Live from RMC: Chasing the New Customer

Orlando, FL – Trying to chase new customers? Seek to promote the “higher order benefit,” or the emotional reasons a customer buys a particular product, says Lois Brayfield, president/chief engagement officer for consultancy J. Schmid & Associates.

In her May 26 session, “Catch Me if You Can: Chasing the Customer in a New Era,” at the Retail Marketing Conference, Brayfield told attendees that customers are “actively challenging you with other competitors.” As a result, catalogers need to realign their marketing efforts to lure customers by being “at the right place at the right time.”

Brayfield posed the following series of questions, and noted that merchants should be able to say “yes” to at least three of them.

Are you testing new formats and offers, both offline and online?

Do you regularly monitor what customers are saying about your brand?

Do you offer relevant content, appropriate to your brand, in a place where they might look for it?

Do you have a specific plan for those new customers who come in through search?

Do you have a “thank you” plan established for loyal customers?

Have you created a trigger e-mail program that taps customers/prospects on the shoulder depending upon specific behavior?

Do you have a robust way of capturing prospects that might be interested in your brand, but have yet to purchase?

Some areas of alignment for marketing activities include: targeting your message appropriate to the decision path; investing in consumer driven vehicles (new ways to show products, testimonials, interactive); making the decision stage easy with right information; and providing a seamless brand experience. If you don’t, Brayfield cautioned, your company will waste money and alienate consumers and possibly customers.

Companies who actively manage the customer experience are twice as likely to exceed profit targets, Brayfield said. Research is an integral part of understanding the customer, along with one-on-one interviews, reading what they’re saying, and using psychographic overlays.

Merchants also need to focus on acquisition and retention programs. “Messaging is about what you say and how you say it,” she said. “Loyalty is not guaranteed. You have to speak to them where they are.”

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