Walk The Consumers Journey – Part 1 By John Stanley Successful retailers take consumers on a journey. In the next series of articles I will explain the journey to you giving you examples on how to implement it in your business along the way. But firstly let me provide the outline to the journey so we are all aware of the process we need to be aware of: Step One: Journey of Discovery As retailer we often forget that our customers are passing through our business on an extended journey. Although, their visit to your store is a critical part of their journey, it is only a part of the journey. The first step on their journey is actually the discovery of your business. The majority of potential consumers will discover your business via ï¿½interruptionï¿½ marketing, such as radio commercials, flyers and newspaper adverts. In a typical day, you will be one of up to 3000 businesses who are aiming to get their message across to a potential customer. As youï¿½d expect the majority will miss their target, as interruption marketing is becoming less and less effective in attracting that new customer. Placing ï¿½safeï¿½ adverts in newspapers stating where you are located and this weeksï¿½ offers just doesnï¿½t work effectively for most businesses these days. If you want to be discovered you cannot afford to play safe anymore. In todayï¿½s competitive market it is essential you come up with original ideas to grab new customersï¿½ eyes. You have to dare to be different. How to play unsafe Involve your team, as well as the marketing arm of your business to invent ways consumers can discover your business. I use the word invent on purpose. You may have to try something youï¿½ve never tried before. Brainstorming ideas that get you away from the traditional newspaper advert, but are not looked on as a gimmick are the real key to your success. I would definately suggest you get a copy of Seth Godinï¿½s book Purple Cow, Portfolio, 2003, ISBN 159184021X. Consortium Loyalty Programs Kare Anderson, in her new book, Smart Partnering – How to attract and delight more customers while spending less (visit the bookstore on our website to purchase a copy) picks up on a trend I have seen grow around the world in the last twelve months, Consortium Loyalty Programs. This is where a group of retailers identify they have the same consumer and then joint promote to attract that consumer to all their businesses. The result is they promote to a larger database, but for a reduced cost per target consumer. Some retailers are partnering in what at first seems bizarre ways. For example a Dutch fashion label, 50/50, are partnering with the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army sends specific clothing to the designer who makes this clothing hip. The designer then sells the clothing and halves the profit with the Salvation Army. Toys R US are installing ï¿½The Toy Boxï¿½ in Albertson Supermarkets in the USA to see if a joint marketing campaign can extend their market penetration. Are there any businesses out there you can partner with to increase your market penetration? According to Kare Anderson, there are seven key steps to looking for smart partners to grow your business. 1) Partner with business people you already know and trust 2) Make sure you both target the same consumer. ie Generally in our business it is a 45-50 female baby boomer 3) Donï¿½t underestimate the power of Movers (advocates for your products) and Connectors (people who can connect you to new business opportunities) 4) Know where your target customers gather. What clubs, associations and meeting places they use. Target their venues to grow your business 5) Attend meetings where your peers and competitors meet. This is where you find out what is happening in the marketplace 6) Be aware of what is happening locally. Visit other retail establishments and social gatherings in your local area. Find out what is happening locally with your consumer and what other retailers are exposing them to 7) Consider the Big Five MVPï¿½s (most valuable partners) and can they help your business. The big five are the companies that your customers are bound to visit in your neighbourhood. They are the supermarket, petrol station, bank, phone company and electric supplier (the last two come to your consumers home via bills, but this could still be a marketing opportunity). If your partnering, one of these businesses could be a key partner Use Personality as a Point of Difference Although, I believe that partnering will be big in the future, you may still want to go it alone. If that is the case then you need a novel approach, and using your personality as a draw card is a great point of difference in itself. Big, commodity, retailers will promote their products on price, when they zig you zag, so you need to add value to your promotions by building on the relationship consumers will be exposed to when they discover your store. Zanthorrea Nurseries in Western Australia are brilliant at relationship selling and it starts before you get to the store. They build relationships into their interruption marketing campaigns. I have illustrated two of their interruption marketing campaigns, both of which were used as a lead up to the last two Christmas promotional campaigns. As can be seen from these adverts they involve the team, provide a ï¿½trustï¿½ statement and promise a fun relationship when the consumer enters your business. If you would like more ideas on how to build great relationships, that encourage loyalty and repeat visits, our brand new book Think For Your Customer, Lizard Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-9750118-1-2 has an entire section devoted to building relationships. Stay tuned for our next article in the series, Journey of Inspiration, which will show you how to inspire your customers to do business with you in just thirty seconds.