Monday, May 27, 2013

The easiest companies you’ll ever market (& sell) to are…

Today we have a guest blog from Elizabeth Andreini:

The easiest companies you’ll ever market (& sell) to are…your customers of course! But yet that seems to always be the group that gets the least attention by marketing (and sales). Don’t make that mistake!

Not too long ago I found myself at a company that was suddenly agitated because their customer retention rate unexpectedly dropped by almost 10% in a single year. Customer subscription revenue was a significant part of their total revenue, and actually had more impact than new customer revenue, so the impact to the bottomline was significant. The company hadn’t been paying attention and consistently marketing to their customers because they had been so busy chasing new business. Once the revenue started to drop it took them a while to respond, and by that time the damage was done. While they couldn’t have saved all those customers, neglect had taken its toll.

An unfortunate story and a hard lesson learned.

Once this company started to look at their customer base more thoroughly, the other lesson the company learned was that it was not selling new products and services to their customers, many of whom didn’t even know about other solutions available to purchase. The business was not only losing current revenue, they were leaving new revenue on the table! While retaining your customers is important, what is often even more frequently overlooked is that these same customers are the most fertile ground for new sales.

Your company may not be in that same situation, but are you doing the best job you could to stay in touch with your customer base and consistently market to your customers? Chasing new customers or market segments while neglecting your customer base, leaves your customers unappreciated and makes it easier for your competitors to acquire them.

So focus on chasing after current customers! Market to them! Make keeping your customer base informed about all current and new products and services a priority. Invest time and energize your customer base and you may find they actually help you sell new customers too!

As the CEO, five questions you should ask your marketing (and sales) departments:

1.    What is our customer retention rate and how could we improve it?
2.    How much time and resources is our company spending marketing to our customer base compared to chasing new customers and new markets?
3.    How are we keeping our customers informed about new product and services offerings, and are marketing and sales working together to encourage purchase?
4.    How can we help our customers be better evangelists for our products and services?
5.    What else do our customers need that it would make sense for us to provide them?


As the President of Accelerate Marketing, LLC, Elizabeth Andreini, is the “secret weapon” CEOs turn to at key growth points when they need to transform marketing and product management to grow their customer base, increase revenue & scale their business. In addition to providing experienced executive insight and strategic guidance, Elizabeth often works as an interim CMO or VP to provide the hands-on leadership needed to rearchitect marketing and product management and improve execution from the inside.

Elizabeth Andreini, founder & president of Accelerate Marketing, LLC 
Accelerate Marketing, LLC
Twitter: @acceler8mkting
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Know your customer’s “true” motivation

Today we have a guest blog from Andrew Ballard:

There is a difference between what your customers say their motivation is for buying your product, and what truly motivates their decision. Are you confident you know the difference? The wrong assumption can cost you sales.

Most buyers believe they employ a logical thought process in making purchasing decisions. This is true for both business and consumer segments. However, many studies demonstrate that most decisions are motivated by emotion not logic. That being said, most consumers still rationalize their purchases. Psychologists refer to this event as post-hoc rationalization.   

I know this to be true, professionally and personally. When I bought my last car (a sporty red Acura with a high performance engine and suspension…fastest car I’ve ever owned), it was purely an emotional decision. Of course, I tried to rationalize the purchase to my wife. On my way home from the dealership I called her. “I just bought a new car honey; it’s a pretty red Acura, gets 30 MPG and you’ll love the navigation system, I’m pulling in the driveway.”

As I set the parking break, I noticed Sandra standing in the front doorway; I waved enthusiastically; then I made the mistake of racing the engine…busted! She gave me the look—the kind of look a husband deserves after 20+ years of bliss—then rolled her eyes and went back inside the house.

So what does this revelation mean to your business?  It means you should focus more on your brand image and the emotional connections your market makes with your product. It means you should focus less on features and comparative data, and adjust your messaging accordingly.

If you are able to identify the “true” motivation for your customer’s buying decisions, and act on that knowledge, you will likely experience a significant increase in sales. At the very least, your customers won’t roll their eyes and walk away.

So I ask you, what is your current messaging strategy…is it rational or emotional?

How can you adjust your message to trigger the emotion that “truly” drives consumer behavior? 


Andrew Ballard is the president of Marketing Solutions, a Seattle area agency that developsresearch-based growth strategies for small to midsize businesses.  He has over 30 years experience specializing in marketing research, strategic planning, brand development and revenue generation.  Ballard has helped hundreds of organizations (from startups through Fortune 500 companies) realize significant growth.

Andrew is a graduate of the Ford Marketing Institute and Certified in Six Sigma.  He is also a respected author and educator.  His articles on marketing strategy have been published in business journals through all 50 States.  His first book, entitled Your Opinion Doesn’t Matter, recently released to rave reviews in both corporate and academic circles.  In addition, he is adjunct faculty at the University of Washington.

 He can be reached at 425-337-1100 or