How the airline industry helped to shape modern marketing thinking
Few would argue that the nature of social media, communication, information and the global economy have merged to transform the way we must now communicate and prospect for customers and clients.
In many respects, the strategies that are often employed to predict and manage customers’ or clients’ purchasing behaviour have been spurred on by the growth of online data, which in itself has its own challenges for the sales and marketing professional.
What started life within the airline and hotel market segments has rapidly been adopted across other market segments that now database and online strategies proliferate sales pipeline management thinking.
Implementation of these techniques often requires a combination of sophisticated mix of tools with equally sophisticated statistical methods to help manage and track frequency and timing of purchase, repeat purchase behaviour, market share and other indicators of commercial success including cost of sales and profit data and return on equity.
Customers are more different and individual, more discerning and demanding than ever before. Whilst 100 years ago, a new car buyer would be more than happy to buy a Ford Model T, a model that hardly changed in decades, in ‘any colour as long as it’s black’, today customers are intelligent, expectant and pedantic. Their stated needs may well be true, but their unstated needs and wants often matter even more.
A recent survey in the UK showed that 70 per cent of the respondents found that online research and review to be extremely helpful in making a purchase decision and 97 per cent of them also trusted online reviews (both negative and positive) five times more than they trusted information in a TV commercial or newspaper advertisement.
As a result, there’s a fundamental shift in power to the consumer, to the people. That requires us to engage, to create and connect with consumers on a scale that we’ve never seen before. And this is regardless of whether they are in the home or at the office.
Every consumer today has either heard of or knows someone who’s been on the wrong side of a sales transaction that’s gone badly wrong. Today, its colleagues, friends, family and peers that your customers and clients will want to listen to and it’s this group that increasingly has a stronger influence on the ultimate purchase decision that’s being made.
The starting point for marketing to customers, clients, supporters and prospects is to take a more enlightened and focused approach.
And in practical terms this means sitting in the passenger seat and not believing we can see everything that’s going on from the comfort of our own cabin.
Ardi Kolah is the author of High Impact Marketing That Gets Results published by Kogan Page. Click on the book to order your copy today!