Who are Your Customers – Really?
I’m being the Grinch – reminding you that there will be no Christmas if you don’t plan and don’t track. And, if you don’t plan and don’t track, you can’t complain about what happens to your business!
Part 3 of getting the Grinch to go away is actually two parts:
a: defining your true customer base
b: marketing to those customer segments.
The Bull’s Eye is your client base – these are people and companies who are loyal to you and you are loyal to them. Generally clients are part of your recurring revenue programs (maintenance clients, club members, etc.) They know
and trust you. They will read your marketing messages in slow and busy times. Your clients are likely to buy as long as you give them a good reason to.
The next ring out is your customer base – these are people and companies who have purchased from you in the past; perhaps many times. There is NO loyalty. They may use you again. They may see a competitor’s ad and try that company the next time. They may read your marketing messages because they have familiarity with your company; especially when those messages are frequent (but not annoyingly constant). The goal is to turn customers into clients.
The third ring out is prospects – these are people who have communicated with in the past but have not purchased yet. They may have asked for a proposal, inquired about your pricing, or received a marketing message from you in the past. They probably will not read marketing messages except in times of need.
The fourth ring out is suspects – these are people who may or may not know about your company but could be customers (demographics are right). They have no trust, don’t know you and won’t read your marketing messages unless it is hot or cold and they have a need.
Last is the general population – these are the people who may or may not ever use your company. They haven’t heard about you. They could never be customers. This is an unfocused group scattered throughout your marketing area and beyond.
Your marketing activities should start with clients and if there is enough money in the budget, move to customers, then to prospects, and if there is money left, then to suspects. Marketing to the general population is almost always a waste of money because the results are tiny. Leave general marketing to the manufacturers who have “big bucks” and can afford the expense of general population marketing.
Look at your client, customer, and prospect bases – how many are in each category?
Next, determine what marketing activities you plan for 2019. What worked in 2018? What didn’t? How do you know?
Tracking is the only way to know for sure. If you haven’t tracked in the past, then a goal for 2019 is to track your marketing results.
Marketing takes time to show great results:
One of my clients “bit the bullet” three years ago and put together a real plan and executed the plan. The first year the results weren’t great. But, he kept going. The second year the results were better. He was even more encouraged. The third year, this year, his comment to me was, “It takes three years to really see results.” New customers, retained customers, and profits have increased dramatically. He’s finally seeing the results of three years of effort.
Remember to have patience when results aren’t stellar the very first time. You will see results. Invest in marketing. It does work.
Now for your 2019 marketing plan:
Take a simple Excel spread sheet – put the activities you want to do on the Y axis, segmenting by customer type, and the weeks of the year on the X-axis. Then put an “x” in the box of the week you will execute a marketing activity.
Post this sheet to remind you (and everyone who sees it) what the marketing plan is for 2019. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like a copy of a sample marketing sheet.