I came across a post by someone that displayed a quote by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. It reads “You have nothing to gain in this world but everything to give”, which is essentially the same message many spiritual leaders tend to preach. Putting others first is the basics behind this.
For some many years I have been discussing this principle with my clients, from a marketing perspective that is. As it happens so often, the marketing message that many SME run with is the style that blows their own trumpet – “look how good we are”, “we do it better”, “or widgets better than our competitors” … and so on. The problem here is that this strategy has a hard time cutting through the basics of the buyer decision process which is a cognitive and personal biases in decision making that centers around the self. Thats right “Whats’ in it for me”.
Consumers use many factors in this buying behaviour and typically these focus on how this product or experience will impact on me. From the basics of “do I need this in order to literally survive” all the way through to satisfying the ego (“does this make my bum look big?”).
So it seems natural to me that companies need to shift the outlook first themselves from “Look at me” to “how can we help?”. So that’s an easy statement to make, but how do you start?
Listening’s a start. Social channels and your analytics all help to gain a better understanding of what your existing clients are interested in, and the simple task of addressing their questions or preempting future issues will reverberate via their social channels. For example help with a known issue; a businesses that retails online already knows it’s a busy time at Christmas and last minute shoppers exist and will be part of your existing client / fan base. Why not email them all guarantee you can ship their gifts before xmas day and offer gift wrapping with a card and message of their choosing. Sure it’s a little more work but you’re not giving this away free. You are however helping a person in need to solve a problem and in turn you may find them more than happy to pay for this.
For a truly inspiring example of an organisation that just gives and solves problems (free) and still will turn over 2 billion this year, checkout this article on cross fit
Another company is the American home hardware group known as Lowes. These guys are making a series of videos that help their customers solve a problem that is common with the DIY market. How to pull a stripped screw from a wooden board or clean your shower head with vinegar.
These types of helpful videos are a classic way to build loyalty through helping and solving problems. The top of mind branding that Lowes receive as a result of this is hard to compete with – after all you’re more likely to trust a company that shows you how to clean your shower head with vinegar that you have in your cupboard that buy a potentially more expensive and harmful product on their shelf…