Target marketing and building customer loyalty

Target marketing and building customer loyalty

Target marketing is no more than understanding your potential client base. For retailers, it is knowing where your customers live, what they typically require, and how to attract more customers just like them. For resellers and systems integrators, it is knowing who the potential clients are, what types of systems they are using, and what they are spending on IT. In short, it is knowing your marketplace and planning a strategy to expanding your client base.

Target marketing is more than just advertising -- it is making sure your message gets to the right people at the lowest cost. For instance, if you are a retailer selling PCs, it might make more sense to do a letter-box drop to the areas within your sales territory that reflect the socio-economic status of your clientele than to run ads in the local newspaper. The emphasis is not on letting everybody know about your products and services but to let the people who are the most likely to buy your products and services know about them.

The key to target marketing is knowing who your current customers are. At the retail level, this can be done via a simple survey form, a contest (making sure that the provisions of the Privacy Act are followed), or some other method of keeping track of who is buying what. Once you have a list of your customers, make sure that you keep them informed of what you are doing. A newsletter or regular fliers can do wonders for customer loyalty, especially if you reward good customers with special offers, additional services, or other incentives. Building customer loyalty is a common concept in retailing and there is no reason to think that it shouldn't be applied to the computer retailer.

For resellers that provide goods and services to the corporate marketplace, customer loyalty is even more important as the number of clients is usually smaller and the average spend is typically higher. Unless the client solely sources all of their services from you, there is always room for improvement. One tactic is to make sure that you always know when they are in the market for new kit. One of the best sales reps I ever worked with would visit every client at least once a month, ask a bunch of questions, and dutifully record the answers as well as any concerns. He never missed out on a sale because he always knew what the client needed. Plus the clients felt as if they were being well looked after.

Building customer loyalty also means providing the most appropriate solution, even if it is perhaps not the most profitable for you. Saving the client money in the short term almost always gives you a larger market share in the long run.

Finding new customers and selling them something is a lot harder than selling to existing customers, but it has to be done to keep the potential client base expanding. Target marketing can help you identify potential clients and understand a bit about their probable requirements. Target marketing to corporates can be done either geographically or vertically. There are any number of comprehensive directories available that list businesses sorted by either location or function. Companies that specialise in selling to the hospitality or agricultural sectors can acquire company lists along with executive names, staff sizes, and sometimes even annual turnover. From this information you can generate qualified leads. Then it is simply a matter of promoting a mix of your products and services to those people.

Remember, well-designed and well-targeted promotional pieces are not viewed as an imposition but as a resource. Especially if you can add helpful hints or good advice to your messages. Building your profile as a source of practical information can do wonders for sales. Plus by providing basic information you might be able to take some pressure off of your help desk.

Building customer loyalty, selling to potential into those client sites, and constantly looking out for new customers are fundamental exercises to compete successfully in the competitive market. Target marketing is not a luxury - it is a necessity. A good target marketing programme can be built around a common sense approach - focusing resources on where the greatest potential increase in profits will accrue. Retaining and enhancing customer loyalty is always a cost effective proposition whether implementing a help line or ensuring regular sales calls and prompt warranty updates. Providing first class customer support is the best way to get customers to come back again and again. And that is the best way to stay in business.

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