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Customer’s in Control. How Do You Market?

In Season 1, Episode 19, we cover how to market your business when your client or customer controls marketing. You can’t ignore it, so what do you do?

Here’s the podcast episode:

And here’s the video version of this podcast:

Of course, I can’t leave you without the transcription!

Hi, I’m Ruthie owner of Defy The Status Quo and you’re listening to an episode of The Defiant Business Podcast,your 10-minute daily shot of business knowledge. You don’t have a lot of time so I’m not going to waste it. Let’s get to it. This morning we’re going to talk about marketing, but today’s topic specifically is: when your customer’s in control, how do you market? 

So I’ve been making my way through Mark Schaefer’s book, The Marketing Rebellion, great book, available on Amazon. You should check it out if you’ve got your own business. I think the topics that he’s talking about are going to be critical for businesses moving forward, no matter your size. And it’s a serious indicator into how smaller businesses are able to attract such a ferociously loyal customer base. And so one of the key numbers he gives is that 2/3 of your marketing is not done by you.

Most of Your Marketing Isn’t Done by You

2/3 of your marketing is done by your customers. This happens partly because a lot of traditional marketing methods aren’t as effective as they used to be. One of the biggest trends that’s affecting advertising today is what we call a trend called ad blindness. 

You might be thinking “Ruthie, hmm, what’s ad blindness?” When you’re usingGoogle search results, have you ever quickly scrolled past the top entries to get to what we identify as the “real results?” You skip right past the ads right quickly to get to the “real results.” 

You want to see the stuff that people didn’t have to pay to be in the search results for. Sometimes we pay attention to the ads. But most of the time, particularly if we’re looking for an answer to something, you immediately skip past those.

Ad Blindness: Purposefully Skipping Past Ads

Also, when you’re on Facebook, right or Instagram and you see that something is sponsored, you may just bloop just go right past it just because it’s sponsored. You’re thinking “Oh, this isn’t actually content that I want to see.” 

Then there are also people who’ve installed ad blockers on their computers and their phones. And this is because they don’t want to see ads. When you consider one of Netflix’s main attractions, besides the fact that you can binge watch shows, there aren’t any commercials. You can upgrade your Hulu account so you don’t see any commercials. 

This is kind of where we are right now because companies are still putting a lot into advertising. And it’s not to say that they shouldn’t, but they’re not paying attention to what the consumer is saying. The consumer is saying they don’t want to see ads, they don’t want to hear ads.

If You Can’t Control Your Marketing, What Do You Do?

That’s where apps like Pandora come from. You pay a little extra on Pandora. Now you don’t have to hear ads. So if you’ve related to any of those things that I’ve said, then you have probably varying degrees of ad blindness. Even when it’s right there, like a Google ad, we just scroll right past it. 

What’s the key then? It’s not about controlling the narrative anymore, it’s not about controlling the marketing narrative. It’s about contributing to the marketing narrative. The only piece of the narrative that you can control is the minority, the 1/3. So you have to focus on contributing to the ⅔. You want to try and steer the conversation as best as you can, but you’re never going to have complete control over it.

The Internet Empowered the Consumer

I can throw up a website right now reviewing a whole bunch of companies and if what I have to say resonates with people over time, my website’s going to rank. It may rank one day, 10 years from now. It may rank as good as any of the websites that I review. And those companies don’t control me. The basis of my website would be that they can’t control me and that is why I would be popular. 

Your customers or clients love to post on social media, which means you need to be where your consumers are in order to have a chance at contributing to the conversation. You see what I’m saying So you need to be where they are. You need to be available to be a part of that conversation.

Social Media Customer Service 

So if your consumers statistically like to post on Twitter, customer service on Twitter is a big deal there. You know, a lot of companies will interact that way on Twitter. That’s where I go. When a website goes down, I go to see if anybody else is saying that it’s down. Like I did the other day about LinkedIn: 

For example, if I have a question for Hubspot, I’ll tweet at them and I know they’ll respond in pretty short order. Maybe even faster than their customer service will respond and they acknowledge that and that’s why they respond on Twitter. 

So whether it’s positive or negative,you should be where they are. If your customers like to communicate on Facebook, if they like to be on LinkedIn, then that is where you should be. You can’t control what your customers or clients say, you can’t control what they say directly, but you do have some control over the customer experience.

You can’t control the way that they interpret it, but you can control various aspects of it. And that boils down to things like product quality. So you want to invest and make sure that your product is the best that it can be. Because when you send off something that doesn’t look nice, if you’re an ecommerce brand or even if you’re a brick and mortar, if your customer walks away from a selling experience with you, with a product that’s subpar, and by subpar I mean not meeting their expectations. 

If it’s less than what they expect, then you can be sure that they’ll let their friends and family know. And that’s part of that 2/3 of marketing.That’s where word of mouth and people communicating about your products come in. 

Post-Purchase Delight: The Marketing Phase Companies Forget

So, and then one piece that companies are often forgetting is the post-purchase phase, the post-purchase marketing. What are you doing for the people who’ve purchased your item to help them out?

So let’s say its a more complex purchase. Maybe something a little more expensive. Just the other day, I was trying to figure out how my riding mower started. My husband’s normally the one who takes care of it. How could I start my riding mower I’ve already purchased? 

What I was able to do is able to go online and Google it and I found videos on YouTube from the brand, from the company that made that mower. 

I found a lot of basic “get started” videos. They supported me through content. I didn’t have to contact their customer service, or thumb through the manual. I just wanted somebody to do a quick video, show me how to start this thing so I could mow the grass. And that’s what I found.

They supported me in the post-purchase phase. And here I am now talking about this positive experience that I had with Cub Cadet. If anybody says “Oh, how do you start one of these things?” I can say, “You can go on YouTube and find their videos.” Now another person can have a positive post-purchase experience.

So they’re essentially turning their customers into evangelists, marketing evangelists. It’s somebody who will pretty much always say something positive about a brand. The way that your product is delivered can also incredibly impact your customers’ experience. So one company that comes to mind for me is Arbor Teas. I’m one of their evangelists and they offer organic fair trade certified teas and it’s all, you know, it’s online and it comes in the mail.

It comes pretty quickly. One of my favorite parts is their packaging. It’s a little box and it’s got their logo on it. But my favorite part is when I open it, I’ve got a handwritten note. Both times that I’ve ordered from them, it’s been signed by the same person, which made me really happy. 

I posted on Instagram about it, I posted on Facebook about it, and I’ve recommended them since to anybody who tells me that they like tea. So by that small,handwritten note, they’ve turned me into one of their brand evangelists. And that’s, that’s marketing that they can’t pay for, but it’s marketing that’s way more powerful than almost anything else that we could do. 

What About The Customer Experience for Services? 

So, and then also considering your customer experience if you provide services. So in my case, freelance content writing, if you provide services, the top complaint from clients is lack of communication. They don’t know what’s happening with their project. They’re not getting updates. They always have to reach out in order to get an update. You should incorporate that communication as part of your process. 

So, that is what I have for you today. This has been an episode of The Defiant Business Podcast, your daily, 10-minute shot of business knowledge. And I’m your host, Ruthie, owner of Defy The Status Quo. And I can’t wait to see you next time.

How do you feel about the “customer controls marketing” concept? Let us know in the comments!