Even the largest companies seem to mistakenly look to expensive promotional strategies and campaigns when either sales are declining or sales need to rapidly expand. But the truth is, “healthy” sales growth involves realistic expectations and an evaluation and understanding of current customers.
One of the most commonly overlooked but most critical element of any business is an objective understanding of your current customer. An objective understanding is reached through a blend of demographic and psychographic data. The more data collected, the more likely it is a business will be able to structure a targeted promotional campaign resulting in new sales. On the contrary, an assumption-oriented campaign will most likely result in poor conversion rates, leading businesses to “assume” something must be wrong with their product or promotional campaign. That’s where improper and expensive decisions seem to start occurring. So the key is “understanding.” The way a business arrives at an objective understanding is to take a calculated look at customers to date.
If you are a business rich with customer data, consider yourself in a powerful position. Most businesses focus their resources on attracting new customers but then fail to capture priceless data on existing customers. So how do you obtain existing customer data? Well, there surely isn’t a magic answer but there’s evidence to support the “give and get” approach. While your customers may appreciate the product or service they received from you, most people would rather not take the time to participate in focus group or customer survey. This is exactly the purpose of giving a little to get a lot. Your business can perhaps choose to reward customers that fill out the survey with free products or services. Many times these enticements can include new products or services your business is trying to promote. By doing this, the customer survey acts both as a “disguised” promotional campaign as well as a data collection tool to support future promotional campaigns.
Another strategy businesses employ is to cross-market or co-op with another business to offer either a free product or service from another business in exchange for their time filling out a customer survey. This tactic serves to benefit both your business as well as the cross-marketed business of course. Additionally, it only makes “cents” to ask the “cross-marketed” business to supply the “free” product or service used to entice and reward “your” customer for taking the time to fill out the survey, reducing the costs involved for your business to capture valuable information. The cross-marketing strategy is seldom used among small to medium sized businesses because it is an advanced marketing philosophy generally implemented by more established, networked companies.
Some businesses are also looking to promotional products as a vehicle to entice customers to supply valuable data. Of course there are countless promotional items to choose from these days, ranging from pens to golf club covers. It’s critical to offer an item that provides value to your customers. Interestingly enough, this involves an understanding of your customers. For instance, promotional flash drives are one of the most popular products in the promotional industry today. The devices allow businesses to preload brochures, videos, hyperlinks, presentations, etc onto the flash drive for their customers to access information. These customized flash drives serve as a functional promotional product. If your “assumption” is that your customers are computer users or people that could use mobile file storage or maybe a back up storage device for their computer, then these would most likely be the promotional product needed to help entice your customers into filling out a customer survey. But it’s important you select a promotional product that once again seems to fit your customers.
For those businesses aware of the importance of customer data, when it comes time to structure a promotional campaign aimed to expanding sales, chances are it will result in success. If you’re not one of “those” businesses, it’s important to start collecting data on your current customers immediately and strategically. Over time, the information will serve to keep your business enjoying focused, healthy growth.