THE CUSTOMER IS KING
Just as a ‘Beamer’ won’t bring you much joy without its engine, so marketing won’t get you anywhere unless driven by customer insight
If marketing is an art form, retail is perhaps its most high-profile canvas. Retail marketers are constantly looking for new and exciting ways of attracting shoppers to their stores, and then persuading them to part with their cash. It’s also the benchmark for marketers in other sectors. Last year’s news that two more big retailers, Mothercare and Marks & Spencer, were closing large numbers of stores, having suffered poor performance in spite of their huge spend, says little in favour of marketing.
In fact, both M&S and Mothercare, just like Tesco, Morrison’s, B&Q and other big retailers that have had to embrace the maxim “adapt or die” (just look at Toys’R’Us), are following marketing’s golden rule – the customer is always in the right place.
Understanding your customers is marketing’s primary function. All your creative communications activity – whether offline, online, PR or live experiences like trade shows – should be grounded in this. It tends not to be the stuff you read about, but then you don’t often see the engine in a BMW advertisement. Just as a ‘Beamer’ won’t bring you much joy without its engine, so marketing won’t get you anywhere unless driven by customer insight.
One real positive of the new regulations on processing personal data is that companies have a chance to identify and get much closer to customers and prospects that actively want to engage with them. Those consenting adults (pardon the phrase) should provide a richer seam of information than a lengthy list of strangers. Thanks to technology, marketers have access to affordable and immediate research tools at their fingertips, such as online surveys. This data can be extrapolated to build up a detailed understanding of their target audience, which can be fed into the strategy and creative execution of their marketing campaigns.
As well as consumers, of course, BMW understands its competitors equally well, and this should be another key component of the marketing machine. Brand differentiation is not just about having a different logo – it’s about providing the best customer experience, and attention down to the finest detail, like the guy at BMW who defines the noise the doors on different models make when you close them.
Integration is also crucial. In marketing, failing to plan really is planning to fail. From start-ups to global brands, the same rules apply. At Oyster, we work with engineering organisations of all sizes, and have consistently seen the best results and ROI from activity and campaigns that form part of a coherent strategy with clearly defined objectives. The rate of technological change makes engineering and manufacturing an exciting industry to be involved in, but marketing innovation needs to keep pace.
Marketing, just like engineering, is getting smarter. Make sure you stay ahead of the curve.
To find out how your business could benefit from taking an integrated, customer-centric approach to marketing, call Iain Humphrey today on 01582 761212 or get in touch by email.
To view some examples of our work, click here.