Thursday, January 24, 2008

KYC II – say what?

Carrying on from where I last left off, once we’re sure that we know who our client really is, I would ask what we’re actually trying to achieve in our marketing efforts.

If marketing equals communication, and we are constantly trying to market and sell our products or services or solutions to our clients, the main question then becomes “What are we communicating?” As a customer, what I want to know about is the essence of the company – why does it really exist and how do I know that you really care about me [because if I understand these reasons, I am far more likely to believe that your product/service/solution is the best one for me].

Does this then mean that it doesn’t matter how we communicate, as long as what we communicate is right? I’m inclined to think that this is increasingly true, and I’m also inclined to believe that this has always been the case – it is not just something that happened overnight when we entered the new millennium.

So if this is true, and I’m assuming it is, why do most companies talk the same language to everyone they try to reach? I’m not talking about English versus Chinese here – I mean personal communication that speaks to individuals rather than to population groups or target markets.

Here’s another personal example which is relevant here – for whatever reason, I am a Cell C client. One thing Cell C has done very well is market itself to a very specific population group. Sadly [for me more than for them], I don’t fall into their target market [or at least what I perceive their target market to be]. So despite cool terms like “juice”, “woza weekend” and “hola 7”, and despite the fact that they pay a lot of attention to branding and communication, I feel excluded, and for these reasons, as with ABSA, when they try to communicate with me, I do an Eskom and just switch off.

My point here is not to attack existing marketing efforts of established companies, but instead I have to wonder how we have ended up in this place, where large companies with great products cannot make a client feel comfortable. This wondering leads me to the logical conclusion that there must be more than this.

To carry on from the earlier point then, if its more about what we communicate than how we communicate, will we soon find companies communicating to all their different target markets in different ways? Or would a company doing this just be perceived as contradictory, turning its different customer groups on each other and the company itself in the process?

The reality is that you can’t please all the people all the time, but in an environment where competition is increasing at heart-racing speed every day, getting through to each person is becoming increasingly critical to survival.

Doing it? Ah, well that’s another matter entirely.

To be concluded...

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