In continuation to my Entrprise 2.0 entry earlier, here is the IT product and services marketing 2.0.
So what's happening?
“Our CRM software is the best. Our CRM software is the Cheapest. Our CRM software is easiest to integrate and gives you peace of mind”.
“We are leaders in managed IT services with over 120 clients. We cater to end-to-end demands of our clients. We have thousands of man-hours of experience”.
“Our product can do X and Y and Z and even a.1.1, b.2.alpha and so on. Our product was rated best by gamma magazine in zeta year as the best”.
If your company is also doing something similar and telling the customers “One New Terminology Every year" because the head of so and so department in your company had to meet his or her KRAs and developed a new term to be promoted for the next year then trust me your company is headed “no where”. And I am not kidding you here, it’s a simple test: just search for some articles online for the past 4 years and you would see the industry big weights all going for the same “New Word”, whether its services companies like HCL, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Satyam, Accenture or product companies like IBM, HP, Cisco, Microsoft.
So, every year you see a new term like: Business Excellence, Execution Excellence, Business Transformation, Customer Orientation, Agile Business, Customer Centric, Scalable and Uptime so on and so forth. Trust me your organization is suffering from the favorite term taught in B-Schools: “Cognitive Inertia”. Anyways am not going to get into the details of the same, this is better left untold. (Consultants might give a smirk at it :) )
So obviously, you see, your company was growing at X%age, given the economic conditions and the certain investments in projected and confirmed in certain areas, you expanded your business and investment portfolios, what’s the big deal? You would have anyways reached that %age increase in business. DO NOT, for reality’s sake, attribute it to the management decision making or vision or marketing or whatever. If there was a term called “luck” put into the dictionary, someone rightly thought about the word or may be he also got lucky!
Anyways, coming back to the topic, in Today’s world the customer is intelligent enough to judge you and your organization in minutes. So do not try to Fake. Sooner or later it’s going to hit back on you. Do not try to be something or someone that your company is not.
So how to you market your IT product or Service in today’s Web 2.0 world? IT Service or product marketing Strategies:-
-Focus on existing customer’s satisfaction
-Re-visit your customer’s list and see your CSAT ratings (are you serious, do they mean anything?)
-Actually if you are, really serious about more business, refocus on existing customers, and provide them with that extra hand that you have been shirking away because you want that hand for new business.
-Most businesses grow based on the previous successes.
-Did you know WOMM (word of mouth marketing) is much stronger than a $10000 TV commercial?
-Let someone speak for you.
-Get satisfied customers to talk instead of parroting that you are best.
-If you are, someone will say that and if no one is ready to say that, then re-consider your stance.
-Let someone appreciate your work.
-Do not show the best quality , best practices and other related “Brags”
-If your work is good someone will tell you that.
-Encourage your customers to interact amongst themselves.
-Do not shy away in providing common interaction platforms to your customers.
-Let them communicate amongst themselves.
-You might see some feedback construing out of it.
-Or you might just see the best practices getting shared.
-Open your ears, nose, throats all possible holes to get feedback! They are doing a favor to you!
-Well you are helping yourself if you let the customers speak.
-Keep all possible channels of communication open for customers.
-DO NOT EVER IGNORE customer’s feedback.
-It’s one favor which will not get repeated if ignored.
-Do not miss a chance to appreciate the feedback and re-assure the customers.
-Thank the customer, appreciate and do whatever to make your customers happy about the feedback that they gave.
-Re-assure that you will take an action.
-Inform about the same.
-Respond with possible solutions.
If I was a sales guy reading this, I might just laugh on this entry. However, I myself being from sales background and having worked in multiple geographies in the world, the WOMM tactics work everywhere. Companies like Wipro, IBM, Accenture and Infosys have lost clients just because someone wanted to focus on the quarterly targets.
Customer centric approach just works brilliantly. In this Web 2.0 world, here are some Services and Products marketing strategies or IT 2.0 for Enterprise 2.0: -
Web, Email, Databse, Virtual Commnities
-Just provide a simple online interaction community to your existing customers. Let them self populate the content with best practices.
-See if you can include a blog in the online community, some regularly updated whitepapers, case studies, research reports, surveys etc. Or may be some expert articles or interviews etc.
-Run small contests, give out some creative branded merchandise, any football or cricket match LIVE tickets would be exciting!
-Learn about the customer’s online behavior by web analytics. See what the interest areas are and generate relevant content.
-Optimize your websites (it’s the first and most important impression). SEO and SEM for your website should work.
-Participate in online discussions. Stop being a mute spectator…Speak Up!
-Run a newsletter with content rich of information for the target audience based on their online behavior. Create optimized landing pages to compliment the content.
-Email marketing campaigns provide he highest ROI. Look forward to creating such mediums.
-Above all these things need databases and CRM systems to integrate and provide actual ROI. -So stop being that cheap old family business miser. Hire the right people and get your IT 2.0 marketing department up and running.
Online and Offline PR
Gone are the days when you could run a press release once in a quarter and be happy about your media coverage. Today it’s about Online PR presence.
How many times do you go looking for that 1 year old newspaper where you might have read about that company and blah…well in most probable circumstances, might just google that so an so company. Alas, your PR manager has been in company for 8 years and she didn’t study Online PR so unfortunately you do not have any online media presence. Well this is a WAKE up call.
Look into your annual marketing plan for god’s sake and see what your team is upto? Take some interest and start becoming active online and promote this in your entire company (or at least your department).
Strategic PR and Events is something you should look at very keenly. Do not blindly keep participating in random tradeshows and seminars. Look at the details on who, what and why and how much and what better can be done.
Ad-Agencies-Give a re-look
Your Ad-Agency will definitely promote Direct Mailers with the utmost creativity. Shut them up and think how many times in a day do you open your email and how many times do you read creative letters that come to you? You are not running your business to pay the creative guy’s salary working in that jazzy AD-agency, you are paying the agency to provide you with the cheapest and best channel to reach the largest audience with highest ROI.
It’s not rocket science, it’s just that the world has changed and the customers are empowered today with multiple sources of knowledge where you can’t fool them. So it’s better to tell the truth and let the customers be the final decision makers. Enable them with the right to information through various channels and hear from them. This conversational communication can do wonders for your business transformation in the web 2.0 world and this is what can be called as the IT Services and Products marketing 2.0.