Focus on fundamentals: a strategy to keep customers engaged
As we usher in a new year, we’re once more inundated by half a dozen trends hailed by marketing pundits as the next big thing. It’s no surprise in a business built on capturing attention, but that doesn’t make it true. While it’s good for companies to keep up with the times, chasing every trend makes for bad strategy.
While there isn’t a single formula for good strategy, there is one thing worth keeping in mind: stick to the fundamentals. Balancing short-term tactics with long-term strategy will help you chart a steady course toward keeping customers engaged. And a good place to start with this balance is with your customers.
See Yourself as Your Customers Do
Customers are an excellent foil to marketing trends, because they’re largely driven by the opposite of trendiness, habit. If customers want your product or services to do something for them, chances are they’ll expect it to keep doing that.
The internet’s an easy way to get the pulse of your market. Do an online search of your company. Browse forums related to your niche. Check social media, including your official pages and other relevant communities. Everything you see here are also things people looking up your business might find—it’s the first impression you’re making.
Don’t forget offline interactions, though. People may be used to digital communications, but they still prefer talking to real people over machines. An inbound business number reinforces your professional image and makes it easier for customers to reach you. With a good business phone system, you can better manage callers, while tracking and analysing their behaviour. Live answering services, meanwhile, keep customers engaged by providing a human response, while also getting caller information.
Looking for patterns in customer behaviour and feedback will help you decide which trends are worth pursuing. Changing tactics based on customer preference is better than just taking some guru’s word for it—after all, your customers keep you in business.
Reaffirm Your Brand
What if the patterns you find aren’t quite consistent? Customers are a varied lot, after all.
Focusing on fundamentals includes re-examining your brand. This means knowing what’s happening on the inside, regardless of how your customers see it. Understand your product or service, your brand’s messaging and how these might have changed slightly over the years—but also which parts have stayed and must stay the same.
This kind of self-evaluation will help you get your brand message across to your ideal customers and users. And with the data you have on them, you’ll be able to make targeted, tactical changes to reaffirm your brand in the long run. Online, this might mean achieving uniformity across your different internet presences. Offline, virtual office services can help businesses provide consistent contact details, even if they work remotely or from multiple locations.
Once you’ve thoroughly studied what your customers want and what your brand can give them, you’ll be ready to start leaning into those trends and innovations. It will take time, effort and resources to learn, not the least because these will likely change as time goes on. In some ways, your customers and your business will change, too, requiring you to adapt.
Which leads us to one last fundamental: learning deliberately. Even with years of experience under your belt, there is always more to learn about your market and your business. New research, techniques, and technology are discovered every day. A proactive approach to education and training will help you manage your time and resources more effectively.
And when learning deliberately is one of your business’s fundamentals, you’ll find that your business can stay flexible and agile without sacrificing its brand or its identity. With a strong and flexible base, your business will have no problems taking on any challenge that this year may bring.