When Marketing Is “Real People Talking to Real People”
No, we’re not making this up. “Get real,” as a commandment for the uncool, may be a little past its prime. But being authentic still has its perks. One of those perks is the creation of lasting relationships. This idea, actually, is more than a marketing strategy; it’s better as a business philosophy. It’s a shift from the divisions of B2C or B2B to P2P – people to people.
In other words, if you’re focusing on the people you’re trying to reach – the services you sell and offers you devise would not just be seeking a competitive advantage (not anything wrong with that, per se), but would also be delivering a better customer experience (which keeps these customers in your fold). And that’s where the two combine – because a stockpiled database of loyal, immovable customers is a true competitive advantage.
So, if the experience your customers will receive is paramount in your brilliantly crafted marketing offer – and how you can make that experience positive – the relationship starts off on the right foot from the get-go. Which is important, because of this other itty-bitty shift in how things are done.
Who’s In Charge?
Ever walk into a business and wonder “Who’s in charge here?” No more. That’s “ancient history” kind of stuff, actually. The new marketing model looks at reality: Your customer is in charge. He’s the one coming to you with all the research and data he needs for choosing between you and your competitor, and between your good-better-best offers. She’s the one who’s checked all the online reviews of your company and has polled her 500 closest social friends.
Yes, the customer is in charge. Even way back in 2011, surveys showed business customers had completed 57% of their research before they engaged at all with the sales team for the product in question. Most believe that number has only grown higher.
Consumers are more empowered than ever. In fact, you could call them “prosumers,” meaning they’ve got knowledge and know-how of professional buyers. They can go online and drive the conversation in a chat feature. They’re ready to engage any time, any place, from any device or platform, and they expect customer service on their terms.
Do what you need to do. Be responsive (ex: online chat features, auto-responding email, follow-ups by real people). Make it accessible (content that scales to any size device). Make it easy to make a decision (online service/estimate forms, comparison shopping data on your site). Let them contact you by their preferred method (phone call, email, text, chat, social). Be personable. And sometimes…
Get Personal with Prospects
Your customers aren’t shopping for “What do people in my neighborhood and demographic group want?” They want what they want. Personalized messaging is important because … let’s see … is it that you’re selling to persons? Companies sell to people. And people buy from people, not companies.
The goal of people-to-people marketing is to engage decision-makers, build relationships and create emotional connections. Your content is central to this effort. Because you expect educated customers, you want to be the one to provide the education through reports, blogs, videos, benefits, risk reducers and testimonials. Create and publish the kind of relevant, high quality content that helps decision making and clears the way for the closed sale.
Look at the buying experiencing you’re creating – from your customer’s point of view. No matter what investments you make in marketing and customer-relationship technologies, residential contractor sales are typically closed one-on-one in the home. Personal transactions for the most personal space of all.