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The 6 Things Your Customers Really Want Besides Your Products and Services

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The Modern Marketer Blog

One time I heard Gary Vee say that Uber doesn’t sell transportation, Uber sells time.

What he means is that Uber provides a means to give people their time back, which happens to be a human’s most valued asset (whether they realize it or not).

This concept sent me down a path of  thinking about what customers TRULY want beyond our products and services.

After digging deep, talking to a few influencers, having several conversations with The Modern Marketer community, and evaluating the hundreds of interactions I have had with clients and customers, I narrowed it down to 6 things.

…6 things that our customers truly want, besides our products and services.

Customers want collaboration

A few months ago, I read a book called “The One Minute Negotiator.”

It was a very eye opening book that caught me by surprise. At first, I didn’t really think I would care much about ‘negotiation skills.’

Man, was I wrong.

Almost everything in life is a negotiation when other humans are involved. Period. Everything from choices in your household, to situations with employees, to business decisions, to buying and selling and everything in between.

I started to realize that there was a lot more to learn about the subject of negotiation.

The first mindset I had to break was that when I think of negotiation, I tend to think about the fact that someone has to come out on top. That’s the biggest myth of negotiating.

There is no winner in true negotiation.

This book split negotiation into a quadrant of Negotiation strategy:

  1. Competition
  2. Avoidance
  3. Accommodation
  4. Collaboration

The book went through each quadrant and explained that when you are competing, avoiding, or accommodating, someone loses which means everyone loses.

But when the negotiation reaches collaboration, that’s when growth, opportunity and peace happen.

Everyone wins.

I’ve really been taking this same principle into all areas of my business. Finance, HR, sales, and marketing.

Whether big or small, you have to learn to be a collaborator. To have enough emotional intelligence and self-awareness to create situations where the parties involved collectively win.

Customers want positive interactions

One of the things I strive for in my content is to use words like “we, us, ours” instead of “you, yours” etc.

My reasoning is simple.

…I know, it sounds silly.

But, I know plenty of businesses and organizations off the top of my head who are trying market but every time they have any public facing marketing message, they talk AT their audiences.

…and often in a negative tone, without even realizing it.

Their content is titled “why your _____ doesn’t work” or “5 ways to stop sucking at ______” or “my beef with _______” and on and on and on.

Their brand voice talks about why a customer needs something, or doesn’t realize something, or is missing out on something.

Their conversations with customers on social media give off the vibe that the customer or client is an inconvenience to them and a waste of their time. Short answers. No enthusiasm.

I get it, you need to sell. But you don’t have to have an “I am doing you a favor” mindset in marketing.

I urge you to stop talking to your audience like you have the solutions and are on a higher level than they are.

My mentor once told me that true professionals don’t give advice from the perspective of always being on top–the truth is that even when you have a better product, service, perspective or experience, your tone should always be positivity.

So, if you are a bakery, a kids clothing brand, a pool installer, a consultant, a publication or any business in any industry use positivity in your content. Change your headlines, your content, your ads, and your emails and shift it all to a positive light.

Yes, there is a certain ‘stickyness’ in blunt, solid value that has a little spritz of friction here and there. I get it. But, don’t adopt an approach or tone of negativity.

Positivity breeds virality. Remarkability breeds virality. Practicality breeds virality. 

Not negativity.

Customers want to be a part of something big

Of the consumers in our study who said they have a brand relationship, 64% cited shared values as the primary reason.

This was an awesome statistic coming from Kapost’s website that really hit me hard because I know that many of the hard core Modern Marketer fans share similar values with us.

Our team cares deeply about our customers’ and clients’ success, about the people in our circles, about our audiences and ultimately about providing products, services and business that people CAN TRULY believe in.

Because of that authenticity, we are able to have deep relationships and influence with our customers and audiences.

So let me ask you this.

How do you plan on sharing your values with customers? It’s not a trick question. The answer is content. The answer is media. The answer is storytelling.

At this point in digital marketing, how do we still have entrepreneurs and business owners that don’t understand content is the only way. Literally. Tell me 1 other way that you can sell people without content.

Go ahead… try to sell one thing without a single piece of content.

Other than being spammy or using black hat techniques.

You can’t.

Let your consumers have relationships with you on an intimate level and share the values, mission, vision and objectives of your company. Market with purpose.

Customers want to be loyal to brands

Building loyalty with 5% more customers would lead to an increased average profit per customer of 25-100%.

Vertical, vertical, vertical, vertical.

You need to think vertical instead of horizontal.

  1. You need understand that growing vertical with 5% of your customer base is better than growing horizontal with 95% of your customer base.
  2. You need to understand that it’s better to have 100 people follow you on social media that care, than 10,000 that kinda care or don’t give a crap.
  3. You need to understand that it’s better to have 1 brand advocate, than 10 customers who are decently satisfied but probably won’t buy again.
  4. You need to understand that it’s important to prioritize what actually matters in your business and ignore the rest until you have so many customers and so much revenue that your only play left is to look horizontal.

Some of you spend day after day after day reaching wider and wider. Instead of spending your time going deeper.

You are about to start video marketing when your blog sucks.

You are about to start going on Snapchat when you haven’t figured out how to leverage Facebook and Instagram.

You are about to implement a new product when you have figured out how to maximize the funnel of your last product.

You are about to run a mail out campaign when you haven’t figured out how to make customers stay with your brand.

You are about to run advertising dollars when you haven’t satisfied the people who are ALREADY giving you money.

You’re thinking wide-wide-wide-wide when you should be thinking deep-deep-deep-deep.

Trust me. I see you. And I want this to empower you to take a different direction with your efforts.

Customers want community

One of the things that I’ve seen over and over again is the power of community.

  • The first business I started in my career was a music education community. 1,000,000 views on Youtube in 8 months, tens of thousands across social media, tens of thousands in unique traffic per month
  • The business I currently run has a brand called The Modern Marketer with tens of thousands in the community and is already one of the fastest growing marketing brands on social media.

If you think of the top brands that you purchase from, or pay attention to, there is a community behind that brand in most cases.

Communities are powerful because the driving force behind a good community is value.

Building a community is another one of those marketing approaches that a lot of small to medium sized owners and entrepreneurs don’t think they are qualified to do. If you have a product or service that has purpose, vision and passion behind it (which you should) it’s possible that creating a community is exactly what you need to reach that next level.

Again, the first business I ever built was 150% reliant on the community we built behind it. Our most successful client accounts have active communities behind them. The Modern Marketer is great because of YOU the community. Not because of me. Because of community

Yes, I personally provide the daily value, but all of you provide the amazing stories. The great businesses. The insane perspective on social media and so much more. I’ve learned just as much from all of you by creating this community as you’ve learned from my team and I, and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

So, I encourage you to evaluate if you have what it takes to build a community, where that community would live and what type of value you would continually serve to them.

Side-note: To close this section, I will name some companies/brands with an awesome “community” behind them. Frank Bod, Foundr Magazine, Adobe, Warby Parker, Dollar Shave Club, Jack Threads, Birch Box, Fight The New Drug, Harley Davidson, Playstation.

Customers want to help YOU grow

I am very self-critical—overtime, however, I’ve learned a little trick about feedback simply by pulling from two sides of the same spectrum.

  1. My significance as a human and a business owner isn’t predicated on customer feedback, good or bad.
  2. Customer feedback is authentic and raw and it’s exactly what I need to become the best version of myself.

I had an instance recently where I knew that I was a little behind on something for a client. There was no way I could have gotten ahead because I am a human and only have so many hours in a day.

The client wasn’t even upset, but I reflected internally and thought to myself “do I just want to have clients that aren’t upset, or do I want to have clients that are raving about my work?” So, I corrected the situation, communicated, and moved on.

We need to have the self-awareness first to understand that customer feedback is necessary and second understand that even when a customer isn’t “mad,” if they aren’t raving about you then you need to improve something.

Oooooh man.

That last statement was for someone out there reading this.

Let it sting and go make some changes.

You can’t scale a business with satisfied customers. You scale a business with raving customers. People who just can’t get enough of you and your brand.

Creating Community

How to Serve Your Customers with Humility

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how to serve your customers

Good customer service is an essential part of business both online and off, but we’re not all doing it in an smart way. Businesses need to have effective strategies in place for handling customers, both happy and upset, in order to effectively serve those who are patrons of your business and keep your business running successfully. The “customer is always right” mentality has clouded our judgement and confused customers and employees alike. What is really needed is the proper mentality and willingness to serve.

The Customer Is Always Right

This phrase has been around for quite some time. The idea is that you take care of the customer no matter what, that you make them happy with the outcome no matter what, but some employees take a step back when they hear it. Customers, of course, aren’t always right, so that kind of thinking can make things difficult on your employees—and the customer.

It gives those employees the wrong idea about how to handle things when a difficult situation may arise. What they really need to know is what the rules are, what it is in their power to do for a customer, and that they should always serve your customers with humility and respect.

Serving With Humility

It doesn’t matter how well you handle every business transaction, there will always be someone who isn’t impressed. You’ll get negative reactions, you’ll get bad reviews, you’ll get angry customers—it’s just a part of doing business. It’s important that while you take these grievances seriously, you don’t take them personally.

A personal reaction is usually a defensive reaction, which puts everyone on edge and makes it less likely that you will end up with a happy customer at the end of the day. What you need to do and what your employees need to be trained to do is to always be a servant of your customer, and to serve them with humility. It’s not about “the customer is always right”, rather it’s about the modest way that you approach your interactions and how you work to serve your customers.

Using Customer Feedback To Enhance Your Brand

You may not realize it in the moment, but those times when you have to deal with a customer’s dissatisfaction are very helpful for growing your brand. Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” and we should always remember that. You can’t always foresee the best option for your product, user experience, and customer service, but the feedback you get from your customers is authentic and raw. It may not be what you want to hear, but it is certainly what you need to hear to help your brand become the best version of itself.

Your ability to be humble and make yourself a servant to the customer is going to be a very large determining factor not only in the success of your brand, but also its ability to grow. So take a step back from any tricky situation and cool off. Think about putting the customer first and how you can approach the problem before you in a humble way—and train your employees to do the same.

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Creating Community

Leveraging The Power Of Why in Your Marketing

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Leveraging the Power of Why in your marketing

In sales, we concentrate very heavily on the Who; after all, if you are directing all your efforts at the wrong person, your business is going to fail. There’s no question that finding the Who in a very specific way is essential, which is why we encourage everyone to take some serious time to build strong buyer personas. However, the next step is definitely the Why.

What Is The Why?

Too many businesses go straight from the Who to the What and just expect their buyers to figure the rest out. This isn’t a strong strategy because we, as salespeople, are responsible for showing prospective buyers why they want or need our product. No doubt, some will figure it out on their own, but that’s not always the case.

Take a saas company for example. When a company buys their product, they already know that they need a solution. They are provided with all the how-to videos, tutorials, and tech support they can imagine. They’ve been given all the tools they need to make this software work well for their business, but alas their productivity remains exactly the same. We’ve told them how this product should work for them, but not why their business must change productivity. Therefore, the company has been using this incredible software ineffectively.

The Why is more than just telling the customer , “Hey, you need this!” It’s about making the customer thoroughly understand their needs and why they need change.

Why We Need The Why

If you have a stellar product or service, chances are that customers will buy. They’ll come up with a “need” whether it actually exists or not. Sounds like a win-win situation, right? Wrong. If your customer doesn’t actually understand the Why, chances are that they aren’t using your product properly, which means that they won’t be using your product for long.

Eventually the nuance will wear off and they will discover that your product doesn’t work well for them. You know that your product will work perfectly for them, but without the Why, that personal reason that they actually need your product, you won’t be able to keep them as customers. That’s a killer for businesses everywhere.

The Why Is Your Job

This is one of those situations where the sales and marketing departments need to work closely together, especially in digital marketing. The Why holds a great deal of power, and when both teams work together, you’ll be better equipped with the Why to attract customers. It’s going to take some time and effort to determine what the Why is for certain types of consumers, but being able to leverage that Why will make your business much more knowledgeable and useful to prospective and current customers.

It’s your job to determine the Why for customers and help them stay informed about your product so that new customers quickly become existing customers and your business can continue to grow.

Have you identified your Why for your customers? What can you do differently in your marketing efforts to promote the Why?

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Creating Community

3 Ways To Make Your Brand More Human Online

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brand marketing best practices

Somewhere along the line, brands lost their face. They became these huge entities with no discernable human element. It was scary and challenging to try to connect with this faceless creature, much less to get answers. Today, however, brands want to appear more human and consequently more appealing to their leads and customers. The online world of digital marketing certainly makes this challenging, but it’s far from impossible.  Here are three brand marketing best practices to make your brand more human online.

1. Share Powerful Images & Quotes

Visuals, sometimes, can say much more than words can. If you add in some great words, all the more power to you because everyone likes a powerful quote. A good quote speaks to a person on several levels, and when you use great imagery to share that quote, it certainly won’t hurt visibility.

With the rise of social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, the need for dynamic visuals are on the rise. For big brands, this also shows some passion, compassion, depth, and well, humanness. Sharing content that doesn’t offer value in an informational sense but rather appeals to the senses, to the heart, will make a brand stand apart from its competitors and connect with its customers on a much deeper level.

2. Host Webinars

Blogs are great. If you are managing your correctly, it will drive traffic and build trust for your brand. Videos are awesome too. They put a face on the brand and offer valuable information in a way that’s even more valuable. Webinars, however, may just be the best of them all.

brand marketing tips
When you hop on a webinar, you see a person on the screen while you listen to them talk. Unlike a video, though, you can talk back. You can ask questions, request that the host repeat a point, and even hold a debate after the event is over. The ability to connect with a brand representative in real time, yet from the comfort of your own home gives customers a strong sense of connection. Instead of simply throwing the value at them and hoping they know what to do with it.

Who knew that actually throwing a human into the mix could make a brand seem more human?

3. Offer Exclusive Content

There’s nothing wrong with an appropriately placed automated email, but newsletters that regurgitate the same nonsense over and over are headed to the spam box before long. It’s not just the things you write, but also the way in which you write that makes or breaks that connection with a customer. For example, a line like “Boy do we have a deal for you!” won’t go over as well as a statement carefully crafted with the buyer persona in mind like, “We know that the holidays can be financially straining, and plumbing repairs pop up without warning, so we’d like to give you a special discount for the entire month of December.”

Not only is this something that your customers won’t get from visiting your website, but it’s written in a way that shows them you care about them personally.

Start Getting Real

Big brands have publicists to make them look good and handle and faux pas they may have made, but the general public always reacts best to the brands who respond to them humbly and sincerely. While it’s never a bad idea to refer back to your buyer persona, it couldn’t hurt to ask yourself how you would like to be treated. What strategies would make an impact on you? When brands start thinking like people and not big corporations, they are better equipped to make themselves more human to a very human audience in a digital world where the real humans are expertly hidden behind screens.

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