Until now we've tended to focus on issues which look at the bigger picture. For most businesses their most common pressing need is to get more clients. So let's look at this in more detail. This article is not about advertising. That comes later. This is the work required to ensure advertising and publicity targets your most desirable prospects, who can then become the sort of customers you really value. Not all customers are good customers - some are more valuable than others.
First, you need to profile the ideal customers. There are likely to be several segments of prospects. You should ask the following sorts of questions:
- Who would benefit from the business' products/services?
- Who is likely to purchase the business' products/services?
- What type of prospect would be most profitable to the business?
- What type of prospect could be acquired cost-effectively?
- What type of prospect would be most loyal?
Hopefully, you and your team should have quite a good feel for most of these questions.
The next step is to develop an acquisition campaign. Determine the value proposition for targeted prospect segment(s) and identify the cost-effective marketing channels to acquire them as
customers. The 4Ps of marketing are product, price, place (distribution) and promotion.
Assuming it is an existing product (or service) consider any variations that might be made, e.g. additional features or image enhancement, to improve the customer perceived value proposition. Think of how car manufacturers periodically offer feature enhancements for the same price or how drinks and other consumer goods are re-packaged or given added features such as collecting tokens to earn a gift.
With price, a straight cut is the most obvious change. However, that is not the most effective for many products and services. It may be more effective to consider adding something such as 'free support for two years' at the same price point, or a 'buy 2 get 1 free' campaign.
Place will depend heavily on the channels appropriate to the target group. You might consider motivating dealers with enhanced commissions or making the product more widely available through giveaways of small consumables in shopping malls. Offer referral incentives to existing customers.
For promotion, consider marketing vehicles such as:
- Personal contact
- Direct mail (postcards, flyers, newsletters)
- Telemarketing (inbound, outbound)
- Advertising (print, outdoor, radio, broadcast-depending on the size of the business)
- Websites and online advertising (banner ads, pop-ups, email)
- Referral and alliance/partnership programs
- Sponsorships and events
Consider running a customer advisory board with prospects to determine their needs and preferences.
Implementing the campaign sounds simple - you've done the hard work. But you have to time activities so they complement and support each other. You have to ensure necessary resources and training are in place.
You may want to micro or trial test, or do a soft launch to start with. Finding potential issues early helps avoid problems. Problems can even arise when your plan is more successful than you had envisioned. You may also develop incentive programs to support the marketing activities.
When you've done all of this, there is one more key step - and it needs to be implemented from the start. You need to monitor the success of the campaign. If you don't measure it, how will you know it's effect?
Track the success of the program throughout the rollout using metrics such as customer acquisition rates (response and conversion) and acquisition costs. Establish systems and processes to track sales by channel. Modify programs as necessary and continue the rollout.