Until the onset of social media, brands primarily communicated with target audiences crafting one-way messages most often delivered through TV. In those days, 80% of consumers could be reached through TV advertising. Consumers were more homogeneous-most adults were married, most had kids. Traditional forms of advertising moved the consumer through a consistent path to purchase: Awareness - Consideration - Conversion - Loyalty - Advocacy. The point of the first sale originates at conversion.Today There Is No Specific Path To Purchase
Customers may interact with you through the internet, company website, brick & mortar store, mobile apps, social media, etc. Each customer will take an individual journey to purchase and they will demand transparency and two-way communication along the way.
You are communicating with a market of one.
Consumers are blasted 34 Gigabytes of information daily. How in the world can one independent retailer get their message through? Find Your Customer!
Examine your purchasers, or competitor purchasers in-depth. Observe and study their habits. Find out what they care about, their self-image and their lifestyles. Determine how your store fits into their world. Learn what forms of communication they use and enjoy. Understand what kind of relationship they want with your brand. For example, are you a friend? co-conspirator? coach? advisor? expert? etc?
Create 2 or 3 major customer profiles. Map out a strategy for communicating with each. You have just created the Who. Now, what will you share with them? When will you begin the conversation? How will you converse with them? Why will you converse with them?
Next determine the best mix of channels for each communication and set a calendar for communicating. Select from both traditional and digital channels where appropriate.
Don't rely too heavily on a platform. From the most recent Facebook fiasco, it should be apparent that platforms will change over time, mostly for reasons out of your control. In fact, recent thinking suggests that brands spend 70% of their communication time on their own website because they control their own site.
The Take Away
Use a a customer focused communication strategy to build a meaningful, pleasurable and positive relationship with your customer.
For more help on undestanding and reaching your customer contact Anne Cecil: firstname.lastname@example.org.