Marketing Checkup

Any time is a good time to identify the future that has already happened, but whose real impact has yet to be felt, and adjust our business strategies to be in attunement with what's happening.

Use this checklist for creating strategies to better manage customer relationships and profits:

1. Evaluate your business strengths to do more of what you do best.

In the business world, we don't speak much about the heart. Yet, all businesses are ultimately people
serving people. People need connection, belonging and meaningful contribution. Long after the product
or service has been delivered, the feelings remain for the customer.

Ask yourself, what customer experiences are you now providing that provide opportunities for bonding
responses from customers and attract new customers to your business?

The "moment-in-time" of every customer interaction is made up of: the experience, the customer and
the customer's reaction to the experience. Determine what specific business strengths create the
foundation of the customer bonding response and consider how you can expand them.

2. Technology changes the way we connect

Technology is changing everything. We are only beginning to understand
how much the Internet is shaking up business and society. "Whenever
technology expands the ability to communicate, the shock waves propagate
in unforeseen ways for years," says Thomas E. Weber of The Wall Street Journal.

Just like the telephone, that was invented in 1876 and continues to change
the world around us, the Internet has allowed for business to engage in
individual communication over mass communication.

With the rise of the Internet, there is now a shift of choice and power to
customers. Think about how you can use the Internet to more effectively
communicate with your niche markets and special interest groups. How can
you refocus your efforts on being the best company competing within these
well-defined market segments-to become a dominant factor in 2004?

3. Your Brand is the Experience

Gone are the days of the geographically captive customer when merchants
and service providers had the advantage of being the only place within
driving distance.

Today, even in cyberspace, the velvet-glove treatment is what your
customers expect...or...they will shop elsewhere. Consider shifting your
resources to spend 70% devoted to creating a great customer experience
and only 30% on marketing expenses.

Since competition is a matter of relations, improve your ability to structure
and control the process of attractive experiences that evolve into productive
relationships.

Brands are everything in symbolizing experiences by customers and prospective
customers.

4. Protect your customer franchise

We know that it costs 8 to 10 times more to get a new customer as it does to
keep a current customer. Yet, the average business loses 10% to 30% of their
customers every year. The reason for this is customer satisfaction does not
equal customer loyalty. Of the customers who defect, 80% are actually satisfied
with the company's service.

So, how does a company build customer loyalty?

Single out your best customers and create a strategy to serve them better in
2004 by taking advantage of the Internet's capacity to have one-on-one
conversations. If you don't protect these 20% of customers who provide 80%
of your revenues, your competition may get their foot in the door.

Pay attention to your intentions.

By refining our attention, we can focus and thereby rediscover
the sense of well-being that emerges spontaneously from a
balanced mind. Research tells us that geniuses of all kinds
shared one mental trait, despite the wide range of their
individual brilliance: They all possessed an exceptional
capacity for sustained, voluntary attention.

To a degree, we all have an innate talent for some activity.
By focusing our attention on building the strength of our
individual enduring talents, and applying damage control to
our weaknesses, we can choose to move from satisfactory
performance to excellence. When we know what our signature
talents are and how we might apply them within the world,
the application of attention allows our focused energy to push
us toward success.

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