Tag Archive | "customers"

Go Where Your Customers Are… the Mobile Phone

At the recent Social Media Day Jacksonville 2018 conference, Carlos Gil, founder of Gil Media Company, spoke about current social media marketing strategies. In an entertaining and informative talk, Gil spoke about the challenge of getting companies like Win-Dixie to understand that they should be engaging with their customers on the device their customer is always paying attention to, and that’s the cell phone.

It’s not about advertising either, it’s about being part of the conversation, being a brand that matters. Here are selected excerpts from Gil’s talk below that highlight this challenge:

The Only Metric that Matters Is Sales

The only metric that matters today is sales. Most of us, if not all of us, know that the reason why we’re on social media is that we want to drive more revenue for our businesses. You go to any CMO or CEO and for them, social media is just nice to have. The reality is that social media is the lifeline between you and your customers.

Oftentimes, we see metrics being referred to as reach, clicks, impressions, but the only metric that really matters is the sale.

I often get asked by businesses and marketers, should I be on Instagram, Snapchat, or something else? My answer to them is very simple, go where your audience is. Each one of these social networks gives you reach and helps put you in front of people who are potential buyers or existing buyers from your brand or your competition. If you are targeting millennials, Snapchat and Instagram might be good to focus on.

Simply think about your business and go where your audience is.

Revise Strategy from One-To-Many to One-To-One

We’re talking about sales, we’re talking about driving revenue. Since the beginning of time sales has always been one-on-one. I think the biggest mistake that marketers are making is they think I’m going to get on social media and I’m gonna have access to reach all of these people. I have all of these followers, but the reality is that most people are not paying attention to the content that you’re posting. This is why you should revise your strategy from being about one-to-many but more one-to-one, and you should stop focusing on the numbers.

Recently, I was working with a client that said to me, we have 30 million social media followers globally but we’re reaching a very small percentage. I looked at the CMO and said, you don’t have 30 million followers, in reality, you have like 300 or less. Their jaw dropped and they were shocked because the reality is that you can’t touch everyone that’s out there.

Social media operates in real time, and with the way content moves, content is relevant today and it’s irrelevant 15 seconds from now.

Millennials Don’t Want to be Sold, They Want to be Engaged

Millennials don’t want to be sold, they want to be engaged. Millennials are really at the forefront of a lot of what we do. For example, I work a lot with real estate agents and they often say that you have to look at the data of who is your target buyer. In the case of realtors, 30 years old is the average age of a first-time homebuyer. You’re not going to reach that customer sending them direct mail.

However, if you run Facebook Ads, if you have any sort of presence in social meeting, you can find a way to get in front of them then. You have a much higher likelihood of promoting your brand and getting that lead. The same thing applies to most businesses.

Go Where Your Customers Are… the Mobile Phone

I work with both B2B and B2C and you have to go where the current is, you have to go where the customers are. The reality is this is your audience today. People aren’t paying attention to really what’s in front of them besides their cell phone.

I’m sure if you go to any boardroom meeting today and you look around, what do people do when they show up, they put their iPhone first thing in front of them.

When I was working at Winn-Dixie back in 2014, we’re doing this campaign where we’re trying to take market share away from Walmart, Target, Burger King and McDonald’s, I made a comment to our CMO at the time. I said why are we focusing so much on doing direct mail at home marketing and instead, why aren’t we doing SMS and push notification ads? Why aren’t we reaching people on the device that they go to the bathroom with and that they use all the time?

We use cell phones for virtually everything that we do, so guess what, the light bulb has to go off if people are using this device all the time and they live by it your marketing has to now appeal to the device itself.

It was funny because in 2014 that CMO looked at me and says huh, SMS is never gonna take off, mobile marketing is never gonna take off!

Marketing is Like Finding Your Match on Tender

You’ve got this high propensity of customers, Millennials, they’re all using social media. I think the biggest challenge that we all face is how do we reach people at the right time and ensure that our content resonates with them? This is why I say that marketing is like finding your match on Tinder.

Business marketing is very much like dating. You’ve got a lot of people out there in this digital ocean and if your content is not appealing to that audience then they’re gonna keep swiping.

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Ask MarketingSherpa: How to get high-paying customers and clients

How can one fast-food restaurant charge three times more than another fast food restaurant? The answer is – Exclusivity. Read more …
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Denny’s Says That Google Ads Are Bringing Customers to the Table

The Google Ads Team recently provided an interesting profile on how Denny’s focused their marketing on digital in order to reach people as they were making decisions on where to eat. In 2018 Denny’s decided to move away from traditional print and TV advertising and instead focus on a more targeted digital approach.

“If you look at the history of Denny’s, it’s really been focused on the family,” noted Luis Martinez, who currently leads marketing for Denny’s. “We recognize that American families are changing. They’re becoming more multicultural and more diverse. But families still value experiences and good food.”

“Denny’s was pretty traditional in its advertising and marketing approach,” he said. “We relied very heavily on print, and very heavily on TV. The spray-and-pray approach that existed beforehand, it really was relying on the hope that you were talking to the right person with your message. Platforms like Google Ads, they remove the mystery from that.”

The guest is usually the one that’s telling you what it is they want,” says Martinez. “You look at something as simple as a search campaign. They’re looking for “pancakes near me” or “I want a burger.” For people who want those items, we want to make sure that we’re surfaced and relevant in that moment of considerationwhether it’s lunch or late night.”

Google Ads Increased Our Late Night Business

“Google Ads data let us see that our late night performance was really strong,” explained Denny’s search marketing specialists Eric and John. “So after 8:00 p.m., we adjusted our ads to call out that we were open late night, and we saw that, as a result, click-through rates really skyrocketed. Google really gives you the holistic view across all the different channels. It gives you data, it gives you insights, and it gives you a real pulse on the performance of the overall brand.”


Martinez noted how working with data has really provided new insights for Denny’s. “That’s insight that is not necessarily built into a lot of other channels. It really is our responsibility to take what we learn about our guests and apply it across the entire marketing ecosystem.”


Digital Has Changed Our Culture

“Digital has changed our culture, and it’s actually changed the way we do business,” says Daniel, Denny’s restaurant manager. “Over the last year, we have experienced an increase in sales. It’s bringing in a new crowd. “You can have confidence not only in serving that right message to the right consumer but that digital marketing translates to in-store traffic,” added Martinez.

Google Ads Are Bringing Customers to the Table

“Ultimately it brings the customer to the table,” noted Martinez. “As Denny’s has made more investments in Google Ads, we’ve been more and more successful in bringing in a more representative sample of today’s America to set our stores up for success in the future.”



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How to Win Some Local Customers Back from Amazon this Holiday Season

Posted by MiriamEllis

Your local business may not be able to beat Amazon at the volume of their own game of convenient shipping this holiday season, but don’t assume it’s a game you can’t at least get into!

This small revelation took me by surprise last month while I was shopping for a birthday gift for my brother. Like many Americans, I’m feeling growing qualms about the economic and societal impacts of putting my own perceived convenience at the top of a list of larger concerns like ensuring fair business practices, humane working conditions, and sustainable communities.

So, when I found myself on the periphery of an author talk at the local independent bookstore and the book happened to be one I thought my brother would enjoy, I asked myself a new question:

“I wonder if this shop would ship?”

There was no signage indicating such a service, but I asked anyway, and was delighted to discover that they do. Minutes later, the friendly staff was wrapping up a signed copy of the volume in nice paper and popping a card in at no extra charge. Shipping wasn’t free, but I walked away feeling a new kind of happiness in wishing my sibling a “Happy Birthday” this year.

And that single transaction not only opened my eyes to the fact that I don’t have to remain habituated to gift shopping at Amazon or similar online giants for remote loved ones, but it also inspired this article.

Let’s talk about this now, while your local business, large or small, still has time to make plans for the holidays. Let’s examine this opportunity together, with a small study, a checklist, and some inspiration for seasonal success.

What do people buy most at the holidays and who’s shipping?

According to Statista, the categories in the following chart are the most heavily shopped during the holiday season. I selected a large town in California with a population of 60,000+, and phoned every business in these categories that was ranking in the top 10 of Google’s Local Finder view. This comprised both branded chains and independently-owned businesses. I asked each business if I came in and purchased items whether they could ship them to a friend.


% Offer Shipping




Some employees weren’t sure. Outlets of larger store brands couldn’t ship. Some offered shipping only if you were a member of their loyalty program. Small independents consistently offered shipping. Larger brands promoted shopping online.



Larger stores all stressed going online. The few smaller stores said they could ship, but made it clear that it was an unusual request.

Games/Toys/Dolls etc.


Large stores promote online shopping. One said they would ship some items but not all. Independents did not ship.



USPS prohibits shipping alcohol. I surveyed grocery, gourmet, and candy stores. None of the grocery stores shipped and only two candy stores did.



Only two bookstores in this town, both independent. One gladly ships. The other had never considered it.



Chains require online shopping. Independents more open to shipping but some didn’t offer it.



With a few exceptions, cosmetic and fitness-related stores either had no shipping service or had either limited or full online shopping.

Takeaways from the study

  • Most of the chains promote online shopping vs. shopping in their stores, which didn’t surprise me, but which strikes me as opportunity being left on the table.
  • I was pleasantly surprised by the number of independent clothing and jewelry stores that gladly offered to ship gift purchases.
  • I was concerned by how many employees initially didn’t know whether or not their employer offered shipping, indicating a lack of adequate training.
  • Finally, I’ll add that I’ve physically visited at least 85% of these businesses in the past few years and have never been told by any staff member about their shipping services, nor have I seen any in-store signage promoting such an offer.

My overarching takeaway from the experiment is that, though all of us are now steeped in the idea that consumers love the convenience of shipping, a dominant percentage of physical businesses are still operating as though this realization hasn’t fully hit in… or that it can be safely ignored.

To put it another way, if Amazon has taken some of your customers, why not take a page from their playbook and get shipping?

The nitty-gritty of brick-and-mortar shipping

62% of consumers say the reason they’d shop offline is because they want to see, touch, and try out items.RetailDive

There’s no time like the holidays to experiment with a new campaign. I sat down with a staff member at the bookstore where I bought my brother’s gift and asked her some questions about how they manage shipping. From that conversation, and from some additional research, I came away with the following checklist for implementing a shipping offer at your brick-and-mortar locations:

✔ Determine whether your business category is one that lends itself to holiday gift shopping.

✔ Train core or holiday temp staff to package and ship gifts.

✔ Craft compelling messaging surrounding your shipping offer, perhaps promoting pride in the local community vs. pride in Amazon. Don’t leave it to customers to shop online on autopilot — help them realize there’s a choice.

✔ Cover your store and website with messaging highlighting this offering, at least two months in advance of the holidays.

✔ In October, run an in-store campaign in which cashiers verbally communicate your holiday shipping service to every customer.

✔ Sweeten the offer with a dedication of X% of sales to a most popular local cause/organization/institution.

✔ Promote your shipping service via your social accounts.

✔ Make an effort to earn a mention of your shipping service in local print and radio news.

✔ Set clear dates for when the last purchases can be made to reach their destinations in time for the holidays.

✔ Coordinate with the USPS, FedEx, or UPS to have them pick up packages from your location daily.

✔ Determine the finances of your shipping charges. You may need to experiment with whether free shipping would put too big of a hole in your pocket, or whether it’s necessary to compete with online giants at the holidays.

✔ Track the success of this campaign to discover ROI.

Not every business is a holiday shopping destination, and online shopping may simply have become too dominant in some categories to overcome the Amazon habit. But, if you determine you’ve got an opportunity here, designate 2018 as a year to experiment with shipping with a view towards making refinements in the new year.

You may discover that your customers so appreciate the lightbulb moment of being able to support local businesses when they want something mailed that shipping is a service you’ll want to instate year-round. And not just for gifts… consumers are already signaling at full strength that they like having merchandise shipped to themselves!

Adding the lagniappe: Something extra

For the past couple of years, economists have reported that Americans are spending more on restaurants than on groceries. I see a combination of a desire for experiences and convenience in that, don’t you? It has been joked that someone needs to invent food that takes pictures of itself for social sharing! What can you do to capitalize on this desire for ease and experience in your business?

Cards, carols, and customs are wreathed in the “joy” part of the holidays, but how often do customers genuinely feel the enjoyment when they are shopping these days? True, a run to the store for a box of cereal may not require aesthetic satisfaction, but shouldn’t we be able to expect some pleasure in our purchasing experiences, especially when we are buying gifts that are meant to spread goodwill?

When my great-grandmother got tired from shopping at the Emporium in San Francisco, one of the superabundant sales clerks would direct her to the soft surroundings of the ladies’ lounge to refresh her weary feet on an automatic massager. She could lunch at a variety of nicely appointed in-store restaurants at varied prices. Money was often tight, but she could browse happily in the “bargain basement”. There were holiday roof rides for the kiddies, and holiday window displays beckoning passersby to stop and gaze in wonder. Great-grandmother, an immigrant from Ireland, got quite a bit of enjoyment out of the few dollars in her purse.

It may be that those lavish days of yore are long gone, taking the pleasure of shopping with them, and that we’re doomed to meager choosing between impersonal online shopping or impersonal offline warehouses … but I don’t think so.

The old Emporium was huge, with multiple floors and hundreds of employees … but it wasn’t a “big box store”.

There’s still opportunity for larger brands to differentiate themselves from their warehouse-lookalike competitors. Who says retail has to look like a fast food chain or a mobile phone store?

And as for small, independent businesses? I can’t open my Twitter feed nowadays without encountering a new and encouraging story about the rise of localism and local entrepreneurialism.

It’s a good time to revive the ethos of the lagniappe — the Louisiana custom of giving patrons a little something extra with their purchase, something that will make it worth it to get off the computer and head into town for a fun, seasonal experience. Yesterday’s extra cookie that made up the baker’s dozen could be today’s enjoyable atmosphere, truly expert salesperson, chair to sit down in when weary, free cup of spiced cider on a wintry day… or the highly desirable service of free shipping. Chalk up the knowledge of this need as one great thing Amazon has gifted you.

In 2017, our household chose to buy as many holiday presents as possible from Main Street for our nearby family and friends. We actually enjoyed the experience. In 2018, we plan to see how far our town can take us in terms of shipping gifts to loved ones we won’t have a chance to see. Will your business be ready to serve our newfound need?

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4 Ways to Attract New Customers in a Competitive Market

One hard truth that new entrepreneurs find out quickly is that running a business is hard and they’ll have to compete if they want to be successful. 

In many ways, doing business follows the Darwinian principles of natural selection—only the fittest survive. If you don’t innovate, take risks, and attract new customers, you’ll go extinct. So how do you stay competitive and grow your customer base in a fierce marketplace?

4 Ways to Gain Customers in a Competitive Market

Study the Competition

Whatever your product is, if it makes money, it will likely have a competitor in the market. Instead of holding out for that one unique product, you should study rival companies and use them to refine your brand.

Analyze your competitors’ products and services to see what they offer and what they do not. You can then brainstorm ways to innovate and find solutions to unsolved problems in your particular niche. Doing this allows you to offer something that no one else does.

Most Millenials and older generations can remember the hassle of driving all the way to the local Blockbuster to rent new movies. Netflix filled a gap in the video rental market by allowing customers to send and receive movies by mail, eliminating the need for in-store visits. It later innovated its service by streaming movies online and getting rid of late fees, adding further convenience to customers. Today, Netflix is one one of the largest pure media companies in the world with a valuation of $ 150 billion. Blockbuster, however, failed to innovate and has since gone out of business. Even if you’re not a media business, Netflix’s strategy serves as an excellent example of how a company can innovate and capitalize on market gaps.

Outprice Your Competitor

Offering a more affordable option is always a good way to attract new clients. However, simply being the cheapest product around doesn’t automatically guarantee that people will be buying from you. A low priced item is often considered an inferior one. What you can do is study your competitor’s pricing structure and decide on a price that’s lower but would not raise questions about your brand’s quality or value.

You can also establish a clear pricing strategy. Decide if you want to offer “every day low prices” like Amazon or Walmart. Just make sure you can consistently offer lower prices than your competition. You could also utilize a  “price discrimination” strategy where you analyze how customers find your business and adjust pricing based on their spending power. Experiment until you find the best strategy.

Make Allies of Other Businesses

Building a database is challenging, but you can make things easier by aligning your company with other established businesses that serve the same demographic. You then look for a way to promote your company with their database. For instance, a new boutique can work with a popular hair salon and offer a free summer dress to the first 100 customers who’ll get their hair cut or colored. But they would have to pick up the dress at the boutique.

Think of the older business as a host and your brand as the beneficiary. Making an ally of the host provides you with a large set of prospects. Meanwhile, your host will have a way to reward their most loyal clients. It’s a win-win situation.

Provide Better Customer Service

One of the best ways to encourage your competitor’s customers to give you a chance is to provide them with better customer service than they’re used to. One study revealed that 89% of consumers would change brands if they experienced poor customer service.

Customers return to brands that make them feel appreciated, respected, and valued. You can make them feel this way through simple things like greeting them with a smile when they come to your store or sending personalized emails. Listening will also get you a lot of customers. Listen to them even when they are complaining. Never justify the mistakes made or blame or criticize your client. They will always have the right to speak out.

Winning new customers is a sweet feeling. It feels even better when they come from your competitors.  Integrating these ideas with your marketing plan will give your business an advantage.

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Business Intelligence: If only more of our customers were like Larry David

We can’t read customers’ minds, but we can listen attentively to their complaints because they are valuable customer intelligence. It might not matter to us, but if it matters to them it is important. And understanding what customers are thinking is vital to a brand’s success.

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Attract Better Clients and Customers with the ‘Chuckle Point’ Technique

If you know you don’t want to produce unicorn vomit (and I applaud you for that), you may have decided that your content will be “professional.” I was extremely preoccupied with “professional” when I started creating content 10 years ago. Revealing anything about my non-work personality was out of the question. But I had the
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Customers as Value-Creating Partners, Not Just Value-Extraction Targets

How do customers add value? Everything from providing feedback, to word-of-mouth marketing, to being early adopters for new products. However, I would argue that customers must first be satisfied before they are willing to engage in any of these activities.
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Copywriting: Listen to customers so you can speak their language

Words are subtle indicators to tell a potential customer “we understand you specifically” and “this offer is meant for people like you.” To truly speak our customers’ language, we must listen to them because our customers may be very different from us.
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They Won’t Bite: How talking to customers helped Dell EMC turn its content strategy around

Taking the time to pause production and speak with our customers about the kind of content they want to see is one of those “why didn’t we do this sooner?” moments we talk about so much in marketing.
The Dell EMC had just such a moment. It stopped producing content that was seeing absolutely no traction and began not only focusing on content that customers actually wanted but also getting it in front of them.
Watch this Media Center interview with Lindsay Lyons, Director of Global Content Strategy, Dell EMC, to gain insights into how her team was able to transform their internal processes to produce effective, customer-first content.

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