I was recently in a conversation with an IT Service Provider and he informed me that his customers are totally loyal and that he does not need to subscribe to tracking consumer buying trends. I was both shocked and appalled that a company in this day and age is not tracking consumer buying trends.
Let me back up a moment. Verticals like building automation and IT have always been a little distant when it comes to tracking consumer trends, but if you read last months article about the forth industrial revolution, you should totally be freaked out that they are not tracking these trends.
Customers are becoming more and more demanding about what they want from producers, and it does not matter if you are selling a DCS or if you are selling a pair of Adidas shoes. People are people and want the same type of customer experience. They want to read reviews, and they want to see what type of social causes your corporation is involved with. At the end of the day every buying decision is made by a person who has values, needs, and wants. That is the person that you are trying to sell to and, in this day and age, just being cheaper is not enough.
When discussing this with the CEO of the IT company he assured me that his email automation was going to solve all of his incoming sales issues. When I took a look at the campaigns, I realized that his marketing person was just pounding his list relentlessly. This is horrible! As customers evolve, so must marketers. Hitting an email list again and again resembles SPAMMING, and that means your audience will stop listening to anything that you have to say. Clever and intelligent emails sent once a month are respectful of your audience’s inbox. We do not live in the early 2000’s where you could blast whomever you wanted. We are now in an advanced age of customer preference, and out messages have to be more intelligent and respectfully timed.
Buying trends are buying trends and we are creatures of habit. If I can buy an instapot off Amazon by reading reviews and looking at testimonials, why should I not be able to have the same experience when I am buying a PLC? If I wanted to buy a Rockwell PLC, I should be able to bring up reviews, and testimonials about the PLC to see what others thought of it. I do this because the internet enables me to, and puts me in total control of my buying decision. I can even go so far as to look up my account representative to see what his of her reviews are. I am totally in control of making a conscious buying decision without even talking to a human being, and I think that this is the critical factor that many vendors are forgetting in this age of information overload.
People are still people, but they are making their buying decisions on their own time. Therefore, every marketing action that your company produces should be based on Customer 4.0’s independence and easy access to information. It is no great effort for them to compare your reviews and information with a competitor at their leisure.
The moral of this story is that advances in technology can work against you. While the CEO of the IT Services company thinks that hammering his email list will produce potential sales, he has forgotten that his customer has become more advanced and considers all of those emails negative and actually hurts brand favoritism. It is now not about brand awareness, but more about brand savviness. Intelligent messages attract intelligent buyers, so when you send a message to your customers, make it targeted and intelligent.