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Personal ad: Marketer seeking brand advocates

Creating connections with customers takes work—just like any relationship. So what does it take these days to attract a loyal customer? A nice ad, a good website, a big discount, a special premium, or a personal phone call? How about a dozen roses?

That's the problem today. It takes all of the above—and even the best brands are struggling to deliver the personal touch that customers have come to expect.  Exactly when did customers become so needy—and so picky?

As a consumer, you know in an instant when you're dealing with a company that doesn't have it together.  We’ve all been there: “Pleeeassse, don't ask for my serial number again and the spelling of my name and my account numbers. Know me. That's all I ask."

So as a marketer, you know when you've gone awry and crossed the line from a clever campaign to an intrusive, poorly formed communication. But sometimes, the systems, the agencies, and the processes hold you back. I am, like the rest of you, searching to deliver this Nirvana. Done well, our customers become something more than customers. They become brand advocates who shout from the highest rooftops about how truly great we are. Done poorly, and well, the opposite happens.

All of this is, of course, hard work. Back-end processes need to talk to the front-end office. Marketing campaigns need to be tied into inventory. Websites need to know what interests people. Customer service needs to be clairvoyant.

I'm thinking it might just be easier to take out an ad on Craigslist: "Motivated marketer seeks loyal customers and active brand advocates for long-term relationships."

On second thought, today's savvy customers just might see through it!

5 Responses

  1. Tom Rochford says:

    Marketer may be seeking loyal customers but customers are seeking businesses that show a little appreciation.  Poorly executed customer service is devastating.  What's worse though is a customer who leaves because they perceived indifference on the part of the company.

    Getting new customers is great.  The true measure of a company is keeping those customers.  If you can't keep the ones you have, why would I want to be the next sucker?

  2. Sam Klaidman says:

    Tami is correct – loyality has to be earned, it is not a gimme.  And at least in the B2C world people share experiences and set expectations for your prospects.  This means that a business has to bust its' butt to earn customer loyalty or face a rapid decline to nothingness – just like JCP!

  3. Tom Hanna says:

    Marketing needs to be tied into operations, too. I'm not sure about your industry, but in the restaurant industry I've seen countless examples of products that look great on TV but cause tremendous headaches operationally. That ends up causing poor service to existing customers in the name of temporarily adding the few fad chasers who want the latest (and usually cheapest) "limited time only" product. 

  4. On top of serving up all this personalized content and providing custom web experiences ton consumers, we need to sound real when we're doing it. The Millennial generation, in particular, has finely honed bullshit detectors. Be honest, be transparent, or go home. One component of this is not always ceding that the customer is always right. Some brands need to assume the role of trusted advisor, especially in complex sales. How can you trust someone when they don't tell you when you're wrong? 🙂

    • Such a great comment Bill!   I couldn’t agree more.  I find myself regular looking at copy and making the comment, it sounds like ‘copy’ instead of actual language.   Finding a voice that’s authentic and provides value is hard in everyday practice but I see evidence all the time of the best brands finding a way to do it

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