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Treasure Hunt Sales and Marketing
December 09, 2011
Treasure Hunt Sales and Marketing
Your sales and marketing plan is all about introducing your customers to a treasure of information and experiences through your business!
What are you trying to accomplish when you reach out to customers and prospects through your sales and marketing efforts? If your answer to this question is to sell more of your products and services, then this is a very short-sighted response. Rather, your goal should be to focus on the overall experience you deliver to customers and the general public. As such, at each step of the way you should develop the habit of placing bread crumbs of information and interactive experiences that allow you to pull prospects and customers ever further into the world that your business represents.
If you limit yourself to thinking of your business simply as a way to bring your product or service to the market, you are missing out on the whole idea of sales and marketing based on customer experience. In the past, it was enough to have a superior product and service. Then, as times changed, customers demanded better service and support in order to pledge their loyatly to you. Nowadays, with an overabundance of product and service choices in almost every category available, the way to differentiate yourself is to add to your customer's experience. This is how you create real value in today's world and the following points will help you develop and implement this methodology:
(i) Think customer experience
This is the starting point of everything you do in sales and marketing and your overall business, for that matter. Thinking of customer experience begins with product design and development; ideally, you should only bring a product or service to the market once you have established that you can, indeed, enhance your customer's experience and add value to their lives. In order to do this, you need to map out exactly who your ideal customer is and what their lifestyle and values are. Then, you build a product around catering to their needs while fitting in with their way of life and adding material and psychological value (e.g. looking good in front of their friends!)
Sales and marketing is about understanding and influencing customer perception and the way to do this is to look at things from your customer's point of view. Put yourselves in their shoes and think: what would I think of this sales pitch or marketing message? What is my experience of actually doing business? How is my customer going to use this product? What addition support and services can I product to add value and enhance customer experience? If you have a shop, shop from yourself to experience what your customer does from the experience. Make sure you visit your website and that all the bells and whistles are working (order forms, buttons, shopping cart, etc!). In short, be your own customer and make sure that everything you experience is your best reflection of you
(iii) Seed the trail
Treasure Hunt Sales and Marketing really comes into play once you have taken care of (i) and (ii) by making sure that everything that you are doing is centered around customer experience. Now your goal is to create as many entry points into your world and the various - exciting! - experiences that you have to offer your customers (and people in general!). What I mean by this in sales and marketing terminology is to create an integrated and interactive marketing communications plan that utilizes multiple channels to reach the widest audience possible with your message. You cannot say everything at once and so at each step of engaging and interacting with customers, you are providing stepping stones to related experiences and information that will pull your customers ever deeper into your world
(iv) Add value
The "stepping stones" that I refer to in (iii) should not just be about taking your customers further along your marketing funnel or sales process; rather, once again, think of customer epxerience and try to enhance this in the best possible way at every step. An example of this is a marketing brochure or web page that has links to related information (e.g. "Did you know?"). What you are doing is using every customer interaction as an opportunity to educate your customers while building an awareness of your personal brand. The goal is not to get people to buy thing but rather, getting people to buy into your view of things. This is a subtle difference from the one-way, promotional sales and marketing of the past that was all about making general announcements about how great you are. Instead, build trust and credibility by enriching your customer experience through original, useful and entertaining information and experiences
(v) Have fun
Treasure Hunt Sales and Marketing boils down to the idea that if your customers have a good time buying from you - and using your product or service, of course! - then they will come back to you. Because there are so many high quality competing products and services in the marketplace, the way you stand out from among the crowd of similar companies that do what you do is to focus on creating the best overall experiences for your customer. Then, even if they do not buy from you today, they will be more inclined to come back to you in the future for information, advice or just to chat. That is not such a bad thing, is it? Providing the best experience for everyone that sees, reads about or otherwise comes into contact with your business means being proactive about making every external-facing aspect of your business reflect and lead on and on towards your own values and worldview
Build lasting relationships by getting customers to "drink your Kool Aid" and making sure that it gets sweeter and sweeter at every step of your sales and marketing process... forever!
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