I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the 80′s and retain some fantastic memories and even more fantastic stories (many cannot be shared here), it was indeed a time that left its mark on society.
It should not be necessary to state that somethings from the 1980′s should stay in the 80′s, or serve as only recollections. Examples are the fashions as demonstrated on this page, and the topic I wish to further explore, marketing and business practices. The decade of the 1980′s had a prevailing concept of marketing that was monolithic in nature. The goal was completely oriented to client acquisition, with little thought toward retention, or adding depth to the relationship with clients once they were acquired. In the 1980′s on the few broadcast channels we had, advertising consisted of a wonderful slogan and the effort to convince everyone in the same manner that product A was better than product B. Technology was limited and demographics to personalize or customize a message for certain groups was an afterthought. The client once acquired was only loyal to a price which meant they were not loyal to the business or enterprise at all. Luckily, in some cases that client made the decision because of quality of the product or the experience to become a long term loyalist of Product A or Product B, but it was not intentional on the part of the business.
Marketers focused on acquiring customers by developing a better marketing mix than the competition (the marketing mix is the blending of optimal product, place, promotion, and price for the targeted market segment). Using the mass media in the same way, the same basic messages were sent to everyone. Businesses with the best commercial or slogan gained market share and deservedly so. Products and their prices were developed to attract the average consumer, and distribution outlets were standardized. The focus was on developing economies of scale, where cost economies were realized through repetition, as opposed to customization. Companies focused on feeding the pipeline with even more customers, and, once prospects became customers, companies would market to them via promotions that were not personalized. The strategies used for customer retention were limited to coupons, special collector’s items (remember the glasses with cartoon characters from McDonald’s), and hoping the staff that interacted with customers was respectful and nice enough to attract customers. Your question at this point might be, What is wrong with that? It worked, it grew business and brought us to where we are today.
THE PROBLEM: What worked in the 1980′s does not work today, unless you have no competition whatsoever in your industry. This form of interaction with your customer actually makes the consumer and the business adversaries. The customer desires as much as they can get for the least amount of money, the business seeks to give as little as possible for the most amount of money. This happens because with no customer relationship in play, there is no guarantee of future sales, so each must get all they can in this one interaction. Learning customer relationship management, and applying it to your organization gives you an advantage in competing. If you are a non-profit you are competing for donors and volunteers. If you are a business you are competing for customers, the brightest employees and for a larger share of each customer’s spending. The way many of today’s small businesses & non-profits, especially religious organizations, compete is out of what was popular in the 1980′s, with a little dab of social media on the side.
Remember all revenue, all profit is from the customer. To survive, to expand you must not only acquire the customer but develop a profitable relationship with the customer. That is the basis of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and how it is done through customer relationship marketing. Via today’s software implementations and the connectivity of the web, you now can be taught what your customer wants, how they want and when they need it. No organization should currently practice one size fit’s all on most marketing. If your business model is based on margins, it is based on maximizing each transaction. Therefore you are trying to make as much profit on one transaction as possible. This attitude makes the customer a victim. If mindset switches to making less profit but on many more transactions the customer and the business benefit, and not only have we acquired a customer we retain the customer for a long term relationship. It is business 101 that acquiring a new profitable customer costs at least 3 times the amount it costs to keep your current customer. Amazon, eBay and others make it paramount to know what customers frequently by, what they last purchased and even if we are cyclical buyers. Why don’t you know this about your customers? Invest in the relationship, make it an easier process to stay with you and maintain the relationship, even if another vendor shows up with a lower price. Oh, you would like an example. let’s look at banking, in particular, online banking. You have a personal log-in that you have remembered, You have installed a mobile app on your phone, Many set-up automatic drafts and bill pay, for monthly obligations. Many provide cash back for expenditures using their cards. The average person thinks this is done for convenience, and in part it is. However, it now becomes a task to transfer all that information, learn the new password, set up new bill pays, get familiar with the new app, in short, the customer has invested in the relationship and is more likely to stay longer. It is a benefit for them to stay rather than go to another bank whose maintenance fee is a $1 Cheaper per month. Customer Relationship marketing rest on both parties receiving more from the relationship than they would in a single transaction. Your marketing endeavors must go deeper than updating the customer on what you do and have, even if you do it on social media. Customer Relationship Management is mutual, what can you do, implement, and promote that makes a client wish to form a relationship with you.
Technology, allows us to very affordably track who people are, what their habits are, and through market research determine why they purchase. This information demands you to customize your marketing efforts to small groups or individuals. It is a minimal investment and will benefit your organization greatly, if you are not marketing via technology and customizing your marketing initiatives, quite simply your marketing is from the 80′s.