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Campaigning for Customers

 

Advertising isn’t enough. There has to be follow through to turn prospects into customers.

Each and every year since the Go RVing campaign was launched I’ve conducted a test.  I’m sitting comfortably in front of my television and the most enticing and touching ad telling me how great the RV lifestyle can be plays across the screen. I request a video so I can learn more. A few weeks later the video arrives.

It’s a nice package with more of the same enticing scenes that prompted me to respond in the first place. It sparks my interest again but I have more questions. 

Which type of RV would be best for my family? Where can I see some different RVs? Which brands are the best? How much do they cost? Visions of great family vacations are dancing in my head.

Then, it happens, life interrupts my RVing interest. I get busy. Activities fill the calendar and the year passes by without another contact from anyone in the RV industry.

Clearly, that isn’t the point of such a great campaign, is it?

To be fair, I have conducted this same test over and over again, in various industries, with much the same result. Recently, I received what must have been a $10 package from Harley Davidson. How many $10 bills do you think they sent out? That package ended with the same result. Life got in the way of my Harley riding, freedom dreams.

Companies, and even entire industries, are spending trailer loads of money on ad campaigns to generate awareness and interest. I assume that all of these campaigns have the intention of generating business (i.e., creating customers). I’m sure that some of these campaigns do generate some business, but my tests prove, more often than not, that the campaign step is where the process stops.

The campaign to customer process is broken. Businesses focus on the latest and hottest campaign to generate awareness and interest and fail to continue the process to the end result of customer creation.

Fixing the Campaign to Customers

Fixing the campaign to customer process can yield the greatest growth for any business willing to implement a plan.

The first step in fixing the process is to realize that creating a customer is a process.  A process is a sequence of events that result in an outcome. Rolling out a campaign is not the only step needed to realize the outcome of creating a customer. Your prospects are too busy with life, and are bombarded by far too many messages, for most of your campaigns to be meaningful.

Once we all realize that customer creation is a process we will begin to see how ridiculous it is to spend money on fancy campaigns that generate awareness and interest and then drop the ball. Who is responsible for the process? Who is accountable for the results?

Process ownership is the next step in creating customers. Seeing the process through to customer creation is crucial to optimizing success.

Most businesses do not have leadership in place to monitor and tweak the process for an optimal outcome. The entire process is usually disconnected from campaign to customer.  Multiple people, with multiple roles and goals, are involved in attempting to create a customer. From a customer’s perspective this makes for a completely disjointed experience in attempting to make a buying decision.

Creating Customers is a Process

Once we realize that creating a customer is a process and have a process owner in place we can begin designing a step-by-step path for the prospect to follow. This path should be a seamless integration between our process and the prospect’s buying process.

With our campaigns we have made the market aware and interested enough to raise their hands. Now, every prospect should be contacted by phone to make sure the information has arrived and been reviewed. This is the also the beginning of the qualification step in our process.

How much interest does this prospect have? Does this prospect want to see different products that are available? Is this prospect currently enjoying an RV? When might this prospect want to get a new RV? All of these are questions that can go toward qualifying. These questions also provide valuable feedback that can be used in making our campaigns more meaningful.

By qualifying our prospects we will begin to realize that our campaigns will raise two types of interest: immediate or future.

Immediate interest prospects should be contacted by salesperson on a regular schedule. These contacts can be by phone, mail or e-mail. Each contact with the prospect has the effect of regenerating interest and educating the customer in buying the product. The campaign to customer process owner should stay in constant contact with the salesperson to obtain valuable feedback on tweaking the process.

Future interest prospects should be contacted regularly by various forms of marketing that are all focused on moving the prospect into being immediately interested. Once this is accomplished the future interest prospect moves over to the immediate interest track. Again, the campaign to customer process owner should constantly monitor this group of prospects and tweak the process toward an optimal outcome.

I will admit that all of this is easier written than done. After 17 years of doing this as a process owner I still constantly learn and adjust on a daily basis.

There are a lot of pieces involved in designing a profitable process. However, is there really any other way to realize the full potential of the campaigns we launch and invest so much money in?

I’d like to open up more of a discussion on this whole topic. I think it is the missing link in taking the entire RV industry to new and sustained growth. If you’d like to discuss it more visit www.campaigntocustomer.com or send me an e-mail.

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