From big companies to small, from email templates to lead automation, marketers are realizing that, in order to play the game, they need to be able to move quickly to tailor their message to the unique attribute of a prospect or customer.
Knowing how to be nimble and responsive isn’t really some secret code you need to crack to make the most of your marketing messages, it requires common sense and not forgetting that at the end of the day, it’s still a person you are talking to on the other end of the line.
Technology has made it very easy to set up an automated ‘thank you for registering!’; a follow up ‘did you get that white paper download?’; and an oh-so-sincere ‘we appreciate your recent order’ email. But using technology as the means instead of the method is going to leave people cold. But the marketing machine is only the conduit. The real value your customer sees is in the usefulness of the information.
It comes down to not only the delivery, but the content and the tone—and that means connecting with your customer. What is going to resonate versus what is going to make them feel truly valued?
This is where the real relationship takes hold.
And let’s not forget the visual elements—good graphics inspire the viewer, even in the business to business realm. We aren’t building the fan bases of Coke and Pepsi, but your customers will still respond to the emotional element that makes them think of your company in a positive way.
Don’t forget about this often overlooked opportunity. You need to connect visually as well as verbally. And shock value holds no value—make your imagery relevant and meaningful.
A True Connection
This is real marketing communications. Just because the tools out there help you in your process doesn’t mean they’re equipped to replace the thought behind what makes a solid, successful, stable customer relationship.
So, what’s tomorrow’s code word? Well, that remains to be seen, but no doubt, it’ll still be based on solid communication and building strong relationships.
According to helpguide.org, ‘a good relationship is more than something we want—it’s something we need to be our happiest, healthiest, most productive selves. But at home or work, supportive, fulfilling relationships don’t come automatically. They take an investment in time and energy.’
Much holds true when it comes to the relationships between an agency and its clients and vice versa. These relationships, like those in your everyday life, can be complex. The need for collaboration, trust and hard work on both parts goes a long way in building a strong, long lasting bond.
But how do we get that bond? That sustainability? Well, think of your successful day-to-day relationships, then apply what you know.
• Treat each other well – No one should be a doormat. You know the saying, ‘do unto others, as you would have them do unto you’…live it!
• Be partners – Create a friendly atmosphere based on teamwork and collaboration. Not a dictatorship. Remember, you get more bees with honey.
• Establish clear expectations – Mean what you say, say what you mean. Define goals and follow through. Be transparent. Share all of the information needed. Put it all in writing.
• Be respectful – Sometimes things need to be a rush, but it shouldn’t be a rush on ‘every.single.project’. Be mindful that although the agency makes you feel like you are their only client, you probably aren’t. So be respectful of their time as they will be respectful of yours. And agencies, be flexible to the needs of your clients.
• Communicate regularly – Whether on the phone, via skype or in person, it is a good idea to schedule meetings regularly to make sure everyone is on the same page. But in turn, if there is nothing new to talk about, keep it short, but still consistent.
• Have fun – This is the most important thing to remember. You probably spend more time at your job than you do anywhere else. So when you have an opportunity to work with your agency, make it fun. Remember, you chose each other for a reason.
Good relationships are a two-way street, built on honesty, trust and teamwork. Cultivate your mutual investment of time and energy. In the end, all parties will benefit. Happy creating!