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People 'n' Issues

Think like a marketer, act like a retailer

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A great marketing campaign is all good and well says RICHARD MULLINS. But it is not enough to ensure a good customer conversion. A company also needs to understand its clients’ needs and deliver its products accordingly.

Many marketers are obsessed with the content of their campaigns and their websites, and rightly so. A well-crafted message and intelligently structured information are essential to winning and retaining customers when you’re advertising and trading online.

As any retailer can tell you, great content is not enough to ensure a strong rate of customer conversion. You should also understand your clients’ needs so that you can deliver against those requirements as you channel them through your conversion funnel. To put it simply, one lesson to take from retailers is that you need to put the customer right at the heart of what you do.

The truly successful retailers are masters at identifying different customer segments, understanding their needs and then responding with the correct products for their need. Then, their marketing materials, advertising campaigns and the layout of their stores are all designed to help customers to convert.

As an online marketer, you need to build a similar set of capabilities into your marketing campaigns by delivering the right content to the right consumer based on his or her real needs and interests. For many marketers, this represents a fundamental mind shift away from simply trying to capture an initial sale towards creating a platform for a longer-term engagement based on matching your products and content to the customer’s needs.

Luckily, the online marketing environment offers an extensive range of tools that can help you to meet this goal. One of the biggest advantages that the Internet offers us is the ability to see how customers behave so that we can tailor our content in response to their inferred needs.

This enables us to serve up the right advertising message for their needs and then channel them to the right pages on the website so that they can get to what they want as quickly as possible. It is all about measuring and analysing the right data to understand how people get to your website (from searches and ads for example), what they do once they get there and how they convert once they arrive.

We can, for example, collect information about users Internet browsing information and the searches they have conducted to understand what they’re looking for. If someone is reading the holiday section of a website and searching for flights to Cape Town, you can serve them with an ad for a package holiday that takes them straight to the page where they can book.

By understanding your customers, you can use your content to your advantage to meet their needs and improve your conversion rate. As any retailer knows, achieving sales is what really matters at the end of the day.

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