Your marketing meetings have traditionally had the same staff sitting around the table. Over here is the marketing manager, there a couple of people from the creative side, next to them the branding personnel and then the PR and communications folks, traffic, etc. However what has happened in the past few years is that a new entity has taken its place in the marketing meeting and it is so powerful and persuasive that it essentially can readily overrule the VP of marketing or even the CEO. That new power sitting at the marketing meeting is your consumer, and after decades or even centuries of being a mute, acquiescent, obedient purchaser of products as compelled by the forces of advertising, it is now not only providing input into the definition of how your company must conduct its marketing operation, but effectively determining every aspect of it!
The Consumer Has Greater Impact than the Executives
Companies and consumers are now more or less equal partners in the process of building a brand. It’s “more or less,” as in many cases the consumer has considerably greater impact and influence than the all the company’s executives put together. Today’s consumer is not going to be told what to buy, it is telling the company what to manufacture to please them! This factor represents the ultimate turning of the essence of conventional marketing on its head.
1 Negative Story about Your Brand = Bottom Line Impact
In order to please this consumer, it becomes imperative to serve every imaginable need in a responsive, responsible and prompt fashion. The customer must be kept happy literally at all costs due to the development of peer commentary as a key element of a purchasing decision-making process. While in the Stone Age of marketing a disgruntled consumer could be counted upon to badmouth the company to a fairly limited contingent of friends and family, a customer who has been dealt with unfairly by a brand in today’s social media
cyberverse can easily impact thousands of prospective buyers of your products around the world. Since more than two thirds of all consumers around the world are now relying more than ever on reviews and comments by other customers just like themselves prior to making the purchasing decision, it only takes one negative story floating around about your brand to make a sizeable impact on your total bottom line.
¼ of All Companies Don’t Bother with Post-Purchase Contact
It seems that there is a significant proportion of online marketers who are blind to this massively important element of modern marketing. About a quarter of all companies don’t even bother to solicit input from customers once they have gone through checkout! This is tantamount to formally informing your customer that now that they’ve purchased from you once, you really don’t care if they ever do so again. This “don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out” is possibly the most counterproductive marketing misstep committed by a huge number of major brand online marketers!
Coherent Touchpoints Are Key to Customer Acceptance
The consumer is seeking from your company the provision of a seamless experience at every stage through the brand familiarization aspects all the way to the checkout and beyond. Every single instance where the customer comes into contact with your brand is a touchpoint, and they should all portray your business in a harmonious and coordinated manner.
Disney is a great example of this coherent touchpoint strategy as no matter where you come into contact with that brand you are exposed to the same basal concept of magic, a commitment to the essence of the company that extends to the architecture of its Team Disney headquarters building where the places of the pylons holding up the semi-classical façade are taken up by the Seven Dwarfs!
In this social media age, the customer is no longer a faceless number in the virtually endless stalls of cash cows, but a powerful force that must be listened to and obeyed. Don’t fear the new presence at the marketing meeting, welcome it with open arms!