Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Winning Customers - The First Date

Most products and services want to create relationships with customers that build longer term loyalty and emotional connection. First impressions are therefore very important. What would happen if first impressions of a product or service were equated to first impressions of meeting someone that you would like to go on a date with and wanted to get to know?

Here is what the marketing pitch might look like from a corporation in this context (could be any product or service). The following would be left on the targets answering machine:
1. I am Bob. I would love to schedule some of your time to get to know you
2. I do electrical work quickly and you will find that knowing me will lead to a wonderful relationship. I have helped women like you find love and you will find I would be a great father to our future children together because I am a great guy.
3. If you act now and agree to have dinner with me, I will pay for an even better restaurant than I normally would have and maybe throw in tickets to a future Phillies game
Creepy to say the least

Here is an interaction that might actually work to get a date and form a relationship:
1. Hi Karen, I saw you moved into the apartment upstairs. Welcome to the building.
2. If you need any help, let me know. I am really good at hanging a fixture, and this building doesn’t exactly come with the latest d├ęcor.
3. (Next week some time) Hey Karen, saw you are all moved in. If you are free for a cup of coffee next Sunday….
4. The next week some time – if Karen is still speaking to you and doesn’t think you are too forward. (You have learned that Karen is a Phillies fan) Hey Karen, I have 4 tickets to Phillies, which I know you like, and one of my buddies just cancelled, so if you are free to join us next Tuesday the game is at 7pm
Ok so you get the point.

The differences are so obvious, yet the first pitch is the one that brands and services take more often than not.

How NOT to build a relationship:
1. Broadcast to everyone to find someone
2. Don’t know the target at all, but do know what you have to offer
3. Laying out lots of benefits – including long term benefits that are irrelevant to a first transaction.
4. Not learning about the target before the transaction, and/or during the relationship building
5. Lay out early incentives that, while eventually relevant, are not seen as genuine at first

Think of brands and services you love. They knew your needs before you even knew they existed. They slowly built a product and message that seemed genuine and simple. You believe they might know you, or at least think of you as a person. And while they first enticed you with their genuine benefits, over time there became an emotional connection. Then the functional benefits became less and less relevant. (Does your wife of 20 years love you only because you can fix electrical work?)

Happy branding.

No comments: