Let your customers drive your marketing efforts. In turn, make your marketing reinforce all the good and valuable stuff people say about your company.
My concept for this is “Marketing from the inside out.” I coined the phrase back in nineties to address the importance of making performance match promises. That performance applies to customer service, employee treatment, and appropriate acknowledgement of other stakeholders.
By marketing from the inside out, companies can appear congruent, transparent and trustworthy. Instead of just talking about how great you are—sometimes without anything concrete to back it up—you can show it and document it.
An Inc. article looks at ways customers can be a company’s most valuable marketing asset:
“Want to Spend Less Time on Marketing? Let Your Customers Do It For You…As an already-busy entrepreneur, taking the time to create kick-ass marketing campaigns can sometimes seem more like a distraction than a worthwhile investment of your time. That being said, most entrepreneurs aren’t taking advantage of something that could dramatically reduce the time they spend on marketing: their customers. If you take the time to strategize correctly and are crafty enough, your customers could be a content gold mine for your company. Here are seven creative ways to do it… Host a photo-sharing contest…Use Instagram Polls for content ideas…Use Twitter Advanced Search to eavesdrop…Take full advantage of user-generated content…Turn positive comments into social posts…Set up a referral program…Create an incentive for video testimonials.”
Companies succeeding with customer-driven marketing buzz abound. Besides Costco, about whom I’ve written repeatedly, HubSpot identifies a variety of companies, including Trader Joe’s, Krispy Kreme and Sriracha.
Notes the article,
“ ‘Brands So Popular They Don’t Need to Advertise!’ ‘10 Companies That Don’t Do Marketing!’ You’ve seen the headlines, you’ve rolled your eyes, and you’ve probably still clicked through…They defy the best practices that most marketers live by today, and it sets them apart and generates buzz because of its inherent uniqueness. So, here are 9 brands that don’t do traditional marketing and what you can learn from each of them…Krispy Kreme: ‘Instead of investing in TV commercials, [Dwayne Chambers, Chief Marketing Officer at Krispy Kreme] says they invest in their employees. ‘Everybody at the stores is a marketer,’ he explains. Every Krispy Kreme employee attends training at Krispy Kreme University. Here, they are taught doughnut making, customer service, and…marketing!”
Way, way long ago—before mass communication existed—commerce relied upon favorable customer reviews, raving fans and positive word of mouth to become and stay profitable. It really isn’t all that different today in concept. It’s just that the marketplace has gotten a whole lot larger, and ways to communicate have become much more widespread and immediate.
Ability to “spread the word on steroids” via technologically-fueled social media, online discussion forums and reviews, and in-the-moment media reporting is empowering companies to promote themselves effectively by offering consummate customer service to all stakeholders—including customers, employees, partners and vendors. Sometimes, this can be so powerful that companies thrive without spending oodles of marketing dollars—especially when it comes to advertising and PR.Mark Lusky
Mark Lusky is a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience.