Marketing is a broad topic covering a lot of different sins. It is mass mailings, it is seasonal cards, it is monthly or bimonthly newsletters, or quarterly specials. It is promotional materials and handouts. It is sales catalogues. It is also CRM (customer relationship management) systems and sophisticated information reporting. It is a bunch of stuff.
In columns I write and other documentation I have been stressing the new forms of marketing being taught at schools of higher learning, in marketing undergraduate and master level degrees. It is called “relationship marketing.” The educators and schools are acknowledging that marketing is about building and nurturing relationships not just all of the stuff listed above. Week I don’t think that is going to come as any surprise to any of you in the business. We all know that business is people to people. So our marketing efforts need to take on a much more serious tone.
We need to “touch” our customers more frequently and with a higher level of skills and quality.
The first order of business is to have a specific purpose for the “touch”, the call. Each and every time you “touch” the customer you have to have a reason that the customer will understand is aimed at reducing their owning and operating costs. The call should be about them – not you. You are providing a service to the customer. You are looking out for their best interest. What do they use of your services? What parts aren’t they buying from you? Who are they using if they don’t use your services? Are you monitoring the operating cost per machine hour? Are you advising the customer to trade in the machine when the costs are too high on a monthly basis? These are all part and parcel of marketing – the new marketing; Relationship Marketing. We will deal with this in much more depth in the weeks ahead. The time is now.