Is it Time to Look at your Business Differently?
Innovation and adaptive change aren’t just for lumbering corporations.
With the radical pace at which technology is rolled out today, consumers sometimes make a 180-degree shift in the way the search for, buy, and use your product or service. And if you don’t keep your eye on the ball, you may well lose out.
Here’s why it may already be time to look at your business afresh.
Growing basket of options
Customers have a host of different options when it comes to fulfilling most of their needs. The benefit your service offers may be filled by one or more alternatives in the market, in combination or on their own.
You may need to get a marketing specialist to evaluate your competitiveness and customer perception of your service/product, and to help design a marketing strategy.
Alternatively, investing in marketing automation tools and data support can help you keep track of things and get insights that may not otherwise present themselves.
Time for Change
So, how does your customer make their purchase? And is there a need for you to re-evaluate how you market to them?
For instance, if your clients are making their purchases online, there may be an urgent need to divert marketing dollars from retail store promos to online offers and digital marketing. If they are seeking out reviews by established “expert” bloggers, then reaching out to that channel for free trials may be better than a full colour newspaper or magazine ad.
Equally, if customers see your product as dated, you may need to reposition how you pitch yourself to them. In some cases it might even mean you have to go back to the drawing board and add on a feature that will make your service or product up-to-date or more relevant to the new needs of your target audience.
The Purchase Process: Where is your target audience?
Traditionally, most customers have interacted with a company’s product or service for the first time in person. This could be through a retail store experience, a door to door salesperson, a demo or pop-up stall at their place of work or a mall, among others.
The average target customer for most businesses, is online or on a digital medium in some form. In many cases, especially when it comes to B2C businesses, customers are present on multiple social media channels – notably Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and the new kid on the block, Snapchat.
They are also online hunting down options and ways to solve their problem or fulfill their need on search engines or specialised portals catering to searches on specific segments like food or travel.
Breaking down the decision making
High octane living puts tremendous stress on individuals which can drive some segments to make indulgent purchases seen as “rewards” for their work.
On the other hand, a volatile economic environment and unemployment make purchase decisions a little more complex than before.
Wants and needs
A prospective buyer of your services or products will weigh off the benefits of your product against others, evaluate how much of their current needs it helps meet, and then the intangible aspect of how much they desire or “want” to buy what you are marketing or selling to them.
If you fail to win them over on any of the three aspects, you may not make that sale.
Decisions also come quick for some types of products or services. Consider the time frame the customer has to make the purchase decision in.
If it is an urgent need kind of product, are you enabling them to make the purchase as quickly and easily as possible? Are you present on channels or point-of-sale locations where they are likely to encounter this need?
For longer term decisions, are you able to reconnect with them via mailers or targeted ads online to remind them of your service or product?
Most websites have an integrated ad serving system that can serve up ads based on your history as a visitor.
Google can even use your history across sites to give you more relevant suggestions. Facebook has integrated ads in a user’s newsfeed as well elsewhere, based on your own user behaviour.
Is your business making the most of these tools?
Product and service description
Is your product or service being described adequately and correctly?
As a customer a misleading or unclear description can put you off making a purchase. The description must detail everything a customer may want to know – especially when you are relying on them to self-select at a retail location offline or online.
Your description is your salesperson, so the brief must be complete. Supplementing descriptions online with FAQ or a link to an email helpline is a good idea.
Customers may sometimes be confused about what to buy.
Is there something the business can do to help them make their decision or evaluate benefits over alternatives? Mailers, additional literature, online chat or helplines can all help tide over this confusion to help a prospect arrive at their purchase decision.
Sometimes, the cost of your product may not be in line with customer expectation.
Do you find that your product is only selling when it is on sale?
Dig deeper to find out if it is because that is the perceived value of your product, or if your target audience has cheaper alternatives that meet the same need.
Is there something you can do by way of marketing or building your brand to command the price you want to. Or should you look at lowering costs to make it available at a more customer-friendly price?
Ease of purchase
Is the final leg of the purchase process really complicated for a customer?
As someone with a need to be met, you would want to get through the process as quickly as possible once you have made your decision.
If you are made to jump through hoops by having to fill out long forms, or wait for confirmation or availability of the product or service, you may change your mind. It is important to have different ways the product can be purchased too.
As someone who is averse to credit card usage, would you have the option to pay online via your savings account? Is there an option to pay for the products on delivery? Can the product be picked up at a store after purchase online? Can I add on or make modifications after purchase?
Have a close hard look at how difficult you are making it for the customer to buy. Go through the entire process and see where the hurdles are, then go out and remove them one by one.
Is it time you out yourself in your target shoes and detail the experience?
What could your business do differently to drive sales?
And that’s the Dish. Until next time, Belinda.
I am Belinda Bow
I love all things marketing and I thrive on seeing a business become re-energised and flourish. I am excited about life and I adore my family.
Within these articles, you’ll find some helpful tips and some real guidance to help you make the most of your business, and gain a good understanding of all things marketing.