Tell Before You Sell

Storytelling

Marketing has come a long way in the past century. Gone are the days of Henry Ford’s “You can have any color [of Ford] as long as it’s black” and the buy, buy, buy mentality (not to be confused with N*SYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye“). In today’s marketing, customer relationships are the focus. Companies spend millions of dollars and hundreds of hours each year to build bridges between themselves and their target markets. The emergence of social media has facilitated the creation and maintenance of these relationships.

One of the most powerful tools in this marketing climate is often overlooked. In fact, it is something that is unique to each brand and cannot be copied by any competitors. Utilizing this key unlocks the door to deeper relationships with customers, clients, employees, investors, fans, members, etc.   Read more of this post

Chick-fil-A: Moootivating Cowmittment

“Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans.” -Ken Blanchard

In case you missed it, this past Friday (7/8/2011) was Cow Appreciation Day at all Chick-fil-A locations across the United States. For those poor souls unfamiliar with this great holiday, Cow Appreciation Day is a day when Chick-fil-A customers can dress up as cows and receive free food in return (an entree for wearing a shirt; a combo for dressing head to hoof). In other words, it’s an opportunity for the raving fans of Chick-fil-A to celebrate one of their favorite restaurants. Do I happen to be one of those raving fans? I’ll let you decide from the photo…

What is it that Chick-fil-A does so well to mootivate this type of cowmittment from its customers? One word: values. Anytime you walk into a Chick-fil-A you will be greeted by a friendly employee and will be treated like a family member the whole time you are there from employees asking if you’d like refills and taking your trash to the familiar “My Pleasure” anytime you thank them for anything. You almost forget that you are visiting a fast food restaurant built around putting friend chicken between two pieces of bread. Being treated in such a kind way (ie the Golden Rule) leads to brand loyalty in the minds of customers. Now that I live in a town without a Chick-fil-A, I make it a point to visit one whenever I am near one around a meal time. It is also one of the few restaurants that I order food from without looking at the price of what I’m about to order. Yes, the food is exceptional, but the way in which the company takes care of its customers is what keeps me going back…even dressed as a cow.

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Marketing Alchemy: Turning Lead into Platinum

Graduated cylinders and beaker filled with chemical compounds

Alchemy.

For many of us, this word brings to mind images of crazy madmen in the Middle Ages in dingy basements trying to turn base metals into gold. While this may not be too far from the truth, marketers can learn a lesson from the alchemists of old.

In marketing, there is a common rule that says 20% of a company’s customers contribute 80% of the company’s revenue. Marketers often refer to these individuals as “platinum customers.” Platinum customers have a high lifetime value for a company and are relatively cheap to retain. Not only do these customers contribute a significant sum of money to a company, but they also tend to serve as brand advocates. In other words, they are the type of customers that a company wants to attract and multiply. The most profitable 20% of customers can contribute anywhere between 150-300% of a company’s profits! Alas, not everyone can be platinum, despite what their mothers tell them. Marketers also categorize consumers into “gold,” “iron,” and “lead” groups. Customers in the least profitable 10-20% (primarily lead and some iron) can actually reduce profits somewhere between 50-200%! One of the primary jobs of marketers is to convert as many customers as possible into gold and platinum while “firing” the majority of lead customers. So, how can a marketer do this? Below are just a few ways:

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