This is the second post in a series, following the ‘Marketing Your Way Out Of A Downturn’ seminar.
It takes a lot more effort and money to acquire new customers than it does to keep your existing ones. So the second suggestion I discussed in the seminar – to hug your customers close – may seem obvious.
But there’s more to it right now, in this recession. We’re all in this together, and we need friends to help us get through to the other side in better shape than our competitors.
Staying very close to your customers can give you very good intelligence on what’s happening in the market, and it will help you to refine your value proposition, as Iwrote about yesterday.
But in tough times, people look for people, companies and brands they can trust. They’re more cautious about switching suppliers than in good economic times, although they may still do it, and there’s a good chance they’ll slim down the number of suppliers they deal with. You need to be a trusted brand, very visible to your customers.
We’re in uncertain times. For many companies, the majority of their current managers weren’t in management roles the last time there was a recession: they don’t have past experience to tell them how this will turn out.
So I’ll go further than saying that people are in search of trust. They’re actually looking for leaders; people who they perceive as able to help them get through to the other side of the recession in good shape. Do your customers perceive you to be a leader? Are you doing the right things to position yourself as more of a leader in your market sector than your competitors?
Your marketing strategy should look at what you have to do to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and you should be communicating that differentiation when you hug your customers close.