The billionaire owner of
Equinox and SoulCycle strained customer relationships for both companies when
his $100K+/plate fundraiser for Donald Trump became public knowledge. Social
media protests, including #BoycottEquinox, gained traction while the SoulCycle
CEO tried to win back customers by offering free “social justice” rides for
causes hand-picked by instructors. Wise marketing executives everywhere could
be heard admonishing, “Know your customers.”
On Friday, we explored this
very topic with 100+/- marketing executives at Brand Innovators @ Advertising
Week NYC. Below are 3 key takeaways from our conversation:
Start with Your Customer. Brands benefit from having
direct contact with the people who matter most to them. Find the best and
most direct channels to reach the doctors or heads of house or heads of
state or millennials that make up your target audience. Their candid
feedback — through digital focus groups or quantitative research – will
result in insights into what your customer and future customers think,
feel, do and buy.
When You Don’t Own Your Customers. It’s imperative to find
alternatives to speak to your customer when your customer isn’t your own.
Think about selling through third parties, including Amazon or Wal-Mart,
or financial services giant Prudential Financial when it sells wellness
solution in the workplace. Your company’s employees offer reasonable
substitutes for the general population as they often cross age,
nationality and income groups. But
there are alternatives, like Toluna that can help you tap into your target
Be Agile. Nimbleness enables companies
to quickly get products to market. Tap non-industry experts, results
drivers, strategic thinkers and good listeners. Use technology that
enables you to test and learn before going to market. Running projects
across departments and swap resources in and out as needed. Build an
organization that scales up and down.
Engage with your customers
in as many ways as possible – social media, customer service calls, surveys and
digital focus groups. Having that knowledge and turning it into actionable
information can be the difference between business success and failure.
Disclaimer: The information
contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only. The
opinions expressed by the bloggers are strictly their own and do not necessarily
represent those of Prudential Financial.