Business owners have always recognized “word of mouth” as a critical component of success. With social media, email, blogs and our overall exposure on the Internet – word of mouth becomes a game changer for many businesses. Consumers now have the ability to broadcast sentiment to literally thousands of people in an instant. It’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to not only listen, but to engage their customers digitally (especially their most loyal customers). Turn them into your evangelists.
Look up “marketing” on Wikipedia and you get:
Marketing is the process of performing market research, selling products and/or services to customers and promoting them via advertising to further enhance sales. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments. It is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships and creates value for their customers and for themselves.
Your best customers are becoming your marketing department. Loyal customers have the power to generate new business, craft a brand image, inspire loyalty and counter negative sentiment through tweeting, blogging, reviewing, following, liking, and so on.
If you are listening to your customers, they are your market research. Your loyal customers can promote your products and services to their social network as well. Business communication now occurs in small chunks hundreds of times a day for some companies. By educating our customers with a constant flow of useful information, we are building stronger relationships that truly create value.
As business owners, we too are someone else’s best and loyal customer. This isn’t a one way street. We can, and should be helping to promote and support those who have helped us achieve our goals and successes. As business owners — we are also valued consumers.
The onus is on the marketing industry to provide simple, effective, and affordable digital tools to help us listen to, engage with and mobilize customers wherever they may be in the digital landscape.