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Over the years - through trial and error - Earthnet has discovered some of the many elements that make good Customer Marketing Relationship programmes great.

We offer our Earthnet CRMarketing Top Tips for your consideration...

We would be delighted to receive your comments! Do write to us: info@earthnet.ie

It’s no secret that your best future customer is an existing customer. Time and again, marketers spend scarce financial resources on general advertising to recruit new customers rather than motivating existing customers to stay loyal. The first step toward maintaining customer loyalty and increasing profits from them is simple: Know Thy Customer. By coming to a true knowledge of your customers, you will be poised to lever that knowledge into actions that will result in long-term success. Here’s all you have to do:.

Determine what customer information is valuable to you.
Of course, you’ll want basic data such as name, address, telephone number, email address, and age group. But depending upon your product and service, you may want much more: type of employment, socio-economic category, marital status, children and their ages, birth dates, type and age of car(s), house owner, eating trends, etc. By thinking through what factors might be important to their decision to stay loyal to your products and services – and to purchase more of them – you can develop a Customer Profile that you believe will help you to better understand your customers.

Gather Your Data
Getting your hands on customer information doesn’t have to be expensive. Enclose a reply paid card with every posted communication that you make to your customer base. Ask them to return the card providing you with the data that you are seeking. Motivate response with a small competition. You'll be surprised at the willingness of your consumers to provide such data. If your company is a mass market operation, such as a food company, consider seeking this data as part of competitions, on-pack offers, or sampling programmes. This information can then be turned into one of the most valuable resources that your company will have ever developed. And it can be used to greatly profit your business.

Save Your Data
Having obtained the preliminary customer information, make certain that you properly save it! You don’t need a high-powered database software programme to do this. Microsoft Access or Microsoft Excel can be used to great effect to allow your company to turn this basic information into a high powered marketing tool.
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Over the years, we’ve learned that the more you talk to your customers the more likely it is that they’ll engage in the type of behaviour that you desire: your customers will purchase more of your products and services; they are also more likely to stay loyal to your company. ‘Talking’, however, is one thing. Communicating effectively is another. Here are a few tips that turn good communication into great communication.

Understand Your Customers Before You Communicate
If you don’t understand your customers’ needs, you will be unable to communicate to them effectively. Think about it. If you receive a mailing for disposable nappies, and you happen to be well beyond child rearing years, you’ll consider the mailing to be junk and immediately bin it. Therefore, you must first completely understand your customers’ wants and needs in order to make your communications relevant to those needs.

Be Powerful Yet Succinct
In any type of a communication – direct mail, telephone, email, page advertising – you have no more than 10 seconds to gain the interest of your customer. If you do not capture your target’s attention within that time, you’ve lost the battle for their minds.

Make Friends
CRMarketing is all about making friends. This is where it differs from general advertising. Your message should be less formal; more personal. You are communicating to your customers because you care about them. Your message should impart that fact.

Ask for Feedback
CRM is all about response. You should use any response mechanism at your disposal: insert reply cards asking for information form your customers in all communications, even statements! It’s inexpensive. Set up 1850 numbers. Use email responses. Make certain that your customers know that you care about their responses – meaning that when they respond you must get back to them immediately. Generate responses using inexpensive yet effective competitions, product offers, or loyalty programmes.

Record Those Responses
Record all responses on customer-specific records in your Database. This allows you not only to track those responses, but allows you to gain a better insight into your customers’ needs. Used correctly, this is a very inexpensive yet effective form of market research.

Choose Your Communication Channels Wisely
You don’t have to spend a fortune to communicate effectively. Direct mail, email, 1850 call centres, and similar channels can target your existing – and potential – customers much more cost effectively than mass-market communications. These channels also offer you the ability to personalise your message and motivate your customers through personalised offers.
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The old marketing saw states that 80 percent of a company’s sales is derived from 20 percent of their current customer base. In our experience, that 80/20 Rule is alive and well. Existing programmes operated by our company on behalf of clients, as well as ongoing research, powerfully indicates that a company’s greatest opportunity to increase sales (as well as market share) are through programmes that leverage more sales from an existing customer base.
Over the years we have developed and implemented sales-driven customer motivation programmes that have worked very well – and programmes that have proven to be absolutely disastrous. Here are our findings:

- Consumer Loyalty Programmes – rewarding existing customers for purchasing more and more products through a variety of gift incentive schemes has significantly increased total market share and volume for our clients, cost-effectively. Like historic ‘petrol forecourt reward programmes’, consumers feel that they are being justly rewarded for their loyalty to brands and purchase behaviour. To redeem for a variety of gifts, consumers simply pick a gift of choice offered to them by the client company, purchase an appropriate amount of client product, and use a proof of purchase mechanic to receive their gift.

Consumers’ positive reaction to this type of offer is due to their perception that Companies are making a special effort to communicate with them, and that a special programme has been designed to reward loyalty.

The Lesson: Gift Loyalty programmes can significantly increase total sales volumes and market share within a loyal consumer base.

  - Cross-Selling Programmes – having established loyalty with a particular pool of consumers, cross-selling additional products and services into that group results in significantly higher sales when compared to selling into a “cold” target group. Consumers who are already satisfied with the products or services of a known company have already established a positive relationship with known brands or services. Through the effective use of a variety of marketing communication channels, cross-selling can significantly increase total sales and market share, while minimising the marketing spend to achieve that objective.

The Lesson: Existing customers who are loyal to a particular product or service are much more likely to purchase another product or service from a brand/company that they already know and trust. This attitude, when leveraged appropriately, can lead to significant increases in market share and new product launch success rates.

Pence-Off and Trial Programmes
Loyal customers are also more likely to use pence-off or ‘bounce-back’ coupons, or trial invitations for new products/services, than those who are not aware of the company or product/service. Again, this appears to be due to their ongoing confidence in particular brands and/or behavioural usage.
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Discount Clubs and Cards – a few years ago we offered a discount scheme to members of a particular CRM database whereby, and for their loyalty to a brand, consumers were provided with the opportunity to save up to 15 percent on a variety of products and services throughout Ireland (including restaurants, hotels, retailers, etc). The uptake was less than 2 percent, a disastrous waste of funds.

Consumers were not motivated to purchase more client products in order to receive their Discount Card membership (rather, it was given to them as a ‘gift’). Consumers therefore saw little perceived value in the offer. Too, the discount offers contained in the Discount Cards were perceived as either irrelevant to their lifestyle/purchase behaviour or were not always honoured by the restaurants/hotels/retailers in question.

The Lesson: Discount Club and Card programmes seem to be unsuccessful unless targeted to specific demographic groups, and matched to their lifestyle and purchase behaviour.

Cheap’ Incentives – a number of years ago we were asked by a company to source an item as part of an on-pack, instant reward mechanic. We recommended a particular ‘widget’. The potential client sourced a similar, though far less expensive, item. The cheap item was chosen by the client and was placed on-pack. The item broke when purchased by the consumer which not only infuriated many of them, but which also demeaned the perceived high-quality value of the client’s product.

The Lesson: either spend the money on incentive items that reinforce product/service quality, or don’t implement such programmes at all.

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existing customers really are your best avenue toward rapid expansion of sales and market share. Customers are interested in value for money. They are smart and well-informed. They are not easily duped. They are interested in convenience and quality. By providing motivational programmes that meet their needs, existing customers will purchase much more of your products and services. Moreover, they will recommend your products and services to their friends and colleagues, helping you to carve out even more market share and sales.
  For more information, feel free to contact us!
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Fax: 353 1 801 1450
Email: info@earthnet.ie
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