What if there were no TV ads, billboards, social media, Google ads, influencers, and any other digital or traditional advertising you know of? Will advertising cease to exist?
Will customers lack knowledge of a brand’s products and services? Brands spend a fortune to communicate to their niche; sometimes exceeding its total revenue. In 2016-2017 Gartner Research reports companies spent roughly 12% of annual revenue on overall marketing. The report also highlighted that “larger companies with greater than $5 billion revenue spend 13% of revenue on marketing, while smaller companies with $250 million to $500 million revenue spend roughly 10% of annual revenue.”
This approach focuses on smaller businesses that are in a growing phase with a smaller or no advertising budget at all. It explains how to frame your business in a way that a customer no longer requires to see an ad, TV commercial or Google search to like and recommend your business. In a world whose space is dominated by the internet (an inevitable experience) reaching a customer organically needs holistic and distinctive ideas that cut across the noise.
‘Word of Mouth’ (WoM)
How much are you willing to pay for a product or service recommended from a friend or relative? Or to make it simple, wouldn’t you want to hear what your neighbors are saying about you or your car? If it’s likely then you are perhaps in the circle of buyers influenced by ‘Word of Mouth’ (WoM). I have to caution you though, this works if you have the best products and services that you offer. Word of Mouth marketing circle begins from business to consumers, and back ‘to consumers again’. Your model of doing business should begin at your doorstep then dissolve and stick to consumers’ minds entirely.
WoM is about giving top class ‘Customer Service’. How you treat your customers at your business will determine the outcomes. For instance, do you call them by name (if you can remember)? Do you realize their aspirations or choices that made them come to you? How do you greet them? What else do you do in return for their loyalty? The basic principle here is to make them remember and applaud you wherever they go. No paid marketing can stop customers from talking about a business that they love.
Be interesting! Take a pause here, and think, what excites them most to keep coming back to you and talk about you? By chance I read about a food restaurant in Sacramento, US, called Skip. Once you have ordered for you or a group, the person behind the counter pulls out a deck of cards and says, “pick a card.” If the customer picks a joker, the entire meal is free. Sounds great huh? Personally, I would go there every day. You can also find out more about the Cheesecake Factory and more.
Go ‘West-Jet’ on your customers
Go ‘West-Jet’ on your customers. You know the thing I don’t like the most about promotions is the way they invest so much on pushing their seasonal promotions by incentivizing customer(s) ‘if’ they bought a product or service. Friendship should not be for sale! West-Jet is an American commercial airline that treats its customers with the best attitude and respect. Back in 2013, they did a Christmas magic gift by a real-time giving to more than 250 passengers. The thumb rule here is, look for an angle to delight your customers, appeal to their emotions and value their contribution to your business.
And of course, stay consistent. You might have heard or read several times how important it is to keep your delivery of service and product at a high standard. Your frequency in delivering, packing, awarding and so forth MUST stay consistent. Your customers expect everything you started for them lasts. Join their conversation, attend to their needs and ask for their suggestions. What could go wrong?
Build your business around your customers to have them spell your business name as a ‘Verb’. Think of how Google is today. Someone just says, ‘Google it’ to search for an item online. Track Word of Mouth in blogs, social media, newspapers, friendsand so on. If you by facts get your name out there, then it simply means feedback is authentic.
Whatever you do, FOCUS on consumers.
Benson Mambosho is a Digital Supervisor at Tecno Mobile Tanzania