The consumer journey has changed a great deal in the last 15 years with the advent of digital marketing and its large-scale adoption.
The changes are wide-spread and far-reaching, and affect brands in a number of different ways. There are a number of steps you can take to help your brand succeed in this new environment, but one of the most difficult changes to accommodate is that of the actual method of purchase. With research and discussion now no longer under exclusive ownership of brands, consumers are now able to make purchasing decisions without any consultation with a brand whatsoever.
How can you ensure that, after integrating and optimising your efforts at raising awareness, generating positive sentiment, and positioning your product effectively, you make the sale?
Eight sure-fire tips to help you close the deal:
- Always know who you are talking to. Knowing your audience and potential buyers is the most important factor in being able to sell them what they want or need. If you do not have a handle on who, exactly, you’re talking to, you won’t have the information you need in order to get in touch, stay in touch, and make the sale.
- Sentiment and awareness go hand-in-hand, and can influence both the initial stages of the journey and the decision phase when it comes to making the purchasing decision. This is the ground-work for any marketing activity that may be in progress.Ensure that the conversation is positive, and that user-feedback keeps your reputation consistent. Which leads us to point two….three:
- Make your product easy to find: Imagine Business Development suggests asking yourself this question: “How can we make it simpler, easier and more efficient for our customers and prospects to buy from us?”. In the new landscape, the simpler, faster, and more rewarding a transaction is, the more likely people are to engage with your brand and make you their primary choice.
- Build a relationship with your prospective customers, and show them who you are as a brand. While we may be interacting online, and not face-to-face, people still want to talk to people – and the more you engage on a personal level, the more your ideal consumer will be attracted to your service.
- Give people all the information they need, and keep conversation open by answering queries honestly. Giving consumers a full picture will allow them to make the most informed decision possible, with a positive outlook on your particular service.
- Darren Leishman, Penquin MD, believes that when expectation is exceeded, loyalty is born. Keep existing customer satisfaction at a high, by ensuring product quality and excellent after-sales service. Existing customers will promote your brand to sufficiently sway their friends and followers. Brand loyalty is a power that cannot be underestimated. This earned-media will complement your integrated marketing efforts, and assist in creating a positive sales channel, remembering that if you want to maintain loyalty, you have to constantly strive to not only meet, but also exceed expecations.
The final stretch:
- Be present at the actual point of sale. Darren Leishman, MD of Penquin, is well known for emphasising the importance of, simply put, “showing up”. Integrate your efforts, and ensure that you have a presence at the point of sale, whether in-store or online. Generating interest in your brand or product is a lengthy and intensive process, so ensure that you close it off with a push for sales, using promotions, activations or special offers and by just showing up.
- Measure all your efforts, and realign your goals and tactics on a regular basis to ensure you stay ahead of the customer demand. Grant Leishman, Penquin CEO, is known for saying “what gets measured, gets done”. It is essential that clear objectives are agreed upon at the start of the relationship with your client – not only in order to measure success but also to provide a benchmark for improvement and learning.
An excellent example of ensuring you close the deal, every time:
At Penquin, we are always looking for excellent examples of work that inspire us, and that we can use as a learning tool. One of these is the series of campaigns that Takealot executed in their transition from Take2 with agency of record, M&C Saatchi Abel, and into the new partnership with Kalahari.
Takealot.com launched its new identity (from Take 2) in 2011, and started out with very ambitious goals. They started out with Take2’s very loyal fan-base, and the established presence of what was then South Africa’s 2nd largest online retailer.
In this interview given by Donna Stephens to Altesh Baijoo on the Bandwidth Blog, they listed their 2011 goals:
- To become Africa’s fastest growing, simplest, most customer centric internet mall (I like that internet mall)
- Provide a wider offering
- Increase depth of categories
- Continue providing in-depth consumer service, interaction and relevance
- Drive revenues past R1-Billion within five years (from an annualised base of R75 million)
What you will notice is that each of these goals is driven by the customer-centric requirement that they set for themselves, and each tip above contributes to the required success of their campaign. They assessed their market, maintained existing relationships, initiated new conversations, and simplified the process of product location and information sharing. In addition to this, the consistent re-assessment of their product range and consumer need ensures that they are able to provide exactly what shoppers need, when they need it.
Together, each of these elements would drive their overall revenue goal.
Their exceptional performance in the markets prompted the merger between Takealot and Kalahari in October 2014, which has pushed both into the online-retail stratosphere.
At Penquin, we love seeing campaigns work for the customer since it is the essence of our mission statement to help clients sell more stuff to more people more often. Measurement and data-driven assessments of our campaigns are important to us, and we use all of the data we have available to us to determine:
- What the brand’s current status is
- Where we should activate
- How to gain access to the right client base, and provide the right information to our customers
- What has and hasn’t worked to boost sales or awareness
- How to optimise on the next campaign, in order to resolve the issues that arose in previous activations.
So how can these tips help you?
Making these tips work in any business
Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, you can apply these tips to your process with very little amendment. Whichever business model you follow, the common needs remain:
- To have tailored, personalised service
- To be engaged with the brand, and the brand with you
- To receive high quality service and product
- To have open and free communication, whether for positive or negative feedback.
Consistent measurement, a solid understanding of your customers’ needs, and a drive to improve service and communication can take you a long way toward your sales goals.