Friday, February 05, 2010

Reaching the “purchase ready” consumer today.

Advertisers keep asking the question ‘how do I reach new customers today’ and the answer is to look at the many ways customers interact with media and make sure that your brand is were it needs to be!

There are some very simple steps to follow as you plot a course of connection with a new customer.

Step one: Start at the moment of the sale and work backwards.

This concept is a little different than the old approach of a typical ad persuasion technique (run an expensive TV campaign and so many people will see it that your product HAS TO sell). When we look at the customer on the floor and think about how he got there, we can start plotting a way to reach new customers.

As an example, let’s look at a typical new car buyer. Chances are the potential customer in the showroom has spent a considerable amount of time online doing research about the specific vehicle he is looking at purchasing. He will likely have looked up some consumer reviews, surfed a few personal blogs and even viewed video of the vehicle in action. This consumer is smart, savvy and is not going to react to a free cup of coffee or just a slick sales presentation. He wants verification of the information he already knows.

Step two: Hire an online consultant.

Have an outside online consultant look at your business and determine how your brand is positioned in your geographical area. This consultant may need to ‘log on’ using a server that has an address in your specific area to ensure that all other competitor information and targeted information is appearing. Ask the consultant to attempt to find a specific product (in this example a specific auto make/model) on your web site and see how long it takes them to ‘drill down’ and find you! Your consultant may find that there are local information sites, auto blogs and other car related content sites that are an excellent place for your dealership to appear…either as a contributor or as an advertiser.

Step Three: Create content and add value to the consumer experience.

Make all of your advertising interactive and relevant to your new mobile and active customer. It sounds simple but setting up a blog, creating custom video content and engaging in social media is an excellent way to cast a wide internet web of links back to your site and your inventory. In your newspaper, TV and Radio include a ‘text to win’ or ‘text for a free gas card’ offer of some kind so that potential customers can connect with you. Have multiple ways for customers to get in touch with you. Have a sexy phone number that is easy to remember and use a cool URL that is easy to say and easy to remember.

Step Four: Be cool.

Staying current online and using the technology available in your advertising and customer contact makes your business look cool. If 65% of your potential customers are on Facebook and you are NOT….they might not think that you are up to date in other areas of your business.

Step Five: More is better.

The days of finding one place to advertising and banging the drum over and over is over! Mix up your media and move the placement of your brand name and contact information so that people will not only bump into your brand in a number of places…but with a media mix you will tend to reach more people overall. As you “lure” them into your web of contact…you can start communicating with them more intimately and provide them with compelling reasons to shop in your location.

Conclusion: Connect and follow.

Advertise in a traditional way and entice potential customers to connect with you.

Give everyone as many options as possible so if they want to call you, text you, email you, be your friend, tweet you or comment on your blog.

Connect and follow up with each and every person who connects with you. Follow up and take your time with the contact. The new consumer has more time and more resources to make informed decisions. You need to be current and eager and yet keep the customers in control of their own experience.

Advertising, marketing and merchandising hasn’t changed all that much...but your ability to connect with a customer at the time they are ‘purchase ready’ has. This means your competition has the ability to ‘pluck’ a customer from your store with a better deal sent to their iPhone. Be sharp, be connected and use the tools that are all around you to beat your competition.

Mitch Drew

Mitch Drew is an advertising professional in Vancouver, Canada. He specializes in TV advertising and is an active writer, blogger and social networking expert.

1 comment:

  1. Very insightful article Mitch. It is interesting to watch the shift from old marketing standards toward a digitally connected world. Brands can no longer effectively tell consumers "we are good - buy our product of service". Consumers are savvy and sniff out BS right away, so a company that is honest and direct will fair better than one which tries to spin. The digitally connected market will do the work of a thousand sales people if they are in your corner.