The greatest thing about working in Marketing is that inspiration can strike form anything at anytime.

One of my aims for 2016 is to personalise my customers’ experience of our marketing communications. So it is easy to understand why this has preoccupied my thoughts in recent weeks.

I recently took vacation (much deserved, even if I may say so myself) and noted down any example of great customer service.

1. Returning home to my Welsh Roots in Crickhowell

There is nothing like returning home after a long period of time away. In NYC, I can only get the feeling of returning home when I watch the Rugby in the Red Lion on Bleecker St.! So naturally, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to return to South Wales, not just because it’s my family home, but also because it was a close friend’s wedding.

Hospitality and customer service is different in a small town then in a big city. The slower pace of life allows for more personalisation; for example, in the local pub we had a lovely chat about the difference between Brains beer then a standard English ale. In NYC, the hustle and bustle (which I love!) and pushing to the bar for that glass of Sauvignon Blanc makes it more difficult to build a personalised relationship with the company.

In events, we have a similar challenge. Anyone who receives an email from a conference company these days is savvy enough to know they are a mailing list somewhere!

So, how do I personalise email communication? Personally, I don’t believe that including information like First Name or Company Name in the subject line is enough! Of course, it is not realistic to write an email per customer or per prospect! I think, once again, back to basics attitude is needed. Taking the time to profile, to understand the needs of each customer and then segmenting accordingly; not lumping together “sponsor & exhibitor prospects” and “delegate prospects”. It’s also time to remember that communication should be a conversation – email marketing should enable the marketer to control the conversation, give the customer the information they seek and guide them to use the product or service in question.

2. Choosing a cheaper carrier for the return to NYC

NYC is a city of travellers. We have all felt our wallets pinch when we’ve booked our next fight home, or desperately tried to find a reasonable price to return to the UK for Xmas! I am a loyal customer of British Airways and their great service. But, those tickets can be price-y! So this time, i made the decision to fly a cheaper carrier – Norwegian Air. Naturally, I assumed that this would mean I would be horrendously uncomfortable for 7 hours and be the recipient of poor customer service. I was bracing myself….

Boy was I wrong! Norwegian Air was a dream. Perfectly clean plane, very comfortable, polite air hosts who went above and beyond for every passenger (regardless of class) and great entertainment. Norwegian Air doesn’t have the latest film, but they have some of the best films of the past 10 years. I spent 7 hours reliving my youth!

I realised that my perspective was all wrong. My misconceptions of Norwegian Air came from expecting more for my money.

Challenge 2: our conference tickets aren’t the cheapest. We offer quality conferences that attract a higher level of attendee and speaker, from which our attendees can learn the latest strategy! Our delegates get to meet and learn from the best-of-the-best and our sponsors get to meet buyers looking for their solutions. But we’re expensive – so that means that our customers see us as the British Airways of the conference industry – first class ticket. We have to deliver an even higher level of customer service…throughout the marketing strategy, not just upon delivery!

So how can I ensure that our communication echoes the high quality of our products? Personalisation will help, reiterating the importance of understanding the customer and their needs. This is where remembering some of the characteristics of relationship marketing will help.

  • Broader, long-term goals
  • Focus on customer retention
  • High level of quality resulting in high level of customer satisfaction
  • High level of customer contact
  • Emphasis on understanding the customer needs

3. Experience something I will never forget in Cape Cod

As a child, I fell in love with Whales and Dolphins. For years I wanted to be a Marine Biologist more than anything. Sadly, I get sea sick, am terrified of sharks and science was never my strongest subject! It all worked out in the end. Marketing turned out to be my dream career!

In Cape Cod, I got the opportunity to see my first love in the wild once more. A chance sighting of a Fin Whale and a breaching Humpback made this Saturday one I will never forget.

Challenge 3: can I create an unforgettable experience of our marketing communication for our customers? If I do, I’ll be hailed a hero of my company as the revenue won’t stop rolling in! This is my biggest challenge to delivering a unique customer experience and the highest level of customer service.

Watch this space to see how me and my team get on.

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