This week in Marketing Magazine they stated that “marketing the services industry is akin to a budding romance”. I loved this analogy and it really got me thinking about a lot of us in our own businesses and the challenges of generating interest in what we market.
It IS less flamboyant and visually creative than other industries with fancy products and lots of visible bells and whistles to flog. It’s not easy to be cheeky a la beer ads, or sexy a la chocolates, or even enticing a la cars, but yet there are many great attributes we can talk about, albeit the tone may have to be different for most of our services. It’s about finding the appropriate hand holding techniques and forging a sustainable bond that can be built ever stronger in time. Our ongoing customer relationships may take some time. We may have to ‘romance’ our potential customers and keep the “passion” going with existing customers. It isn’t just the shipping of a box or the taking home of the package. It’s about a lengthy relationship and collaborative engagement, much more than a one-night stand. Service marketing is a journey. Every interaction has to be considered as a key contributor to the ongoing partnership. It’s very one-on-one in its nature. The key factors are nurturing, retention and ultimately mutual growth. You have to fight the good fight, there’s still massive competition, but once the bond is forged the rewards should be bigger and more satisfying, and loyalty more assured than can be assumed in consumer goods marketing nowadays. The need to evolve, devise and develop new offers is still there though; you can’t sit back and assume they will remain faithful if you fail to keep up with contemporary needs and marketplace changes driven by your customer’s needs. This principle is the same whatever you are marketing. The process from piquing a buyer’s interest through to engagement and the ultimate buying decision is a major challenge because you may have a lot of complex information to impart. Prioritise the most important messages, tailor the way in which you say them, and then place them where your buyer’s will come across them and have the time to determine their relevance to their needs. If you follow the idea of building this budding romance and using the most compelling and relevant hooks, you will find like-minded partners who want to share a “lifetime” with you!