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To Know Your Customer, Understand Your Customer

Sept. 10, 2020
You'll gain a competitive advantage once your marketing plan reflects buyers' perspectives — and anticipates their questions.

Marketing is not advertising. Advertising is talking, entertaining, and announcing what your product is. Advertising is part of a marketing plan.

Listening offers a competitive advantage. Using the information you gather, your marketing materials and plan can anticipate questions from prospective customers - making your product or solution the obvious choice to buyers.

Categorize the subjects to be addressed (i.e., technology, qualifications, processes, etc.)  Are there any quick “wins” you can make with simple changes? If customers have questions about quality certifications or shipping terms, find a way to make that information prominent and accessible  - perhaps within the quote or on your website.

In the metalcasting sector, information gaps in your marketing may include important production specifics, like: alloy options, machine/process information, pattern management, tooling costs, quality certifications, typical turn time, management focus, etc.

Once you have identified the information gaps, plot a course for addressing them efficiently in your marketing communications. You may not be able to address every question immediately, but some can be addressed quickly using digital (website, social media, newsletters, staff social media, onboarding new customer documents) or verbal (staff messages and communication) channels while you work on adjusting physical materials (brochures, sales collateral, trade show presence, etc.)

For example, if "quality" is one of your information gaps, communicate positive data about your product quality.

  Digitally, make sure your website copy includes your quality certifications. Issue a release whenever the organization achieves a new quality certification:  post it online, email it to key clients, have your customer service team blurb it in email signatures, etc.

  Ask customers to recount their "quality" experience, and post those testimonials online and via social media.  Write a case study of when quality made a critical difference to a customer's experience.

  Quote your customers in your advertising too, and be sure your quality certifications are listed in your ads and follow-on materials.

  At your plant and offices, display the customer's quotes about quality, and post your own quality certificates — and the steps for achieving them. Empowering your staff  - and visitors too, once we're able to have those again -  with on-site information about your business is a powerful communication advantage that also enhances organizational culture. A team that understands what the company stands for communicates more consistently and is ready to anticipate a prospect’s questions.

Alexandria Trusov is the Global Marketing Manager at Alpha Resources and a B2B marketing consultant to manufacturers and other B2B companies. Contact her at [email protected] or visit www.truinsightsconsulting.com.