Modern technology has left customers with a short attention span. There is so much information coming at people at any given moment that they subconsciously edit the vast majority of it.
How is your business going to cut through the noise, reach and appeal to the customer groups you’ve targeted?
By being different, by being in sync with their interests, needs and aspirations, by somehow reflecting who they are or who they want to be.
Seth Godin a well-known progressive marketing academic and author of several bestselling marketing books coined the term ‘tribe’ with respect to customer relationship marketing in his 2008 book ‘Tribes’. Since then it has become the go to business book for marketers and retailers wishing to find a point of difference and mine it for business sustainability.
Tribe building involves going to the source, the staff that connect with the customers and represent your store or brand on a daily basis.
Set event objectives and engage staff in selection
Customer events can be a source of excitement and inspiration for sales teams. When they are involved in the event selection and planning process their intricate knowledge of individual customers and the customer base as a whole can add significant value to process. It can also increase the likelihood of both a well-targeted invitee list and an ultimately successful event. A beneficial side effect is the sales team morale boost that can result from the acknowledgment of their expertise.
When engaging relevant staff in event selection and planning they must first be briefed on the event objectives.
Objectives will vary from retailer to retailer and event to event but commonly the following needs to be clarified:
- -Type of customer initiative: event, offer or program
- -The target customer group
- -The budget
- -Any brand guidelines for customer events in general (i.e. brand style guide)
- -Any specific guidelines for this initiative
- -Any event partners
- -What is required of the staff who involvement is required
-Once the objectives have been clarified they can be communicated to the key staff whose involvement is required.
-Being clear with them on the selection and planning process can improve the quality of their contribution and streamline the process.
Prioritise cost-effective events for implementation
All customer relationship building initiatives are an investment whether financial, time or resources. Regardless of budget, each event, offer or program launched to a customer group should be aligned to clear business objectives and as such have a projected return on investment.
Sticking to an established budget is important as is getting the maximum return for the investment.
Customer experiential events may have no direct return on investment but may result in an increased spend over the coming year so it is important to realise that not all initiatives will have a short-term return. Establishing the desired return for a given investment in the customer relationship helps evaluate its success and informs future decisions.
To be cost effective, initiatives must be supported by return on investment (ROI) projections. This also allows for CRM development teams to set event budgets. Without ROI projections be they quantitative or qualitative, it is challenging to invest wisely.
Consider a supermarket chain proposing to launch a loyalty card.
Their projected ROI for each customer joining the program is an increased spend of 15% on the previous year. This 15% may not be additional grocery shopping, it is more likely to be shopping they would have done at a competitor which they are now less inclined to do due to the points they gather on the loyalty program. The supermarket not only increases their revenue, they increase market share.
The data behind the projected increased spend and boost to market share can inform decisions around the loyalty program implementation budget and functionality.
Over spending on customer initiatives is just as much a business issue as poor supplier negotiations and inappropriate recruitment. At the time it may not seem a significant issue but the problems come later.
Lead staff in planning and scheduling events
Retail leadership is a fine art.
Leading an inspired and motivated group of staff invested in the customer initiative they are planning is a management success story and one that does not happen by chance.
Great retail leaders take the time moment by moment to build strong working relationships with their teams. They guide them toward performance excellence and acknowledge their achievements. They support their growth and provide them with opportunities to stretch their capabilities.
Such leaders have done the groundwork and the result is high performance teams, increased discretionary effort and engagement.
When it comes to leading staff in planning and scheduling customer initiatives effective communication and close attention to the objectives is essential. Delegation of key milestones and activities can help develop leadership skills in others and share the workload. Establishing deadlines and expectations can allow leaders to let go of the reins a little and give key team members the chance to step up.
Some of the best ideas come when talented teams are left to do what they do best.