According to Wikipedia, marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers for the purpose of selling the product or service. It is a critical business function for attracting customers.
There are five competing concepts under which organizations can choose to operate their business: the production concept, the product concept, the selling concept, the marketing concept and the holistic marketing concept. Most small/medium sized businesses would focus on the latter – whether they know it or not.
The four components of holistic marketing are: relationship marketing, internal marketing, integrated marketing and socially responsive marketing. The set of engagements necessary for successful marketing management includes capturing marketing insights, connecting with customers, building strong brands, shaping the market offerings, delivering and communicating value, creating long-term growth and developing marketing strategies and plans.
In my assessment I would summarize marketing as the goal of three things:
A text database and mobile engagement strategy (once built) can significantly help merchants achieve all of the engagements listed above and be the KEY to effective, affordable marketing.
Most smaller merchants fail at achieving all three of these things because their efforts lack synergy and focus. It’s not realistic on a limited budget for a small business to be able to focus on each element separately, so every dollar spent must accomplish all three. This is a monumental challenge for smaller merchants who are forced to compete against big box brands and online retailers with larger budgets.
SMS Masterminds believes and has proven that proper implementation of a text/loyalty system can be the glue that binds everything together in perfect synergy, maximizing the marketing spend. Of course this is really not new news though… and you might be asking, “if mobile is the solution, why isn’t everyone doing it?”
In Derek Johnson’s article “Small Business SMS Marketing Just Isn’t Practical,” he outlines the fundamental problems with small business text marketing summarized in the bullet points below.
- There has to be a marketing budget
- The rules and regulations surrounding text message marketing have become too complicated
- 90% of SMS marketing success is due to a well-planned strategy
- You can’t track what you can’t measure
He’s right. These are the problems with text marketing and why small businesses fail at it. In order to succeed at a mobile strategy, merchants must first understand what their marketing vision as a whole is and then employ the right person to implement and execute that strategy. With budgets tight, they also need to see results quickly or they simply can’t keep investing in it.
What makes the Masterminds different? Automation and professional oversight. With the installation of the Loyalty Kiosk, database growth is virtually automated and can improve opt-in rates by over 500% that of a traditional text call-to-action. The key to its sustainable success over time is its Automated Engagement feature, which sends “smart” text messages to customers when they are most likely to buy. This process minimizes wasted messages and reduces cost. With over 1,000,000 customers within the network nationally, analytics and effectiveness reports help identify what is working best and merchants are set up with proven strategies and campaigns according to their industry. Managed by a certified Mobile Mastermind, merchants can be assured of proper compliance and oversight at all times.
The industry has proven that mobile works and the SMS Masterminds have proven that even small businesses will have great success when working with the right partners.
- Sixty-one percent of U.S. consumers feel more positive about a brand when marketing messages are personalized.
- Nearly half (44 percent) of consumers are less responsive to non-personalized or “mass-marketing” messages.
- More than half (53 percent) are more likely to purchase when a brand personalizes digital communications.
- More than half (52 percent) trust brands that enable consumers to share their marketing preferences more than brands that do not.
Sixty-one percent of U.S. consumers feel more positive about a brand when marketing messages are personalized, according to new research(1) from Responsys, Inc. (NASDAQ: MKTG), a marketing cloud software and services leader. The results, which also indicate that consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that personalize their digital communications, call attention to the need for marketers to let go of dated marketing tactics that treat every consumer in the same way, and move into the relationship era of marketing where marketers orchestrate individual experiences at massive scale.
“In the quest for scale, individual consumer relationships got brushed to the side as marketers felt the pressure to churn out campaign after campaign,” said Scott Olrich, President, Marketing and Platform at Responsys. “Today, in the relationship era of marketing, marketers are realizing that they can in fact orchestrate relevant and targeted experiences at scale across multiple channels, and that this more sophisticated approach can have the greatest long-term impact on the success of their programs.”
“Consumers are demanding more personalized relationships with their favorite brands, so as marketers we must provide our customers with the most relevant content at the right moment throughout the customer journey,” said Alexandra Braunstein, Senior Marketing Manager at XO Group Inc., a global media and technology leader with brands like The Knot and The Bump. “Responsys shares this vision and because of our partnership, we’re delivering increasingly individualized and relevant content, which keeps our customers more engaged and improves brand loyalty.”
Responsys’ survey found that nearly half (44 percent) of consumers are less responsive to non-personalized, or “mass-marketing” messages. Perhaps this apathy is a reflection of the survey finding that nearly two thirds (64 percent) of consumers see personalization as a sign that the brand values its customers. Roughly one half feel respected, understood by and have a sense of loyalty and connection to brands that personalize digital communications.
Marketers are ultimately responsible for driving sales and Responsys’ survey found that when messages are personalized, more than half of consumers (53 percent) are more likely to purchase from that brand. The impact is even more positive on younger consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 who are 65 percent more likely to purchase from brands that personalize the content delivered to them.
With two-thirds of consumers who engage with brands using multiple channels to do so(2), the survey also found that consumers value personalization across all points of interaction, with the most (67 percent) saying it is important for brands to personalize email communications, followed by social media (44 percent), SMS (40 percent) and web display ads (36 percent). Again, younger consumers (18-34) are more likely to place importance on personalization across channels.
In being more targeted and relevant in their communications, brands are also increasingly expected to honor consumer preferences around when, where and how they should be contacted. Responsys’ survey found that nearly two thirds (63 percent) of consumers believe it is important that brands manage their digital communications in line with consumer preferences and more than half (52 percent) trust brands that enable consumers to share their marketing preferences more than brands that do not. Of this group, 66 percent say that if a brand gives them the ability to express their preferences, they are more inclined to purchase from that brand.
Why does advertising work on everyone else, but not me?
Why do advertisers keep repeating an ad over and over?
We all too often miss the subtle changes we make in our lifestyle based on influences that occur in our environment. From the toilet tissue we buy to the color of hair dye we choose, most consumers are not making choices exclusively for themselves but are also doing what they believe will make others happy.
Through the subtle persuasions of advertising and marketing, we become convinced of a product’s value over time. We get more of a sense of security in our decision to purchase a product the more we see it and the more others seem to be using it. Traditional marketing aims to convince us of majority buy-in and credibility. This is what creates the “buying environment” Jeffrey Gitomer refers to in The Little Red Book of Selling.
Mobile marketing vs traditional marketing is far more direct and panders to our impatient two-second attention spans we all have and gets right to the point. “Come in today”, “Call now” or “Buy now!” are all call to actions you rarely hear or see in traditional advertising.
Mobile marketers need to be careful not to disrupt this buying environment consumers are used to. A push notification with a deal or exclusive offer can be fun and engaging, but too many offers can lead to the consumer losing the sense of exclusivity and begin to perceive the merchant as desperate.
Take a lesson from tried and true traditional marketing and slow things down a bit. Offer information and education, but not always a DEAL. Find ways of engaging customers without screaming “buy, buy, buy!”
At the end of last month, the SMS Masterminds hit a milestone we were told was impossible: we reached our millionth customer. It’s because of all of the hard working and dedicated people we have behind us, and it’s a big deal.
I can remember when we started in 2009 when people would argue that nobody would allow businesses to send messages to their mobile phones. I guess we answered that objection!
With 55 active markets nationally everywhere from California to New York, our certified ‘Masterminds’ are giving local businesses access to ‘smart’ technology and full campaign management to help them identify and connect with their customers, the way they want to be communicated with, via text message.
We have a strong team and loyal clients, and without them we would not have the great success we’ve had. This is just the beginning. We’ve got more positive momentum and a better market than we’ve ever had before. We’re not your average company, and I think that’s one of our best attributes. Everyone on our team is unique and brings different strengths to the table.
We are obsessed with ensuring our ‘Masterminds’ and local merchants have a great experience. I’m tired of being disappointed with poor quality products, or services that sound good on paper but are too challenging to implement. There is a market for a premium level provider, and it feels good to play in that space. We’re grateful to our wonderful contributors like Jeffrey Gitomer, because with their help we’ve been able to take our service to the next level.
To my loyal clients who’ve helped get us here, and our newbies who will be part of the next million subscribers, I feel privileged to build such a great business with you.
Over the last decade, more companies have started to focus on Loyalty Programs. Responsibility for these programs is often outsourced to a team that operates in parallel – or even in isolation – from marketing, with the goal of building business and retaining customers.
This is the inverse of the way it needs to be. It’s all about loyalty, and every marketing program, promotion and communication needs to work together to achieve that.
Brand Loyalty is not a separate marketing tactic, or a discount program. It shouldn’t be seen as a program at all. It is the mission that drives all of a company’s activities. To achieve the emotion of loyalty, true loyalty, companies must engage their customers on both an emotional and rational level. This goal should influence the way you communicate, the incentives and promotions you offer and the way your team represents your products and services in market or through customer support.
When you build an authentic relationship with your customers, you establish a connection that motivates their decisions and behavior and inspires them to share their enthusiasm for your brand with others. This requires more than the fleeting delight that comes from a sale or a deal, and is forged only from a series of positive, personal experiences with your brand. When this occurs, they will be ready to see you less as a supplier and more as a long-term partner.
For any business, loyalty must be the primary goal. It’s not a soft win, it has ties to every return on investment your company measures. Achieve true loyalty and all else will follow.
“I don’t think my customers would be interested.””I have to ask my business partner.”
“I don’t think we can afford it at this time.”
“Let me think about it.”
Another thing you might hear is objections. These are often excuses in disguise. Just a few I’ve heard include:
“That’s too expensive.”
“I don’t have wifi.”
“You kids and your technology… it’s just a fad!”
The most important thing to remember if you start to hear excuses or objections is not to prove the merchant wrong. It’s your first impulse to tell them they’re wrong, but the right way to handle it is to get down to the root of the excuse. Affirm their concern and understand they’re not wrong for having a concern; they’re just uneducated. Want more? Watch the video below!