The thought process among many is that all businesses need to continue to develop and grow otherwise they will eventually be seen to have died or; competitors will be preferred by those target market sectors that we generating revenues for the organisation. In consulting we look at various parameters within the business such as …

  • Lead Generation
  • New Products & Services
  • Ideal Client Profiling
  • Digital Marketing Strategy Development
  • Business Branding
  • Customer Sati9sfaction

… and various other factors that can be thrown into the mix to determine how the business is to develop or why it is not !! For the purpose of this post let’s focus on some stated parameters in order to break this oh so important topic down so that the relevant takeaways can be utilised with immediate effect.

Develop Brand Equity

The Equity Of The Brand of an organisation enables the company to accomplish certain things within the market place that it would not otherwise have been able to do if the Brand Equity is not as high as it happens to be within the mind of the customer. We focus on what we consider to be the four main components of this business fundamental and that is …

  1. Customer Loyalty
  2. Perceived Quality
  3. Awareness
  4. Associations

One can see that 1) and 2) can be classified as based on the transactional nature of the relationship with the clients; this will tell us how we performing in relation to the competition. Having regular meetings based around these parameters and working towards building these metrics into the organisation will work on this aspect of the Brand Equity. Considering Parts 3) & 4) we one is able to determine that this is focused more on the outbound marketing and development of the core Value Propostion of the company. This is to ensure that this is continuously and effectively communicated to channel partners, customers, media and relevant parties using defined marketing promotion channels as appropriate.

Refine Customer Understanding

A main contributory factor leading to …

  • The loss of a major customer or of
  • Not being able to penetrate a market segment or the
  • Failure of a new product introduction

… can be traced to the lack of understanding of the target market customer. If a customer is already on board it is imperative to have processes and procedures in place that will aid in building on the needs, wants and expectations of the client base in order to always be on hand to present solutions and services that will change according to ongoing market driven requirements.

Digital channel Marketing

In consulting and training one of the things we strive to highlight is that of Applying Channel Marketing Principles To That Of Digital Marketing – in this case social media is a subset of digital marketing and within the social media marketing sub channel we can further segment to specific paths to reach the customer. It is important to take time out and utilise the data and information gathered in understand the customer and apply this to marketing activities within the social media marketing arena. This approach will drive which platforms and made use of, the type of content that is generated along with the frequency of output, the connection and a whole host of parameters that are necessary in order to drive an effective digital marketing campaign.

Email Marketing Strategies

If we have learned anything from recent changes in social media platform algorithms it is that as business owners and marketers we need to be in as much control as possible of how and when we are able to communicate with our pool of target market prospects. Leaving the decision as to whether or not our message is displayed to customers or having to solely rely on search engine ranking positioning [yes businesses should be continually engaging in search engine marketing and paid advertising should be a part of the marketing mix] is not something that is totally recommended. Put another way, as soon as it is possible we advocate developing a direct communication path with the customers and using email is a tried and tested method that will bypass other paths. All digital, direct, print, radio, tv etc, etc marketing should have a goal of getting the prospect to exchange their email address so that further marketing, promotions and product / service related education may be provided directly to email inboxes.

Build The Business Networking Contacts

Through the internet and via contacts, acquaintances & [ex] colleagues the business owners should continually be looking for how the company can be expanded through the link that can be made through the contacts built up within the rolodex. Always be on the lookout for connections and for how you can provide the opportunity to another business to expand and offer their products and services through one of your contacts. In this way you will be remembered and the contacts made on the internet can be brought to life and translated into real revenue generation.

Even if your business has an established customer base, the only way to continue to grow your business is by keeping your customers interested and happy as well as generating new leads into the business, one of the way of doing this is to make use a social media and digital marketing system that connects with clients for your business. These happy customers, in turn, produce more customers by way of positive reviews and word of mouth recommendations – not to mention feeding your bottom line with their repeat business. If you want to build and maintain customer relationships, try these 4 valuable customer retention strategies.

Blogs : Consumers love to keep up with the news. No matter what type of business you run, keeping an updated blog that focuses on your company and industry news will keep your customers interested in your product.

Blogs allow you to reach limitless readers, and they are automatically targeted by searches relevant to your industry or location. You can also use your blog to promote new products, sales, or upcoming events so your customers can stay involved in your business.

Sites like Blogger and WordPress offer beautiful blog templates that are simple to set up and easy to keep updated. Make it easy for your customers and potential customers to follow you online by linking your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts to your blog.

Also, invite your readers to post their comments and make sure you respond to them in a timely manner so your customers feel their opinions are valued.

Loyalty Programs : The majority of any company’s income comes from repeat customers; that’s because it takes more advertising dollars to gain new customers than it does to keep your current ones.

So it only makes sense to focus on retention. Adding value to your existing customer’s experiences will keep them coming back and loyalty programs are an inexpensive way to accomplish this goal.

Discounts or free products will always appeal to customers who love your products and services. Therefore, keep implementing different types of rewards programs should go a long way in generating repeat sales from your existing customers.

Questionnaires & Surveys : Every customer has an opinion and, whether good or bad, they want to share that opinion. Offering questionnaires & surveys to your customers helps them feel involved in your company and lets them express their needs and wants.

When you design and offer surveys to your customers, be sure to show them their opinions are valued by taking steps to implement their suggestions where viable, or by offering to remedy any negative situation they may share with you.

Social Media Marketing

There is no denying social media has an effect on everyone with a computer or smart phone. When you invite your customers to interact with your business through social media accounts like Twitter, FourSquare, or Facebook, you keep your name close at hand while gaining valuable insight into your customer’s needs and wants. Assign one tech-savvy person to manage your media accounts and be sure to encourage your employees to interact with your customers while showing genuine concern for their opinions.

Remember, if you are not retaining your customers, you are losing them. By implementing these 4 valuable customer retention strategies, you will continue to build your business by taking a proactive role in influencing your customer’s desire to stay with you.

One of the programs that I run in companies and in public seminars is that of Business To Business Branding [Marketing & OEM Development]. Why is this topic so much in demand ? Because in the interconnected world and economy that we live in, more and more business are dependant on selling their Products and Services to other businesses. That is to say, the bulk of the marketing activities are focusses on individual customers within other companies as opposed to final end user individual consumers.

The point to be highlighted is that there are specific differences and complexities when it comes to the branding and marketing process as related to selling to other companies. Most marketing material and branding specifics are based on targetting end user consumers.

Let’s briefly explore this further in terms of the sale of television sets.

Business To Consumer : The electrical outlet store is focussed on selling A TV to the couple, student or individual – they may focus on how they television will look in their home, how easy it is to use and how they can maybe spread the cost over a period of time.

Business To Business : Or OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] situations where a TV manufacturer is selling its TV sets to other businesses, they may rebrand and sell to the end user or sell as is to the end user on a distribution basis. The focus of the branding and marketing efforts are on the needs of the BUSINESS that is performing the rebranding or that will be distributing the televisions regionally, nationally or globally. The sale quantities will be in the 1000s or 10000s, focus will be on supply chain, on time delivery and of the quality of the Tvs. The decision whether or not to purchase will depend on group decisions within the purchasing company – as opposed to the individual who purchased the television for their living room.

These basis distinctions above is fed into the Brand Equity equation and we work through this throughout the training based around Business To Business Marketing And Branding.

Hope you found this useful, feel free to get in touch if you have any comments or if you would like to take on some Business to Business Consulting or Training within your organisation.

To your business to business marketing and branding success,

-Stephen C Campbell

PS : For a summary of the Business to Business Marketing & Branding seminar and            consulting process that I employ visit Business Branding & Marketing Consulting Process.