Once upon a time, marketing consisted of marketers shouting at consumers. They shouted through television, radio, and direct mail. It was called mass marketing and the communication flow was one way. The world is different now. Communication is two-way. To market successfully succeed today, we must all learn how to micromarket, which is marketing to one and one and one and one, etc.
Marketing is a Conversation
In the landmark book, “The Cluetrain Manifesto,” Chris Locke wrote the “markets are conversations.” He described how markets worked before the age of mass communication. People would come to town on market days. They would talk with the merchants and vendors, exchanging information as well as money and goods. Markets were where people got the news and where they heard rumors. This was ye olde marketing.
The nature of marketing began to change with print advertising, the Sears Catalog, and radio. Suddenly, companies could communicate to vast audiences. With television’s arrival after World War II, mass marketing became the rage. Companies had a megaphone. Consumers could only listen. Conversation ceased.
Today, the Internet has changed the way companies and consumers communicate. Consumers can talk back. They can talk with each other. Consumers have their own megaphones through reviews, blogs, and social media. Smart marketers heard them and began dialoguing back. They began conversing. Once again, marketing is a conversation.
The old rules no longer apply. To succeed today, marketers must shift from mass marketing to micro marketing. They must shift from easy, one way shouting at many to lots of micro engagements with lots of people. This is hard to scale, so mass marketers struggle to make this shift.
Micro marketing plays to the strength of contractors. It fits a local company serving a local community better than a large corporation. Here are the three steps required to micro market.
Mass marketers do not know how to listen to consumers. Thus, they hire marketing research firms to listen for them. Marketing researchers can do this well, to a point. They can never listen with the nuance of a small business owner.
Pay attention to what technicians and CSRs are saying. Ask them what they are hearing, what they are encountering. Moreover, contracting business owners should ask people themselves. Listen at the coffee shop, at church, at networking meetings, and on social media. Read every review. Read the reviews of other companies.
People will tell you what they want if you will listen. Ask people what they want from a contractor, what they fear, and what they get. Ask how they choose a contractor.
2. Speak Like a Human
Corporate speak is dry. It’s dull. It’s politically correct. You can spot it. Your customers can spot it. Do not speak like a corporation or a manufacturer. Be real. Be human. Be personal. Speak conversationally. Tell stories. People like stories. They remember stories.
Open up personally. Share stories about your life and your team with your customers and prospects. It helps people feel a personal connection with you.
If you are involved in the community (and you should be), talk about it. Promote community events. Tell people where you will be as a team and personally. Make sure your team wears company logoed apparel when doing charitable work.
Respond to questions. Enter into conversations. Remember, marketing is a conversation. When someone comments on your social media, respond. When you make a social media post, ask a question to encourage engagement. Comment on other social media. Comment on blogs.
Respond to comments on reviews, whether good or bad. Even if you only post something like, “Wow! Thanks. You made my day and I agree, our technicians do a great job.”
Reach out to your customers. Reach out to as many as you can. Reach out in bulk, but also personally. Mail to them. Email them. Create contests to stimulate engagement on their end. Give them things (e.g., company swag, gift certificates, coupons, etc.) when they engage with you.
Ultimately, business is built on relationships. You can create personal relationships with your customers that are stronger bonds than they will ever experience with utilities, big boxes, etc.
To learn more about how to engage your customers and how to grow your top and bottom lines, come to the Service World Expo at the Paris Casino and Convention Center in Las Vegas, October 16-18. Learn more at www.SWEShow.com and see how you can win a FREE registration. Do not miss the opening keynote with E-Myth author, Michael Gerber and Ken Goodrich, the $100 million contractor. For more information, email [email protected] or call 844-404-5328 M-F 8:30 – 5:30 CT.