Deborah Peters

Contemporary Artist | Sales Professional

Tag: campaigns

Consumers vs. Customers: Marketing Habits of Thought

Marketers should stop using the word “consumer” and train themselves to use “customer” instead. This goes double for digital marketers.

I issue this challenge to all brand marketing and advertising agency folks reading this post: get a jar, stick it on your desk, and put a dollar into it every time you use the word “consumer.” After a month, if you have more than the price of a latte, then that means you have work to do. If you have less than the price of a latte, I’ll buy it for you next time I see you.

So why should “consumer” be a four-letter word?

“Consumer” denotes a one-way relationship. Marketers produce products or messages about products; consumers then passively receive those messages, and then the consumers robotically buy the products because the message has triggered an unconscious behavioral subroutine. This is Skinner-box advertising, and it has never worked in quite so tidy a manner as traditional marketers would have us believe.

I have similar objections to the term “viral” when it comes to marketing. In medicine, a virus invades a victim’s body and does things to that body beyond the victim’s control, requiring medical intervention and lots of rest before the offending virus finally makes a clumsy exit. Viruses are nasty — nobody wants one — and can even kill you.

Negative reinforcement advertising may not work all the timeDo we want to associate marketing with something that makes people sick? More importantly, marketing simply does not work that way. Our customers are not our victims. See Henry Jenkins’ more accurate and useful notion of “spreadable” media as an excellent alternative to viral, and don’t miss Sean X Cummings diatribe against viral marketing programs.

Back to consumers versus customers, if you call somebody a consumer then on a basic level that means you aren’t prepared to listen to that person and in this age of blogs, online reviews and two-way, conversational marketing that’s a big mistake.

Customers are active agents who make all sorts of decisions: conscious, unconscious, habitual, out-of-left-field and more. If a brand is lucky, then somebody will make your brand their customary choice when buying a product, whether it’s milk, shoes, a car, the TV show you watch every week or anything else. It is my custom to drink Peets’ coffee rather than Starbucks, but I’m not addicted to Peets (really, I can stop any time) and nobody at that particular establishment has brainwashed me.

One of my favorite literary uses of the word “custom” comes from Chapter 22 of Huckleberry Finn, where Huck sneaks into a circus and watches a drunk insist on riding a bucking horse. The horse throws the man this way and that, after which the man suddenly stands up on the horse and takes off suit after suit until he is revealed as a talented trick rider. The crowd goes berserk with joy, and Huck says, “Anyways, it was plenty good enough for me; and whenever I run across it, it can have all of my customs every time.”

Brands have to earn custom through things like quality and service, not through military tactics where we have campaigns and targets.

The good folks at AA say that the first step in making a change is admitting that you have a problem: who among us is ready to admit that using the word “consumers” is a problem?

How to Maximize Facebook for Your Business

It is no secret that Facebook is now one of the dominant media when it comes to marketing your business. Over 40 million companies nowadays are taking advantage of the power of social network to promote their brands. Thankfully, Facebook allows businesses to create pages, invite communities to events, advertise and engage customers. This will work well in addition to a campaign in search engine marketing in Rochester, NY, especially if a seasoned digital marketing leader Jason Berkowitz SEO is helping you in the process.

Customer engagement in FacebookIf you haven’t tried it and you are contemplating on utilizing Facebook to grow your online business, then these tips might just be useful to you:

1. Engage your network and be creative with your responses

Once someone took the time to comment on your page, he or she is a potential customer, and you have to take hold of that opportunity to engage that person. Respond quickly and creatively, so the potential client will feel that you are doing serious business. It would be better to assign someone to monitor FB posts and comments and to be the one to reply to queries and comments on your Facebook page personally. That way, it won’t take too much time for them to wait for your response and the possible business transaction will happen faster.

2. Take advantage of cost-efficient advertising and marketing perks

Facebook allows you to post ads for a minimum amount or even post marketing and promotional announcements for free. Consumers often change their minds when after visiting a particular website and decided to put off buying a particular item and then went on to visit Facebook and saw the same ad. It will make them think about buying it since it’s posted on Facebook as well.

3. Avoid selling

Avoid OversellingFacebook is meant to engage your consumers and clients. Don’t oversell your products here as your clients and potential customers might find it off if you do so. There are other avenues for selling and other social networking sites to do the selling such as Instagram. Not on Facebook. Make your Facebook page a medium for your customers to get to know any announcements or update about your product or company and engage your community. You can also use Facebook to post informative articles related to the industry of your brand or create polls and surveys amongst your followers. Just make sure that your primary goal in Facebook is to develop genuine communication with your audience.

4. Inform your community about your philanthropic efforts

Invite and encourage them to participate in it. Partner with various foundations and ask your followers to partner with you. But make sure that you don’t come on as too pushy to do it. Just make it natural and genuine. Encourage them to join the cause by sharing the posts to spread the word as well.

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