What do you see when a customer walks into your store?
Now let me ask you another question. What color are their eyes?
That’s right, customers are people. So it might help to ask yourself, and them, a few questions. Are those champagne glasses you are selling him the ones he is proposing to his girlfriend with? Is that the jacket she’s going to wear to go snowboarding for the first time? Is that the mobile phone she’s going to FaceTime her parents with while away at college?
You may be done with your customer after they pay for those running shoes, but if you know how they’re going to use them, it will help you sell more of them. You can find out if people are using their new sneakers to train for that marathon, or if they are using them to take their dog for a walk in the park.
If you’re a big business, you’ll probably do market testing and blind focus groups. If you’re a small store, you may be gleaning anecdotal information, or just applying what you already know. If you’re into social media, you can gather those insights from your business’s Facebook page. That’s the interesting thing about social platforms—it doesn’t work in just one direction. You can find out just as much about them, as they can about you.
In any case, knowing how your products are actually being used is useful for advertisers.
One of our longtime clients B&H Photo & Video, is in Midtown, Manhattan. They’re known for being the ultimate store in the city for cameras, along with all the accouterments. We do a fair amount of radio for them, and it generally (and humorously) focuses on how helpful and knowledgeable the B&H staff is. They’ve also done something incredibly helpful: they’ve set up a fantastic Facebook page with detailed product reviews and helpful how-to videos. It also acts as a live feed for their customers to ask questions and give input. You can really feel the human element behind the page.
So they’ve covered quite a swath of customer engagement: traditional advertising, in-store customer service, and a social media platform that delivers consumer insight.
Now, that mix may or may not be right for your business. But the more retailers, and their agencies, can find out about business prospects, the better. With that insight, the marketing and advertising strategy can then become a lot clearer and direct to your target consumers.
Remember, they’re not your customers, they’re your friends.
How is your business going to befriend people?