Now that the Christmas season is coming, the temptation to contact customers with all kinds of messages is greater than ever, and since most of them have the same initiative, each customer receives a plethora of contacts and advertising, which results in a huge loss of effectiveness and a huge attack on patience. Being pushy stopped working decades ago, in most cases, but not everyone realized it.
Advertising is no longer “Buy It Now”. More and more, brands have to create a relationship with the consumer. This relationship has to be based on trust and a long-term perspective.
At the consulting firm where I work, LITS e-business, we have developed a methodology (LITS Framework) to help companies create this relationship with their customers that ultimately results in repeat sales. This relationship is created in three stages: 1) Awareness; 2) Engagement; 3) Conversion (image available at http://litsebusines.com/framework).
I will use the example of the “Nike+” community and the “Nike+ Running” application. “Nike+” is a community where athletes (mostly runners) can track their performances, share them, receive personalized training programs, etc. The user installs the app, which is free, on his phone and it measures his running performance in terms of speed, calories, location (GPS), etc. Then the phone uploads the information to the “Nike+” website. As can be seen in this example Nike developed the 3 steps:
Step 1 – Awareness: Making your product or brand known. In the case of the application, Nike can use several communication strategies, such as traditional or online advertising, public relations, sponsorships, events, etc. The important thing is to make the product known (the app is free) and its advantages.
Step 2 – Engagement (interaction): Is to create a relationship that generates interaction between the brand and the client. The application on the phone sends information to the Nike site about where the person runs, with whom (with Maria and José), at what speed, etc. It doesn’t charge you anything for the app or for using the site/community (measuring performance, socializing with other runners, personalized training, etc.), but it collects information that allows it to know the client and his habits in detail. Let’s imagine that the person, Jesus, runs in Lisbon always in the morning by the river, four times a week 5 km and with his friends Maria and José. The last pair of sneakers he bought (at the Nike store) was 12 months ago and is reaching its wear limit.
Step 3 – Conversion: With the information gathered in step 2, now is the time to try the sale. The sneakers are worn out, it is winter, cold in Lisbon, and Christmas is coming. Perfect moment, for example, to send an email with an offer of some Nike sneakers, available in the person’s shoe size, that keep the temperature (we know it’s Lisbon, so they don’t need to be for snow) and a jacket to run in lower temperatures. And since it’s Christmas and Jesus always runs with Maria and José why not send them an email as a gift suggestion for their jogging companion. The probability of making the sale this way is much higher and the customer gains loyalty and trust in the brand’s advice, even for commercial purposes, much greater.
From here on the relationship keeps changing between engagement and conversion. A brand is there as a companion and sells at the right moment what the athlete needs because he needs it. Each of these phases has a variety of tools and strategies that can be used.
As businesses, let’s get into the Christmas spirit and love of neighbor, instead of sending what people clearly don’t want to receive and which only hurts your business.