Tag Archives: marketing strategy

6 Important Steps to Remain Focused on the Customer Experience You Promised.

Offering customer experience on a plate

Guess what? Your customer is not focused on your current period sales and costs figures. Nope, all they’re interested in is having the experience they anticipated because of your promise.

The trouble with this dichotomy is that delivering a brilliant customer experience is not always reflected in current sales figures. Therefore, focus on the experience can take second stage to short-term gain. In this scenario, we tend to ignore the fact that a when a customer talks about our brand / their experience to others, it can reflect a cash effect, at some stage in the future.

As a result, many of us don’t spend enough time determining our true customer base, providing an excellent experience and encouraging them to ‘spread the word’. If we don’t know who our customers are – how can we engage with them.

Customers are bombarded with information every day.

Technology enhanced connectivity means that our prospective, and actual, customers are inundated with business messages every minute of the day. As a result, we need to be much more focused and specific with our marketing activity if we are to engage with the right people. Otherwise, our efforts will be totally ineffective and thereby a waste of money.

If, as the experts say, that <6% of prospects are ready to buy your service right now – businesses really need to start thinking about nurturing people over a longer period. The real challenge, for marketers, therefore is being able to nurture people based on their emotions. Simple demographics are still important but need to be enhanced by knowing a prospect’s likes, dislikes, frustrations and aspirations.

One way we have successfully identified our target audience is by outlining our ideal clients, up front. Everybody uses the basic demographic factors such as type of industry, company, gender, income range, location etc. but there’s more to it than that.

We have come to find that personal factors have a large part to play in a successful relationship. Have a think about what characteristics or traits that your ideal customers have in common – with you. If you don’t like them up front, a successful relationship will probably never develop.

Other areas you can inveigle them to share over time are their emotional triggers. When you know a person’s frustrations or problems you can address them. Of course your work will be focused on helping to alleviate these but in addition, your marketing message can be also be centred on solving these emotional needs.

Everybody has a decision-making journey they go through – if you can engage with them along this journey, they should connect with your message. By genuinely empathising with them, they will consider you as a trusted advisor and one that they feel safe with while recommending you to others.

3 ways to help enhance the customer experience.

– Be a part of their online search results – you have often read the statistic that a customer is often 80% through the decision process before considering your service. Due mainly to online search capabilities this means that businesses have to become part of that first 80% of the process because it is more difficult to stand out, in the last 20%. Be it paid, owned or earned – you must offer an online experience.

– Have excellent response times – have you noticed how impatient we are all getting? We know attention span is mentioned in business articles a lot nowadays. This is all well and good, but we really believe that the ‘new’ customer service is online and that responses are expected, probably within 20 minutes. Personally, if I’m promised a response within 24 hours – I’m gone, as a customer. Have a read of our opening paragraph again.

– Build word-of-mouth activity – we’ve alluded to the issue of trust already but it’s worth mentioning it again. It is no secret that most of us will follow the recommendations of a trusted family member, friend, colleague etc. It follows therefore that word-of-mouth is still alive and kicking in this day of social networking. Businesses, building social communities online are not a fad – it has become a necessity.

Observe your customer’s behaviour.

Developing a target market for your business requires maintaining a focus on specifics. Here are six steps we recommend you incorporate into providing an excellent customer experience to the right people.

Tips and Timesavers.

  1. Determine what the average customer spends on your service. This can be by the hour, the week, by project or annually. When you have an average you can determine what customers / type spend more than the average by their demographics. Your focus should be on these people.
  2. Engage your customers with a simple survey. Find out where they hear about / buy from you. When they buy, why they choose you above competitors – is it because of convenience, location, CSR etc. Are they responding to cold calls, online ads, and referrals from friends etc?
  3. Track why you have returning customers. Are they renewing / returning because of customer service, needs based, a special offer, relationship etc. Are they staying with you because of your product / service range?
  4. Be aware of what marketing channels are delivering effective communication with each group. Find out where your above average customers are interacting with each other and be part of that conversation.
  5. Develop a referral / loyalty programme to reward customers that introduce new prospects.
  6. Create a network of trusted suppliers. Link up with other businesses that will complement your offerings or add value to your service.


Getting to know your above-average customer in detail is the only way in which you can find them and make them happy. You really need to know what’s important to them and what will keep them coming back for more.

Remember, not everybody will be a prospect, no matter what you offer – but that’s fine if you’re providing your existing customers with an excellent experience.

“We hope you have enjoyed our marketing tips and timesavers blog” – Aidan & Jim.

Would you like us to notify you, by email when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K

How Your Marketing Strategy Can Keep You Out Of Trouble.


5 marketing strategy tips to get you back on track

Without a marketing strategy, one obstacle that could knock your business into trouble, would be the plethora of choices available. There are bucket loads of channels, networks, digital platforms, and tools. You could even argue that there are almost too many opportunities to place your message in front of your customers.

The trouble is we might get caught up in the race to be first with everything or become paralysed by the sheer volume of choice. Of course neither option is ideal, is it?

I mean, if we look at ‘being first with’ – quite often in our haste, we cut corners or don’t slow down enough to determine what’s working.

On the other hand, if we become paralysed by choice – we don’t get moving at all.

One size does not fit all in modern marketing.

At times, marketing strategists encourage us to just go ahead and ‘do it’ and if it doesn’t work, then break it and start again. We’re not a big fan of this method as we believe that with a little bit of smarter thinking and a plan, you can stay out of trouble.

Being resourceful in your planning is the secret ingredient.

An important element of a resourceful plan is to have an understanding of who your target customer is. Rather than using the usual social demographics to do so, we believe buyer personas are a better solution.

Personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer. Here’s a good definition of personas from Tony Zambito,

“Buyer personas are researched-based archetypal (modelled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behaviour, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions.”

Here’s a link to a free tool from Hubspot, that streamlines the process, if you want to try it.

When developing a marketing strategy, therefore, because one size does not fit all it is important to obtain actionable insights from your buyers. Then you can engage them in a smarter way.

For example, there is absolutely no point in providing the same online content to your various customers on Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn. More than likely, there will be different types of users on each of these channels.

If we take the time to plan resourcefully around our content and our channels, we can engage with our customers/prospects in a way that suits them.

How to avoid making marketing mistakes.

If you’re an SME or a relatively young start-up like us, I’m sure you are very conscious of how you spend your marketing euros. The very first thing, we believe, that you must get right is to identify your unique selling point (USP).

You simply must stand out from your competitors. Do this by picking out one single thing that makes your business different and build your marketing around that.

Bearing in mind our comments on buyer personas above, another area to be conscious of is engaging with the wrong audience. It is imperative that you don’t waste your efforts on people who aren’t in the market for your offering. If you know who and where your real audiences are – you can reach them.

Once you have your USP and you’ve identified your audience, the next thing to get right is your pricing. You probably have a notion as to how much your offering is worth, but take the time to think about what people will pay.

Research what your competitors are charging and be agile when charging different customers. Overpricing leads to a wasteful marketing effort.

Now that we have our pricing looked after we need to ensure that we engage with our customers how, when and where they want us to. We alluded to channels and people being aligned above, and would reiterate that unless the mediums you choose, deliver on your business objectives – don’t waste your time.

Finally, if you just don’t enjoy marketing at all and don’t have the in-house resources – outsource it. If you don’t and hate blogging or engaging online, there is a chance that this will come across in your communication.

In addition to creating a negative image, you might prioritise other activities that you do enjoy to the detriment of the marketing of your business. Your marketing outsourced could be a less costly way of growing your business in the long run.

Tips and Timesavers.

The title of this post promises to explain how a marketing strategy can keep your business out of trouble. So let’s take a look at some of the more common problems with strategies and their solutions.

  • Problem: No clear marketing strategy.
  • Solution: try creating buyer personas, then align specific channels and a content plan.
  • Problem: Using tactics only means positive results are difficult to repeat.
  • Solution: plan for revenue, budget, time, campaign, data and content. Tactics will fall out of these.
  • Problem: A competitor has the same strategy = competing on price alone.
  • Solution: tell your story, promote your personality and deliver great customer service.
  • Problem: Your strategy does not match people’s needs.
  • Solution: intensify your customer focus by integrating all engagement towards building relationships.
  • Problem: Marketing strategy is not aligned with your business objectives.
  • Solution: no excuses here, marketing must show how it helps to achieve business objectives.

Despite some of the solutions mentioned here, you really should have a marketing strategy in place. It doesn’t matter how basic it is. A strategy is the rationale for your marketing initiatives and binds them together towards delivering business results.

Recently, I came across this post by Kevan Lee, (Content Crafter with Buffer). It outlines how to go about spending $100 on social media, which I found interesting. It also led me to thinking – how can we get more from a marketing budget? Our general approach would be to 1) align a strategy around a target audience, 2) track the ROI of marketing spend monthly, 3) ensure the budget is for cross-channel activity (use inbound marketing) and 4) stay agile by adapting and updating.

So go on – create your strategy, using inbound marketing to maximise your impact and assess it on an ongoing basis.

   “We hope you have enjoyed our marketing tips and timesavers blog” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K

Social Media can be a solution to business growth, when used properly.

Social Media Choices

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

10 questions to ask yourself about your company’s social media activity.

Let’s face it – us marketers have flooded the social media scene. It’s a no-brainer really as, when done properly, it does offer an opportunity to raise brand awareness and strengthen relationships with people.

Despite all the advantages of social media however, I was reminded recently by a Facebook post from BAG Chairperson, Ramona Nicholas, that it should not be the only solution to your business growth. Ramona warned against small businesses spending too much time online and not concentrating on generating revenue. So, I thought that I would use this blog to explore the matter further.

In my opinion, Ramona is right. The number one thing to remember is that social media doesn’t sell. Despite having a following of say, 7,000 people on Twitter or a huge number of likes on your FB page, it doesn’t mean that they are all interested customers / prospects. In fact, probably 1% might be interested in a relationship. Think of the time you spend chasing the 6,930 others.

Of course, exposure is good for any business but no matter how well we ‘expose’ ourselves, ‘likes’ and ‘RTs’ don’t translate into sales. Unfortunately, some organisations pursue a goal of achieving thousands of followers, which on occasions is pure vanity and other times – a waste of energy. The danger is that using social media with such a narrow focus, may lull you into a false sense of marketing, resulting in unrealistic expectations and lost opportunities. In fact, this drive for numbers can actually alienate existing customers that do want to ‘link’ with you.

At O’C&K we ignore any business that asks for follows or ‘un-like’ those that use their online presence to constantly promote themselves i.e. broadcast marketing.

I am not discouraging the use of social media for marketing at all, it’s just that it is only a solution, when undertaken in a meaningful and planned way.  I’m also agreeing with Ramona’s sentiment that social media should be part of your overall marketing activity, but not the majority of it.

The customer’s overall experience of your brand will determine repeat business.

I outline later, under ‘tips and timesavers’, why it is understandable that social media is being looked to as a ‘fix it all’ strategy. This is evident to us when we talk to businesses about outsourcing their marketing. On most occasions they see social media as an inexpensive solution to many of their marketing problems. I don’t know how many times we have had to explain that a solid understanding of marketing is required before jumping on the social media bandwagon.

The message we try to convey is that traditional and social media marketing are a very powerful combination but must be fully integrated and linked to an overall business strategy. Simply knowing how to use social platforms and adding it on to an existing activity does not constitute good marketing.

Yes, customers will respond to professionally executed marketing messages but as we are aware, they also form impressions based on their experience and word-of-mouth. The customer will have to resonate with your story / strategy (not your channel) and offerings before they will become a repeat customer for your business. It follows that if social media has a part to play in a customer’s experience it is therefore, an important element of your marketing activity and resultant business growth.

Let’s think about marketing strategy for a moment. We all know that ‘finding’ the budget for marketing is difficult and where to spend it is even more difficult. It is very easy to be overwhelmed by all the experts out there, advising where to focus, how to split it up or when to do testing. In our minds, quite often a business may be wise to stick with what they have and ‘tweek’ it, in a smarter way.

By having a marketing strategy, linked to a business plan, many of the marketing solutions are obvious.  Where you might require some professional assistance from outside, is deciding whether another area of marketing might provide a better ‘bang for your buck’.

To get back on track here – the same questions you might ask yourself about your overall marketing, can be used to determine your social media activity.

Tips and Timesavers.

I’ve already alluded to not ‘putting all your eggs in the social media basket’. However, it is understandable why people want to start using social media. There are a variety of reasons why it makes sense to you, initially:

  • It is easy to set up and implement by yourself.
  • It looks like it won’t take up much time.
  • It costs nothing (other than your time).
  • You use it for personal reasons so why not your business.
  • Your competitors are on social media.
  • Your friends and other marketing ‘experts’ are advising you to do so.

Most of you reading this already know that engaging an audience with information, education, entertainment or even customer service takes up a hell of a lot of time. Your time is not free. Using social media as part of your marketing strategy is complicated, time intensive and a lot of work. This does not mean you don’t do it. It’s just that you need to decide how much of it you use or whether, in fact, you need it at all. Please don’t confuse having an online presence with using social media.

The blog post heading reads that ‘Social Media can be a solution to your business growth’. I included the words ‘when used properly’ because sometimes it might only require a small effort to bolster your existing online presence. For instance if you have a company blog, a social media channel is definitely necessary to promote same. However, you might only need to be on ONE channel – the one where your audience is!

So, if you are thinking about allocating marketing budget to social media, here are three questions to ask yourself, in the first instance.

– How important is it for your customers for you to be on social media? – Have you sufficient financial resources to allocate to this new activity?

– Are your existing marketing activities providing a good return?

There is no ‘yes or no’ answer to these 3 questions but thinking about them will set you up to continue the exercise and see how compatible social media is with your overall marketing plan:

10 questions to ask yourself about your company’s social media activity.

  1. Have you a set of goals for using social media.
  2. Will your customers / prospects receive added value from you being there.
  3. Can you compete with your competitor’s activity.
  4. Have you the skills, in-house, to dedicate the time to ensure success.
  5. Do you have a plan to engage with your audience in a relevant way.
  6. Where will you source your content.
  7. How often will you post & will you use it for promotions.
  8. What channels will you use.
  9. Do you have a way to measure the success of your actions.
  10. Will you commit to staying abreast of social media developments, as they occur.

Business relationships form in real life, and online, by being human.

If you are already ‘set-up’ on social media, but it doesn’t appear to be paying off, here are some thoughts that may help you review your activity.

Are you trying to be all things to everyone on multiple channels? Why not become an expert in one of them that suits your business and your customers. Become a thought leader.

Are you engaging with the people who followed you – or are you just promoting your business to them? If you have not set up social monitoring tools you should do so straight away – they are usually free. Listen for mentions of your brand, competitor’s activity, industry keywords etc.

Delete any inactive social media accounts that you have. It does not reflect well when a prospect clicks through a social media button on your website to find that there’s no one home.

We have covered this thought before in a blog, but it is worth repeating again and again – be human. Business relationships are formed by being personable with your customers.

To finish, I want to reflect on three things that remind me that whilst social media can be a solution for your business growth, there are caveats.

First of all, the basic concept of marketing hasn’t changed .i.e. to let people know that you have something of value to share. So, social media isn’t a substitute for marketing, but it can be an alternative channel for people to connect with your business when they need to.

Secondly, remember that people do not want to see your brand in the middle of their personal conversations online. Social media, for the general punter, is an opportunity to share with friends and family. This must be respected.

Finally, social media will always be an interactive channel between business and customers, however what ‘social’ means to both parties is going to change in the near future. Be there but be professional and aligned to your business goals.

  If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course, if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K