Marketing SPIN is a thing of the past

Well, I guess the current political environment has done one positive thing for consumers and industrial buyers.  The joke about how do you know when a politician is lying….  when his/her mouth is moving, can now be said about Marketers. A webinar I attended and a recent survey stated that 70 -75% of buyers don’t believe any of the marketing messages or claims presented by vendors!  How has this come about?  Two simple reasons, the potential buyer is now better educated, and now has the ability to access information about topics, companies, and product or services that they never had before.

As I have stated previously, the seller-buyer model has changed.  Before, companies pretty much “controlled” what was being disseminated, guarded what was distributed, with little additional information available to the potential buyer (unless you knew someone in the company that you were researching). Today the model is basically upside down. Buyers (both consumers and business) are in control and not only have access to the Internet, but social media now provides viral information about companies, issues, products and services and very importantly, how they are being treated by these companies (customer satisfaction).

So if your company is being viewed as less then positive or is moving into the category of not being believed, what do you do?

A number of social marketing leaders suggest, “Make information to your customers and potential customers relevant.” Others say listen to what is being said about your company and respond positively not defensively. Others say focus on the way your products or services address the customer’s issues and others would say, reorganize your entire marketing organization to mirror today’s environment.

Let’s look at these ideas in some more detail:

1-      Relevancy:    I agree, buyers don’t want to receive information that has nothing to do with what they care about.   But this is good old marketing 101- customer segmentation.  So if you are not focusing on your targeted audience, you will definitely be perceived as non-relevant and hence not being believed.

2-      Respond to customer’s statements:  Isn’t it amazing how many companies do not seem to care what is being said about what the customers are saying!   I would suggest two action items; one, as a minimum start monitoring the social media circuits and respond positively to your audience and second, understand that your audience is not just the end user, but your channels (your own sales force, resellers, distributors, etc).  All have relevant information about what is working and what is not working…listen to them all.

3-      Address customer’s real issues:  Again marketing 101, but too many times I see companies introducing a product or service just because it sounds neat, but does not address a market need.

4-      Reorganize marketing:  Seems sort of a strong statement, but I would definitely look at your marketing organization and analyze it to see if you are paralleling your functions with those of today’s customer’s habits and methods.

Well that is what some of the “experts” are recommending.  While I agree with the concepts, I would state that they are basic marketing best practices, so if you are not doing these in some form or another, you will end up in the “not being believed” group.

My suggestions are not new and to be honest just makes good common sense; make the customer HAPPY or in today’s terminology – customer satisfaction!

Go back to the old expression that the customer is always right. If he is dissatisfied with the product or service, make it right; don’t put them through a million hoops just to wear him out.  If they have issues, assume they have issues and address them.  If your product or service does not perform the way you stated it would or if there is a bug in the software or a quality issue, admit it and tell the customer they are right and that you will fix it versus giving them a million reasons why their issue is not applicable.

You will be amazed how honesty overcomes most short falls.  Now, I know some are saying that this approach can be costly.  My response is it more costly than losing customers or worse, losing your good will?? 

The choice is yours. Be part of the group that is not believable or stand out in the crowd as a company who knows about their customer and actually partners them in their business.

RHL 12/07/10 

2 comments to Marketing SPIN is a thing of the past

  • Jim Matorin

    Dick:

    Excellent post. I had to read it a second time. Your thought about reorganizing marketing piqued my interest. However, even though I think marketing should champion a company’s social media initiatives, I am beginning to realize that a company needs to develop its voice by forming a team of people across several departments to really make an authentic committment in this space. A true connection with its consumers.

    Jimmy

  • Jim
    I agree with your idea. My actual experience has proven that customer satisfaction MUST start at the top because as you stated it makes the committment actual. Second, there should be “training” that points out that everyone in a company impacts customer satissfaction.
    Dick

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