• Basya Benshushan

Relationships Are The ROI. You Don't Get Pregnant On The First Date

Follow your customer, collect the data, and speak to them.

Most businesses fail to realize social media is about creating and nurturing relationships. They see numbers and when everyone sees numbers it becomes a numbers game. Behind every stat is a person or potential customer. Pretty content alone doesn’t build long term relationships. Businesses are so distracted to the vanity metrics… they all want the fast and furious million users, but have a hard time articulating what they are up against from their competitive landscape, to their target markets and customer motivators.

It’s better to reach 5 highly motivated people vs 5,000 disengaged users. We call this going deep vs. wide, here are a few key factors for you to keep in mind when approaching your own marketing initiatives:

Prior to launching any initiatives the research has to be done to understand your competitive landscape.

  • Who is your target customer?

  • Where is your target customer engaged and moving?

  • What are your target customers motivations behind the potential purchase of your goods?

Once that is understood, you build a long term roadmap around these factors. Everyone should be measuring how long it takes to build meaningful relationships to the conversion point. Without identifying the motivation, and how much you have to give, to get conversion, you cannot set appropriate benchmarks or KPI’s.

A good example of a brand who truly goes deep is Dominos. In 2009 across twitter and the blogosphere, Domino’s pizza was known as the pie with a cardboard crust whose sauce tasted like ketchup. Executives were quick to make excuses saying that twitter and blogs are only read by kids, and their bottom line wouldn’t feel any impact. A year later they took a financial hit worth millions. That's when CEO, Patrick Doyle, said we need to take this digital stuff seriously. Domino’s came up with the idea to start a reality show on Youtube. The goal was to reinvent their recipe and engage the dissatisfied customers. They brought on chefs to reinvent the Dominos experience. They were very playful in acknowledging customer input - taking ownership, they taste-tested amongst their staff and for the final seal of approval they filmed the “hangry” bloggers and twitter users feasting on the final delicious recipe...creating a space for transparency and earning back trust. In going deep with their existing customer base dominos reaped tremendous benefits and continue to innovate. They were the first pizza company you could tweet for a pie delivery, early adopters of placing orders through voice and it shows in 2010 their stock was trading at just under $9 per share; it’s now above $195…comparable to a successful tech company.

What moves me, is how Domino's made a commitment to integrate digital systems into their infrastructure and culture. They were humble enough to know that the uncomfortable disruption of this magnitude to their existing processes - would hurt immediately, but turn ROI positive in the long run. A good amount of brands are sticking their head in the sand and looking for a quick fix. Alternatively a wide campaign to address this feedback could have been adjusting the recipe and processes internally and or launching a celebrity chef endorsed press release. Instead they got their hands dirty and continue to get their hands dirty in meeting the market wherever it is moving.

Instead they got their hands dirty and continue to get their hands dirty in meeting the market wherever it is moving.

I am always blown away by businesses that push back on taking the time truly listen to their customers. Brands that are paying attention, positioning and producing useful content consistently are the ones who are winning. They are the ones who are following their customer, collecting the data, and then speaking to them.

Regardless if you are B2B or B2C, the philosophies are the same. Anyone selling into a market needs to have a clear understanding of what solutions they provide and who needs it. The only points of difference between B2B and B2C are the product, positioning, message, and sales cycle.

Understanding the motivations within your market tier is key. With a clear understanding you can position and develop/nurture relationships with your consumer. It's all about providing consistent value.

A brand that is winning both B2B and B2C is American Express. American Express services both B2B and B2C and they do a great job balancing both consumer tiers. With the market shift toward values of entrepreneurship and shopping local, American Express saw an opportunity to trend alongside by introducing Small Business Saturday. The Small Business Saturday campaign is a shopping holiday in the US on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. The idea was to drive consumers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. That resonates directly with both their B2B and B2C market.

Small Business Saturday is now a regular fixture in the US holiday shopping season. In its second year, 2012, Small Business Saturday five thousand small businesses participated and 103 million Americans 'shopped small' on the day. It’s become a social phenomenon - generating 2.7 million 'Likes' on Facebook and it was a top trending topic on Twitter. Early on Barack Obama tweeted his support.

This goes back the difference in going deep vs. wide. It is clear to see that brands like Dominos and American Express are keeping tabs on the data going deep with the opportunities within their customer base.

Here are the 4 steps for a winning relationship with the market:

  1. Don’t miss the opportunity to invest your time to go really deep

  2. Collect all the data, analyze it with a qualified person.

  3. Reinvest those insights toward your business.

  4. The market is constantly moving - keeping a pulse on your customer is vital. We are seeing players like Toys “R” Us go bankrupt because they failing with all of the above.

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