loved is the most inimitable competitive advantage. The quality or the price of a product are no longer enough to make the difference: what you really need is a relationship of love with your audience.
The SPEEDO (CARDIO) method
SPEEDO (CARDIO) is an acronym that stands for Study, Picture, Engage, Eavesdrop, Delight, and Orient. I'm not saying it's an infallible recipe, but it do contain good ingredients that will make you loved. Let's see them together:
Our world is changing at the speed of light, so continuous learning is recommended. You can do this on educational platforms such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), on Udemy, with podcasts (e.g. Business Podcasts) or even with the “culture budget” your company might provide.
Employees are the heart of a company and the happier, trained and satisfied they are, the more productive and creative they will become. COPAN, for example, cares a lot about them: among other things, it created Up2Go, a car sharing app for its employees.
What sets you apart you from your competitors? Tell your own story: you can do it with videos and through customer advocacy, perhaps using your employees as testimonials (e.g. Sabaf).
Social networks as well can be managed in a unified way with platforms such as Postpickr, tools that will bring you closer to your customers, if used in the right way. But to achieve an effective communication, upstream there must be a proper management of corporate content. And to do that, you need a Saas DAM such as THRON.
With this tool, you can control the entire lifecycle of content. AI engines classify all of it with tags, and organize it into an intelligent cloud archive where everything is easily retrievable; from it, you can automatically distribute content across all channels. Thanks to a built-in Intelligence, THRON can measure content performance and enrich the profiles of your contacts (even of the anonymous ones), with the interests they have expressed with the way the use content, and finally, it creates personalized recommendations according to this data.
It is essential to put the customer first (just like Starbucks did, and not the product), engage them and make them feel like a protagonist.
This can be done starting with co-design: this is what the National Theatre does, welcoming suggestions from programmers. That’s true for experience too: the success of the ice-cream maker Roberto Gelato, in Holland, is striking. During his workshops, children live unforgettable moments.
Other effective strategies include gamification, and the use of chatbots that contribute in the creation of a fluid experience. One of the pioneers was KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which started using chatbots in 2010. And don’t forget that social networks should not be used as a showcase for your brand’s ego, but to listen to users and provide a service.
The use of AI-based CRMs to capture impressions, feelings and anomalies is also very useful. Such a tool should not only be used to plan business meetings, but also to offer a single view of the customer and better understand them. A good CRM allows you to break down data silos, by sharing user information collected across all touchpoints, and aligning the whole company in a customer centric perspective.
Before providing answers and solutions, find out what your users’ real needs are. For example, in 2014 Plasmon launched a new palm oil-free cookie with the hashtag #welistenedtoyou, answering to the concerns of mothers.
For this reason, it’s important to collect feedback from your users through questionnaires (via mail, sms, whatsapp), reviews, web analytics tools (e.g. Hotjar, that creates a map of the customer's path within your website), but you must also know how to handle complaints.
After all, only one out of nine dissatisfied customers takes the trouble to make a complaint: if they do, it is because they care about you, so you are still in time to convince them to change their mind.
We should always offer our customers experiences exceeding their expectations: basically, we want them to say "wow"! This also applies to B2B.
Small wow gestures are very useful in customer care and post complaint: an example is the letter from Santa Claus that Amazon wrote to a child whose gift arrived late, with an additional Christmas-themed Barbie as a gift.
It is important to inspire and motivate people by demonstrating the values, culture and vision that make the company unique. An example is Laura's Garden of Thoughts by Geico Taikisha, a real meditation area for the whole community in which the company and its employees is inserted in: cultural, educational and entertainment initiatives are held there, and creativity can run free.
Making the hearts of your customers race is the core of business: if you don't take care of them, someone else will!