When the cows have gone home; and you are left to reflect on what keeps you in business, you will cut through all the faff and zero in on one thing – your customer. Unless you are Cyrus Poonawala, chances are that you are in some way or the other working on a plan to gain new customers of trying new ideas to make your existing customers spend more with your business. If not, you should be.
Hailing from the advertising business, I am instinctively tuned in to put the customer before everyone else. After years of perfecting the pitch to entice and ensnare customers, one learns that you cannot sell a bad product to the customer more than once. Therefore, the onus of delivering quality always remains with the seller. History has shown us that there is precious little that can replace a quality product, service or idea – with or without advertising.
In fact, word-of-mouth marketing efforts are believed to result in 5 times more sales than paid marketing efforts. It is also a back of the envelope figure that customers are 90% more likely to trust and buy a brand recommended to them by a friend.
The exact reverse applies for a bad product or service. With social media in the equation, botching up on quality would ensure that your chances to stay in business remain slim.
Your customer referral strategy can today work wonders for your business, what with the habit of Googling your brand for reviews being a fairly normal practice among customers nowadays.
One has to ensure that your business gets referrals pretty much during the ‘happy time zone’ when your customer feels excited with the product or service that s/he has purchased from your business. This vote of confidence can easily be relayed across your social media platforms in a bid to build your brand and cash in on happy customer experiences.
Of course, it is not surprising that many businesses have mushroomed now which provide you with fake reviews about your business and there are likes and follows that they purchase for your social media handles. But then, to make this a sustainable effort, there is no substitute to the real deal – quality and nothing less.
Canny customers know when your service receives real reviews. This is where word-of-mouth referrals work best, especially when prospective customers ask their friends about your business or even seek comments on messaging groups. An honest feedback that talks good about the quality of your product or service can lead a customer to your doorstep.
With the dulling of the economy induced by the pandemic, businesses have to measure every rupee that they spend on marketing. In the good old days it was famously uttered by John Wanamaker, a successful US retail store merchant and marketing wizard: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Sadly, this luxury is no more an option available for most marketers, today.
Like in all financial crises, the advertising spend gets slashed first and cash is conserved to run the business. I have always found this logic absurd for the simple reason that advertising would spur on prospective buyers rather than keep your business in the dark – especially in times of an economic challenge. Like the legendary Henry Ford once said: “Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.”
It is in the interest of every entrepreneur, today more than ever before, to put in practice all forms of marketing and mass communication to sell your wares. Be it word of mouth or through paid advertising. The product or service has to be seen and heard off before they fly off the shelves. Needless to mention that sellers must ensure that their products or service will walk the talk when the customer comes calling