Mind the gap!
Everything you have done to market your business so far has got you to where you are today.
But wait…what if there’s more to come?
Marketing in the gap. How to find real value and maximise profits for your business.
Are you really happy with your current business position? Are you happy with the number of new leads, customers, turnover and profit margin?
If you answered yes, and you feel you are at the pinnacle of your business and things couldn’t get any better for you then please feel free to skip over this article. However, and I borrow this phrase from a friend of mine, I want you to at least ask yourselves this question before you leave. I’d like you to ask of your business this simple question: How does it get better than this? Because the truth is, it can get better. Even if you are happy with your current position, which I hope you are, I believe there is a huge gap in your marketing that, if bridged correctly you can reap huge rewards from increased turnover and profits from raising prices, and increased potential to either move to a new market, buy back more time to focus on new ventures, or simply enjoy a more lucrative business.
There are three main goals to aim for once your transaction has completed, ie, you have sold your product and received your income for that exchange. Thos three aims are simple to remember, but take time and effort to implement. You need to ask yourself this: How can I get that customer to review, refer, or recycle with my business?
Most companies stop at the close of sale and most companies miss out on huge competitive advantage that can be gathered from addressing this vital 3 point plan.
The NEW focus of marketing
For me, there are three segments or concurrent circles on which your business can deliver and exceed in delivering value. 2 of these elements get your business to a certain point; where you are now. But the third level is an elective process, something a business must choose to engage in order to be a success. This is a cultural shift and something worth talking about. These three co-dependent rings will enable you to grow a unique space, a greater perceived value and improved business niche.
They are the necessary, expected and wow factors.
A business has what I call a marketing gap. This gap is the void left through lack of resource, understanding, knowledge, time or skill. Where a business currently sits compared to where a business wants to be: The Marketing gap.
This gap can and will be filled by an appreciation of marketing and the massive benefits it can have on business along with a desire to improve the function and mindset of the busienss as a whole.
You must seek to understand why marketing is so important in your business.
Let’s look at the NEW model of marketing.
Widget company X install widgets that people pay for. This is the necessity of the product. The absolute bare minimum is that the customer receives a widget. Without delivering the widget for the agreed price, you simply won’t be in business for very long.
The expected level is the perception and expectation of how the widget is delivered. On time? in damage prevention packaging? Imagine if you bought a brand new MacBook or PC and it arrived in the boot of a car, unboxed and scuffed. We are still receiving that MacBook or PC but it is not to our expected level.
Customer expectations are evident in all markets and are fast becoming a point of non-differentiation. Without delivering the expected levels of service, you will fall behind. It is expected you deliver the service or product to the assumed level of skill, craft, quality, time expectations and so on. Therefore, if everyone in your market is doing it, you can’t afford to not do it yourself, yet at the same time, there is no market differentiation in doing so. You are just a part of the pack.
This is where widget maker X gets stuck. He is delivering widgets (necessary) and is making sure his logistics are delivering on time and in a nice shiny box (expected). But his business is still not achieving what he would like. Why is that?
Let’s look at Widget Company Y. They too deliver widgets on time, to the same standard as our friend at company x. But wait, 5 days later they receive a courtesy email making sure I am happy with my widget. Is it widgeting just as I’d like? I get a further email with video tips and a redirection to an active social media community and blog about more uses for my widget; I’m delighted! Who knew my widget could do this?! A month later I receive a further message asking if I know anyone who could benefit from the same sort of widget as me. Well, now you’re talking – I’m thrilled, I’ve told the world about company Y. 3 of my friends in the same industry have already used company Y, but I am also in a networking group that I tell 10 more people.
Do you see what happened here?
After the sale, offline, away from the shop front, I was been marketed too by Company Y. I was been wowed, shown off to, and ultimately been shown how to achieve the maximum value from the product I have purchased.
The Second Marketing Transaction
This mindset shift and change in focus I see positioned as a second transaction that will bring you the business success that you need. Mind The Gap. You need to market in the gap to achieve the business success you deserve; not a tangible transaction but more an intangible value exchange.
Try looking at it this way. In the first transaction, the customer wanted something from you, and for that exchange to happen, you put a value on what you had which until that value was met, the customer could not have what they wanted.
Now, for the second transaction, who is it that wants something? Well, it’s you! The customer has something in their locker that you want, that you need, and you must be prepared to work to get it. What is the valuable currency they hold so dear? That’s right, they have the potential to leave you a review, refer a friend or recycle (purchase again) from you. Now, what is that worth to you?
If it’s not something you have considered before, please bear in mind the power of referrals!
A Summary of the NEW model
Step one (the most inner circle): Necessary.
The necessary is just that. What is the bare minimum you must give to satisfy the transaction. Are you selling shoes, chocolate, professional service, accountancy, training? Well, did the customer receive this? I hope so!
Step Two (the middle of the 3 circles): Expected.
No matter what your industry, there is an expected level of service that comes with your product that lies away from the tangible commodity itself. Think about a bathroom installation. You receive the necessary (bath, shower, tiles, sink) but what about the workmanship? There is a certain level of expectancy that comes from the industry. You expect god workmanship. You expect manners (sometimes!) Yes, you can find some success and margin here, some justification to raise your prices and not battle away on price, but if you are only selling something at a higher price for what is expected of you, you may find yourself snookered sooner than you think.
Step Three (the outer circle): Wow – The Second Transaction
Most marketing definitions predominantly focus on marketing as the function within business that drives the ability to either gather new leads or sales revenue. This is of course true and the core for marketing activity in order for us to achieve our first transaction – to enable us to deliver the necessary and expected elements of our business. It’s important to identify the first transaction. This is what I determine as the value exchange that has happened with your customer so that you receive the agreed payment. The exchange of goods and services as it were. For example, as a shoe seller, marketing to the first transaction level relies on all the activity and service required to the point of sale of that pair of shoes.
As the customer leaves your shop, happy with their purchase, now begins the opportunity for the second transaction. You see what a business now needs is to do is one of these three things. You either need a review, a referral or you need to recycle that consumer (sell something else to them!). Many businesses simply sit back and wait for word of mouth referrals to flood in from the successful transactional marketing. But wait. What you need from the customer is something that only they have. Only your customer has the ability to choose to review, refer or shop from you again.
So I ask you – what is your company doing currently to ensure that you receive this second transaction from your customer? What exchange will you offer for their valuable resource; their review, their referral, or their repeat custom?
This is Marketing in the Gap!
Remember, our complete WOW strategy has many goals. To enable us to raise prices, increase market share, stand out from competitors, improve our perceived value, make ourselves unique, we must be remarkable, different from our competitors. But ultimately, for this article, it needs to achieve one of the following; a review, a referral, a recycle from an existing customer: Our customers become our sales team!
Your wow factor is what makes you remarkable. And it is when we are remarkable that the magic begins! It is important to have an active strategy to follow through with your customers and not rely on the trickle down goodwill from delivering just the expected levels of service (Word of mouth) but really hammer home your value after the sale as well as before and during the transaction.
Your combined marketing effort so far has got you to where your business is right now. Now is time to step it up and bridge the gap.
In our widget example, what happened is Company y has appreciated the power of NEW marketing and embraced new opportunity to deliver a clear strategy with little to no added strain on resources from the business function. The power of automation and process has on modern companies to help them raise the bar and deliver masses of added value after the sale should be something embraced by every business.
Through a focussed strategy and an understanding of new technologies to improve marketing efficiencies, Company Y have moved in to the third circle; the WOW of business, and are reaping the rewards ahead of their competitor.
Marketing in the gap.
Remember, the sum of all our efforts on pricing, advertising, positioning, branding and marketing so far has got the business to the point it is at right now. It is how we market ourselves beyond this, how we market our second transaction that is vital for business to grasp.
Further reading from the Marketing blog:
and the powerful series of articles; 8 massive benefits to delivering exception online customer service
What is your strategy for gathering reviews? How do you delight your customer beyond the sale?
How will you build your audience to help you do the marketing for you when you ‘don’t have time to market your business’?
If you need help or have opinion and input on this article please do get in touch. I’m here to help the business market of the Sheffield City Region understand, apply and implement effective marketing to their business. This powerful mindset shift will help you grow effectively and build organically.