Simple marketing tools are often over looked by many types of businesses across all industries. It’s a myth that marketing has to be complicated or expensive (although don’t get me wrong if you’ve got a big budget you can really go to town!).
I find that businesses know they ‘should’ have a marketing plan implemented, but can struggle to find one that is manageable for the resources available, whether that be financial or people. This results in a common situation where marketing is often left way down the priority list because there isn’t enough cash available or the business owner(s) find other needs they perceive have greater priority and so the available cash is sucked up before the marketing plan gets a look in. Sometimes it’s just a case that the business owner or management team aren’t sure which marketing tools would suit them and so ignore it hoping that they’ll ‘get by’.
I’ve worked in a number of business of all sizes and across a number of industries and at certain times each business curbed its marketing spend or budget because cash was tight, profits weren’t quite where they should have been or they had assigned all their staff to other priorities.
But back to the marketing tools in question; the simple marketing solution. My point is if you pick the right tools the effectiveness hugely out weighs the costs plus it might just make that budget stretch a bit further so you’re getting more marketing ‘bang’ for your buck.
A recent example, which prompted me to write, is from Warehouse, the clothes chain retailer.
I was shopping with the intent to buy recently and, possibly dazzled by the bright lights and shiny merchandise, I was a bit of a marketeers dream (yes, given my background I know I shouldn’t get sucked in, sometimes I just can’t help it, I’m only human!). I hadn’t been ‘out’ for a while!
I made my way to the till in the aforementioned store to pay for my purchases when the lovely lady serving me asked “would you like an electronic receipt in case your paper one goes missing?”.
I’d never been asked this question at a till before. I had no intention of bringing my items back as I’d already tried them on and I knew that if a fault appeared I could pretty much shoot back there in a week and get an exchange sorted.
I said yes anyway.
It was no harm to me receiving an electronic copy of my receipt, it took less than a minute to hand over my email address, and yet for Warehouse it was a fabulously quick and easy way to collect my customer contact details to use at a later date for mailings and the like (to be fair I haven’t been bombarded by blanket emails as yet so I’m hoping this means they’re going to be a bit more clever with the data they are collecting!).
If Warehouse are offering each of their purchasing customers this option of an electronic receipt and only get an uptake of even 10%, imagine the fabulous database of currently active Warehouse customers they are collating to target with campaigns for the future; news, loyalty offerings, possibly even special discounting strategies to ensure that they remain a loyal customer.
Plus from an efficiency point of view, an extra 30 seconds or so at the till is neither here nor there for the staff or the customer (it takes me longer to get my purse back in my bag, pick up my purchases and thank the staff member before heading off out of the store). I, as the customer, had to do nothing but announce my email address and that was literally it.
I’m not saying this method is for everyone (for example I don’t have a till within my business to capture that form of data). However, by just approaching their marketing plan from a slightly different angle Warehouse have deployed a clever, cost efficient, very effective data capture programme, offered to their customers as if Warehouse are doing them a favour, because we all know the panic if we need to return something to the seller and don’t have a proof of purchase!
If you put your sales through a till of any sort, this approach could be a brilliantly simple marketing idea that would suit your business. If you don’t, use this as a nudge to think ‘back to basics’ and imagine what you could use as an easily communicated benefit for your customers that serves not only as a great customer service opportunity but also gives your business a very effective, simple marketing tool for future exposure.
Feel free to share your ideas and successes here to inspire others ……