Keeping your customers the focus of your marketing

Revenue is down for the quarter. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, (Ethan Hunt did time and time again, and you know you will too) is to urgently craft a plan that will drive more sales ASAP.

Yes, this is a daunting mission, but not an impossible one. No need for you to jump out of airplanes and crash motorcycles. Your assignment is to come up with a marketing campaign that will drive traffic to your web site and hopefully increase revenue – and here’s the kicker – you have two weeks left in the quarter to implement this plan. With this tall order in mind, you quickly summon your team together and begin. All hands are on deck.

Hold the phone

But wait a second. Have you thought about where your customers fit in to the plan or has your mission already began? Is this campaign about your revenue goals or what your customers actually want or need? At the end of the day, money equals survival, but it’s how you get there that is most telling. Don’t make the mistake of leading with your corporate goals over what’s in the best interest of your customers.

Consider this. Instead of leading with the notion of “Everyone’s hair is on fire. Numbers are down. We need to drive revenue ASAP,” lead with “What do our customers want and how can we best serve their needs?” You’re more likely to reach your sales goals when you consider your audience and provide what they need.

Regardless of the mission, Ethan Hunt always put his customers first. Fortunately, you don’t have to save the world, but you do have to save your customer’s world. Save them from frustration, confusion, and most importantly, from hitting unsubscribe and taking their business elsewhere. 

A common mistake

I’ve been down this road myself. As a career project manager, I am sometimes quick to jump into execution mode and tend to get frustrated when things don’t go according to plan.

A few years ago, while engaged in a massive, high profile program (let’s call it Mission Impossible on steroids), some unexpected changes came across my desk that I had to facilitate. I was frustrated because my job was to keep everyone on track and we couldn’t afford more setbacks. Then something happened. I soon realized this wasn’t really a delay, but a sign of a critical misstep that myself and my team had to remedy.

One of my colleagues (a skilled customer advocate, and like Ethan Hunt, wanted to save the world), declared “This is not about derailing the project. Our customers are confused, and hey, how about we HELP OUR CUSTOMERS.” 

HELP OUR CUSTOMERS. I remember repeating it to myself over and over, acutely aware that through this critical mission, the customer voice had been forgotten and sacrificed for my desire to keep deadlines intact. Thanks to my colleague’s advice and swift mentoring, we were able to reset and deliver stellar materials to our customers to guide them through a challenging purchase process.

Tips for staying customer-focused  

Whether you’re starting a new campaign or in the middle of one, consider these tips for success to guide you along the way.

  1. Be a customer advocate

  2. Review your plan

    Ask yourself “What is of most value to our clients? Is it motivation to encourage them to upgrade? Is it a one-time discount for loyalists? Is it information they are in need of?

  3. Maintain the customer voice throughout your marketing materials

    Forget about what you want. What does your audience want?

  4. Create a customer-centric plan that you and your team are aligned with

    Keep your message clear and concise. Don’t confuse your audience.

  5. Find ways to provide what your customers want through segmentation

    • Don’t take a “One size fits all” approach.

    • Review your metrics to help you with this exercise.

  6. When your project starts to go sideways (and it will)

    • Don’t declare “Abort mission” just yet. Reset and see #1 on this list. Be a customer advocate.

  7. Have a back-up plan or two

    • Plan A never seemed to work out for Ethan Hunt and it likely won’t for you either. Work through some back-up scenarios that will still delight and engage your customers.

Mission Accomplished?

“What’s done is done when we say it’s done.”

Well said Ethan.

It’s never too late to pause, reset, and refine your approach. Your new mission, should you choose to accept it, is to become a world-class customer advocate. And if you are already doing a good job at this, rinse, repeat, and share your knowledge with your team members.

Interested in learning more? Consider reading the blog “Using Email Marketing to Engage and Inspire Your Customers.”

Jessica Virk