Archive for the ‘Sales’ Category
As technology – particularly advances in the capabilities of, and access to, the internet – improves so many of our lives in countless ways, we should not forget that ‘traditional’ means of seeking information and making purchases may still very much have a place.
According to recent research findings from UK-based telecommunications company Invomo, companies which fail to provide telephone interaction risk alienating their customers.
The study of 3,000 adult consumers suggested that nearly 40% of customers insist on making purchases by telephone rather than online, stating that more than a quarter felt more confident when ordering through a call centre and one in five found it more convenient to call than use the internet.
Nick Wiley, CEO of Invomo, said: “Companies that only have a web strategy for servicing orders could be missing out on a significant proportion of business. Making sure customers don’t have to hunt the length and breadth of a web site for a contact number and offering a ‘call me back’ option could be a good start to reduce lost orders. Looking beyond short-term fixes, how many companies’ web and call centre operations are gearing up to customers who want their suppliers to really earn their loyalty and have faith in their own ability to deal with these street wise callers?”
Find out what your customers really think of your company. Do they find it easy to reach you? Can they easily access all the information they need to enable them to make a purchase decision? What makes them choose you over your competitors?
Our customer satisfaction research can help you to ensure you continue to meet their changing needs and increase the likelihood of them buying more from you in the future.
Many marketers have been feeling the strain this year as their budgets and resources have come under increased pressure and increased scrutiny from senior management. But achieving more with less is not impossible, and can actually have some positive effects…
Budget cuts and recessionary demands have resulted in more businesses focusing on marketing accountability and measurement, as well as improved collaboration between marketing and other organizational departments (i.e. finance), according to the fifth annual Marketing Accountability Survey.
The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Marketing Management Analytics (MMA) study spoke to 95 senior-level marketers over the summer. Although the small sample size should be noted, some interesting findings include:
Almost half (46%) of respondents are satisfied with the impact of their marketing efforts on sales/ROI, twice as high a response as last year. The survey also highlighted a greater appreciation of marketing efforts by senior management.
To find out more about effective marketing strategies in a recession, please click here to read our free e-book.
Most of you reading B2B International’s blog will be marketers of b2b products and services. But how often do you think about those end consumers? They may not be able to buy your products in stores, but there is a school of thought which says that if you do market your business-to-business product or service to consumers, you could create new demand from potential business partners.
So says ‘B-to-B-to-C’, an interesting article in September 30 issue of Marketing News.
The article reminds us that behind the face of many consumer products and services, there’s a business-to-business brand that distinguishes the product from the competition. These b2b ‘ingredient’ brands all help to create the product that the end consumer is ultimately looking for. Some b2b brand managers therefore market to consumers, hoping that if end-users care about their brands, business partners will embrace them and promote them.
If this is a route you wish to go down – and there can be little doubt that this is a bold strategy to adopt – there are no hard and fast rules as to how much of your marketing budget should be allocated to the different business and consumer marketing efforts. Indeed, if not done correctly, marketing your b2b brand directly to consumers can be a very easy way to spend a lot of money with very little return.
A good starting point is – as always – thorough research. Research can demonstrate to you whether your brand possesses a distinct value and whether it could impact positively on a consumer brand’s profile and price point. If this is the case, consumer marketing may be an option for your b2b brand.
Try to convince your b2b client to promote your brand on their product: this will make your b2b ‘ingredient’ matter to consumers. Just make sure that your ingredient brand’s stand-out attribute is clearly explained to the end consumers so you can ultimately encourage them to demand products that possess your brand. To do this, its distinctiveness needs to resonate with end users, so make sure your research shows that consumers see the value of your brand. A segmentation study may, for example, determine which types of consumers would be attracted to your brand offering.
The article finishes with some words of advice for anyone doing B-to-B-to-C marketing: You need to help the consumer products brandishing your ingredient to succeed. Put simply, if they win, you win.
In her first Thursday Night Insight contribution, Research Executive Afshan Bhatti sheds some light on becoming a Jedi Master of Social Influence and how an understanding of six basic psychological principles can greatly benefit us in becoming better persuaders both in our working and personal lives.
As I sit here reluctantly watching Stars Wars for the second time today with my nephew, my mind starts to wander – Luke Skywalker gained the ultimate form of compliance: he persuaded Darth Vader to turn against the evil emperor, saving his own life in the process as well as restoring hope and peace to the galaxy. Okay so we’re not trying to save the world, but surely the principles of persuasion are the same even if in this case it was in a galaxy far, far away. So, I found myself asking just what are these weapons of influence and how can they be used to help our attempts to be a major force in our industry?
Stop and think for a moment – how many times during the past day has someone tried to change your mind? The answer may well be a surprise as it’s quite clear that each day we are bombarded with numerous efforts of this type. Radio and television adverts, newspapers and magazine ads, people on the phone or knocking at your door… The list is endless. Persuasion, it would seem, is at the very core of any marketing strategy and an understanding of the psychology behind it not only gives us a fascinating insight into people but also helps us to develop marketing strategies to effectively reach the consumer.
One of the most potent weapons of influence is Reciprocation. Put simply, if someone does something for us, we feel obligated to return the favour. I mean ladies, how many times have you been approached by the always-smiling, friendly makeup girl and, before you know it, you’re sitting in the chair being shown the latest makeup trends and treated to “free” samples. “Why not?” I hear you say. True, but before long, you find yourself tangled in the natural indebting force inherent in a “free makeup lesson” and somehow, yet again, you’re walking away with another high-gloss smudge-proof 24-hour power lipstick you just didn’t need. As a marketing technique this is very effective as even someone like me, who is very aware of the “non-existence” façade claiming the intention to inform, falls for it hook, line and sinker!
Another effective strategy is Scarcity, which implicitly tells us “what is scarce is good.” It’s a basic human desire to want what we can’t have, and the feeling of missing out on something apparently “this good” influences us to take action. I mean we only have to turn on the television and there we have it, advertisers informing us that their products are available for a “limited time only” or “sale ends tomorrow”. This technique is very effective for getting procrastinators to take action immediately or risk missing out. A prime example was on a recent shopping trip. I saw a dress I liked but, since I’d purchased two already, I was in two minds about purchasing a third. So I thought to myself “I can always come back another time”, but then I found out it was the only one left in the store, and yes, you guessed right – I just had to have it. The possibility of losing something was too much to bear (yes even a dress can elicit this feeling!) and is more of a powerful motivator than it is gaining something.
The tendency to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it is referred to as Social Proof. This feeling of security is something that marketers want to elicit in the consumer as it will increase their chances of purchasing products or using services. If others are doing it, then it must be the right thing to do. This principle of influence kicks in even more strongly when the situation is uncertain or people aren’t sure what to do. When you can show them what others like themselves believe or are doing, people are more likely to take the same action. Savvy marketers make use of positive experiences of satisfied customers (aka testimonials) to induce prospects to buy their products or use their services. Sometimes it pays to brag about your accomplishments and popularity!
Liking as the next principle should be no surprise. I mean we are more likely to say yes and be persuaded by those we like and trust. Build relationships with your clients, be transparent, use various outlets to show people who you are and connect with your audience. The more you put yourself out there, the more people will like you. The more people like you, the more influence you’ll have. It’s as simple as that.
We, as humans, are programmed to listen and respond to an Authority figure and place great trust in them. We are more likely to be influenced by someone of this status than anyone else. Take, for example, this month’s In Style magazine. The adverts always have the latest revolution in haircare products endorsed by famous celebrities (who, of course, have the glossiest, shiniest hair known to man) accompanied by a testimonial from a leading hairdresser to the stars. Now I, for one, perceive these as experts in haircare, hanging on to their every word – which ends up burning another hole in my pocket as I find myself purchasing not 1 but all 5 miracle hair products that work in sync with each other and “must” be utilised together to get salon type results.
Finally the last principle is Commitment And Consistency. That is, people are more likely to go along with something if they perceive it as aligned with commitments they have already made. This drive to be consistent constitutes a highly potent weapon of social influence. Socially and culturally, it’s important that we are viewed as people who stick to their word, who make consistent choices and who can be understood on the basis of past actions. Inconsistent people can be seen as difficult, flaky, unreliable and undesirable. Clearly, in any society, consistency is a valuable trait, and the need to appear consistent, especially in business, is paramount.
The six principles act as the foundation for the majority of successful social influence strategies. Our ability to persuade others to our way of thinking is one of the most important and indispensable skills that we must learn and master. With it, we can climb the corporate ladder, win new clients, advance our business forward, and convince our partner to our way of thinking . Conversely, without it, we are merely lost souls at the mercy of external forces that control our every decision and action.
Finally, if I haven’t succeeded in persuading you, consider the words of Donald Trump "Study the art of persuasion, practice it and develop an understanding of its profound value across all aspects of life." If it’s good enough for Donald then it’s good enough for me!!!
An interesting article appeared recently on AdAge.com. Apparently the major U.S. pizza chains now do around 20% to 30% of their business online, but are keen to make that figure climb a lot higher.
While this story clearly relates to consumer markets and may not have any obvious relevance to b-to-b organizations, the reasons why these pizza chains are so keen to improve and increase their online transactions are of potential interest to companies across the board.
The online customers of the major pizza chains spend more and are more satisfied than non-online customers. Those who order their food online are also more likely to take advantage of special promotions used to drive interest in new products. As an added bonus, serving online customers is more efficient for each individual store.
Pizza Hut expects to do $1 billion in online sales by the end of 2012, which would be an immense increase from $100 million in May 2007. Domino’s, meanwhile, claims that its average online buyer spends $2 more than its customers who order by phone or in person.
According to Google’s director of local and B-to-B markets, the major pizza chains have all been quick to take advantage of shifting spending from traditional media to banner ads and search engine optimization.
They are also constantly looking for ways to help their customers place their orders more quickly – whether they are first-time users setting up an account or return visitors wishing to repeat a past order.
So, while you may not be looking to sell pizzas, their experiences may give you some food for thought.