Printing Impressions

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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
 

Create Irresistible Customer Relationships

 
Last time, Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) President Org, Marka the marketer, Zoot the salesperson and Numo the accountant discussed the benefits and uses of a “Customer Nurture Program” for targeting businesses. Today, Marka and Zoot go back to basics with a talk on the importance of “Creating Irresistible Customer Relationships.” Remember, fire = print.

Marka and Zoot were relaxing at Red Argus, the hottest tavern in Olympus. Whether you wanted to complain about the latest tax on grape leaves, watch a rollicking chariot race, or just drink a cool pitcher of grog, the Argus had it all.

“If I remember correctly, there are three goals of successful marketing,” Zoot said to Marka, putting a pitcher of grog to his well-moisturized lips.

“Yep,” Marka said, a little distracted by the chariot race on the O-television.

“Hey, pay attention! We’ve only been over two. What’s the third?” Zoot asked.

“Pop marketing quiz, Zoot,” Marka started, placing a hand on her friend’s thick, muscular shoulder. “If your customers say, ‘You’ve never given us a reason to leave.’ should you be happy?”

“Sure?” Zoot said, somehow knowing this was the wrong answer, even as he said it.

“No!” Marka said, jumping onto the bar and grabbing the salesman by his toga. “On the contrary! You should be alarmed. Statements like this indicate your customers are buying out of habit, not loyalty.”

Zoot looked up at Marka. She had a rare elusive mix of enthusiasm and good sense. Three Cyclops’ visiting from the island of Crete figured she’d had one too many grogs and were cheering her on.

“A thriving, service-oriented business like ours should hear customers say: ‘FEI is the best fire provider we have.’ ‘They bail me out of tough jams.’ and ‘They’ve never let me down!’ ” Marka declared, pointing toward the ceiling.

The three Cyclops applauded heartily.

“If we regularly hear statements like this, we’ve been successful in forging irresistible customer relationships,” Marka continued. “We want our new tag line—‘always there’—to slip into common vernacular.”

“But how can we tell if our customers are truly satisfied?” Zoot asked. “FEI customers rarely reach out to us unless there’s a problem with an order or our customer service is especially poor. Sometimes we don’t even know the customer has a problem until after they’re gone.”

“I’m glad you brought that up,” Marka said. “I have a plan to create an ‘endless feedback loop’ that will allow us to identify and resolve problems in customer relationships before we lose the business. It’ll also create incentives for current customers to stay on board.”

“Tell me more, you energetic marketer, you...”

Today’s FIRE! Point:

Customer statements like, ‘You’ve never given us a reason to leave.’ indicate that people are buying from you out of habit, not out of loyalty. Instead, you want customers saying, ‘You bail me out of tough jams.’ and ‘You’ve never let me down!’ If you regularly hear statements like these, you’ve been successful in forging irresistible customer relationships.

   *   *   *

FIRE! in Action

Create Irresistible Fan Relationships

Bec Hollcraft showed appreciation to her MySpace fans by offering free songs and music videos. In return, the fans offered feedback, connected with her and helped one of her songs become the #1 acoustic track on MySpace. (http://tinyurl.com/2aoqxus)

Next week: Marka and Zoot discuss “Creating an Endless Feedback Loop” to improve customer retention rates.

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