6 Tips to Deepen Customer Engagement and Increase Sales
Consumers no longer tolerate “spray and pray” marketing blasts, said Ernan Roman, founder and principal of Ernan Roman Direct Marketing, in a session he led at last month's DM Days New York Conference & Expo. Citing the popularity of the National Do Not Call Registry as an example (of which 76 percent of American consumers have signed up for, compared to 50 percent for the average voter turnout for a presidential election in this country), Roman stressed to the audience that marketers must engage their customers and prospects in personal relationships to succeed in today's environment.
Here are some tips that Roman, as well as Yvonne Brandon, senior program manager of integrated marketing programs for the Kitterman Marketing Group, who also spoke during the session, offered to help marketers forge these new relationships with customers.
1. Focus on relationships, not just sales. The down economy has profoundly changed the expectations and priorities of both B-to-C and B-to-B customers and prospects, Roman said. The result: Customer engagement and relevance of communications have emerged as key drivers for increased response and repeat purchases (i.e., lifetime value). To increase sales and regain consumer trust, engage in socially responsible marketing, Roman advised.
2. Differentiate your brand. Do this by providing value as defined by your individual customers in the opted-in channels they prefer, be they Web, e-mail, stores, direct mail, etc. Personalize e-newsletters to the needs of opted-in recipients with customized content, Roman suggested as one example.
3. Satisfaction is a minimum expectation. It's no longer enough to just satisfy customers with your products and/or services. Citing a recent voice of customer (VOC) relationship survey his company conducted, Roman said that engagement/relationship strength has 12 times more influence on retention and repeat purchases than satisfaction does. Provide opt-in communications at the frequency customers want.