Guest Post by Adam Beck, Director of Marketing at CADENAS PARTsolutions
It was not long ago that the way to reach potential customers was a very narrow, strategic arsenal. In ‘the good ole days’ you could buy a billboard, a magazine ad or, if you were really looking to make a splash, a radio or television ad. These strategies were both wildly expensive and extremely inaccurate. For every person within your target group you could reach, you would also hit hundreds for whom your product is completely irrelevant. Plus, there was a finite amount of “marketing” real estate available. Once all the magazine pages were full, that’s it; they’re gone.
That has all changed. Thanks to the internet, consumers are bombarded with marketing like never before. With Google and Facebook, consumers are targeted like never before. Humans are force-fed content which is built in a lab and strategically tailored to our age, gender, location, job title, marital status and blood type. Are we buying more stuff? Not necessarily. Are we becoming immune to traditional marketing? Yes indeed.
Now that the consumers have the power to choose when, where, how and why they will purchase, all a manufacturer can do is hope and wait. That is, unless a manufacturer flips the script and seizes the opportunity to “market” less and “deliver” more. Companies who realize that customer service and satisfaction are the antidote to marketing fatigue are delivering sales success by focusing on customer value. A consumer, who can smell a sales-pitch from a mile away, will become a “raving fan” when a company goes above-and-beyond to deliver an amazing customer experience.
What does customer-service-as-marketing look like?
Zappos basically invented the idea of modern customer service as a marketing initiative. Amazing experience can mean something different to everyone. They are known for delivering customer value in the hyper-competitive shoe market by offering free return shipping and overnight delivery. This is a huge differentiator in their space. People NEED to try on shoes before they buy but paying $10 per pair to ship each way is a non-starter. By offering free two-way shipping they remove barriers to purchase and enable customers to find the shoe that fits in the comfort and privacy of their home.
Zappos also makes “picking up the phone” a priority. Their customer support number is prominently displayed so people can easily reach them, and that’s when the “wow” begins. Their helpful team is empowered to do whatever needs to be done (within reason) to ensure a great experience. This is typically built around returns and expedited shipping. Zappos hardly spends a dime on promotional marketing, but their approach blows customers away. When a customer is successfully “wowed” they will brag and mention their experience again-and-again (aka. word of mouth marketing).
How does an industrial manufacturer deliver an amazing digital customer experience?
Sure, you say, it’s easy for a huge B2C online retailer to deliver “wow”, but what can an industrial manufacturer do? Bringing it a bit closer to home, Brennan Industries delivers customer value by providing a buffet of digital information, tools and support.
- Providing unique tools tailored for their audience. Brennan sells industrial fittings. Clients don’t always know the best way to identify the size and threads of the fitting in their hand or in their design. So, Brennan created an easy-to-use Thread ID & Measurement Guide, which walks anyone through the process to determine what size fitting they are looking at. This is a great example of solving a customer problem with a unique tool and perspective.
- Detailed product data on-demand. Brennan sells fittings to many industries, all of which need detailed engineering data about the products they purchase. This data takes the form of configured PDF data sheets, 3D previews and downloadable CAD models. Brennan has made this data easily accessible and on-demand for anyone on their website, ensuring their customers can quickly get the accurate data they need to make an informed buying decision and get back to their project. Win-win.
- Customization. Brennan sells a wide variety of off-the-shelf solutions, but they can also build a tailored solution for a specific application. By adding customization, Brennan is differentiating themselves from the pack and becoming an indispensable partner for their clients now and into the future.
The moral of the story: Talk to your customers about what they need to do their jobs better and find a way to deliver. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every step you take to make your customer’s life easier will pay dividends in customer retention and word-of-mouth advertising.
This blog is courtesy of Adam Beck, Director of Marketing for CADENAS PARTsolutions. Check out their website to learn more about the added value they provide Brennan.