Timely and relevant communications is essential for businesses to reach their target audience. Anything less is noise that will largely go unnoticed or worse irritate the intended audience. Sadly, many organizations fall into the trap of poorly segmenting communications. Sales and even some marketing personnel fail to differentiate between suspects, prospects, and customers. When this happens, loyal customers are often overlooked. Think how a loyal customer feels about your brand when prospects receive better offers than they do. This results in customer churn, diminished sales, and poor loyalty.
To solve this problem companies should segment customer communications into 3 stages.
- The first stage is Exposure. Here you expose suspects to your products and services and turn them into a prospect.
- Next is the Adoption stage. Getting your prospect through the sales process and consuming your product or service is the goal.
- The last stage is Retention. This last one is most often overlooked as sales driven personnel and processes are “on to the next” big sale or initiative.
Bain and Company research established that it is 10x more costly to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one. So naturally, you wish to retain customers and turn them into advocates.
Benefit of creating advocates include:
- pay more, especially for premium treatment
- buy more and often without ongoing sales efforts
- provide useful input on products and services
- insulate you from the effectiveness of competitor’s price promotions
- reduce the cost of your exposure funnel related marketing activities
Properly enabled, advocates also influence like minded individuals and expose them to your brand. Because of this, it is important to continue to build the relationship. This is especially relevant in an era where buyers turn to social networks and online information sources for opinions and counsel before completing a purchase decision.
Here is how to improve customer communications
- Conduct a communications audit and establish your baseline
- Ensure everyone is clear on the definition of customer terms i.e. suspect, prospect, customer, and client
- Actively segment communications based on the 3 stages of relationship
- Watch response rates and loyalty improve