The New Business Model

Seth Godin had a great post the other day about the emergence of a new meeting standard. Along with the skyrocketing price of oil, the emergence of communications technologies has pushed businesses and people to think differently about the face-to-face meeting.

If we have to meet face-to-face there had better be a compelling reason to do so. Seth continues: "Here's what someone expects if they come to see you on an in-person sales call: that you'll be prepared, focused, enthusiastic and willing to engage honestly about the next steps. If you can't do that, don't have the meeting."

I like this new standard for several reasons (us being a web conferencing company is only one of them). The most important one is presence. With web and audio conferencing prospering, it has raised the bar for all other types of meetings. Why meet face-to-face if the situation does not demand it? If you do meet face-to-face, it better be alot more scintillating and productive than something a web conference could have accomplished. In other words, you better not walk me through your PowerPoint presentation or leave me with a transcript.

What this has done is force people to think about their meeting medium. Most people must ask themselves these questions now: Am I wasting people's time by asking them to meet me face-to-face? What is the best medium for this type of presentation? All to avoided the dreaded, "I came all the way in here for this!"

[tags] Seth Godin, web conferencing, audio conferencing [/tags]

Customer Retention

Brian Carroll has another great post about the value of current customers., At ReadyTalk, our business model is based on exceptional customer service and support with a streamlined product that is easy to use and extremely stable. Given our exceptional service model, we understand the value of our current customers.

Take a look at some of these statistics:


  • For every customer who bothers to complain, there are 26 others who remain silent.
  • The average “wronged” customer will tell 8 to 16 people.
  • 91% of unhappy customers will never purchase services from you again.
  • It costs about five times as much to attract a new customer as it costs to keep an old one.

 

With statistics like these it is amazing that more companies don't put more energy into keeping their current customers. Remember this: The magazine that gives new subscribers gifts while ignoring subscribers that have been reading their magazine for years. Even as a child, upon hearing these offers, something felt wrong to me.

At ReadyTalk, we not only have lead nurturing programs but we also are working on implementing a customer nurturing program. The objectives of this program are to build loyalty among our current customers, promote stickiness through programs and get them to use more of our products and services.

I would love to hear from you if you have implemented such a program or are thinking about it.

[tags] customer retention, loyalty, Brian Carroll, customer nurturing [/tags]

Quantitative and Qualitative

Spent the day at an American Marketing Association conference named "Data to Decision." There was much discussion and case studies on how to gather relevant data in regards to creating unbiased surveys, selecting customer feedback panels, and connecting with key players to understand what the question they want answered is.

Apparently I am a data junkie who loves this stuff! I seriously could spend all day digging through data and providing analysis.

This is a key by the way. Analysis versus data. Anyone can take an Excel spreadsheet and total the number of visits to a website. The conference speakers were quick to point this out: without proper analysis all the data in the world will not help you make the correct decisions. It takes analysis and looking for trends/insights to make the data valuable. Once you have these insights, tactical plans can be formulated and executed.

Then, there is more data to gather in analyzing the results of the tactics which starts the cycle all over again.

[tags]market research, American Marketing Association [/tags]

Storytelling & Segmentation

Ardath Albee has a great post today about the power of storytelling. Ardath's post and e-book (which can be obtained from the link) is quite similar to a seminar we hosted by Andy Goodman entitled "Storytelling: Your Most Powerful Communications Tool".

Ardath, like Andy, suggests that in order to capture and retain your prospects and customers attention you must tell a story that relates to them. As Ardath states in her e-book "when you enable people to step into your story and envision their future with you, their problem solved, you develop empathy. Empathy leads to trust….and [trust is] the prerequisite for engagement."

The key is to tell the right story to the right person and this is where segmentation comes into play. At ReadyTalk, we track job function and title for all of our customers and prospects. This allows us to tell an accurate story to which the reader can relate.

I particularly like her suggestion that each piece of content you choose to develop should be based upon urgency. Specifically, each story you develop must play to the readers sense of urgency t ogain attention. As Ardath succinctly puts "Urgency means aligning the story's plot with a priority of the buyer."

I would love to hear some of the ways your marketing department creates compelling stories for your customers.

[tags] Ardath Albee, storytelling, segmentation [/tags]

Measure Twice

All of these analytics vendors and marketing automation companies calling me has got me thinking, of all the things that they can measure; what should be measured? Again, Manoj, at Web Analytics World, provides some help.

I like how he uses the typical sales funnel to organize your metrics. Then he identifies metrics within each stage. I particularly like this approach because he uses metrics to supplement a real sales process. This stresses the point that any analytics package is only as good as the sales process which it supports.

Define your process, then support it with metrics and software where applicable.


[tags]web analytics, Manoj Jasraa [/tags]