Marketing departments and companies in general have to make a major shift in thinking to succeed in the new, evolving marketing environment we’re living it.
To explain, I have to subject you to a quick technology point. There’s a term in software called “Service Oriented Architecture” or SOA (So-uh) for short. I won’t bore you with a detailed explanation of what that means, but oversimplified it’s a strategy for development that allows for rapid rollout and re-use of code or system design.
I have to use the term frequently in working with customers who are utilizing or building marketing technologies, so it’s always in mind.
The other day I was presenting a proposal to a retail company for developing marketing communication strategy, I jumbled phrases and used the term “Service Oriented Marketing.”
I thought it sounded good, so I continue to use it.
What is Service Oriented Marketing?
Traditional marketing is about driving demand and selling through promotion, offers and direct solicitation. In today’s market, that message isn’t resonating like it used to, especially among younger generations.
Service Oriented Marketing (SOM) is marketing media which drives demand for your product or service by serving the customer without asking for anything in return.
Maybe you inform a customer of a free webinar or report. That’s the simplest way. Some companies do birthday cards or time-based communications. That’s good, but it’s only a start.
Smart companies serve as much as sell
As I help companies understand customer attitudes through market research, most client’s customers echo a similar refrain about their relationship with the company:
“I only hear from you when you want me to buy something.”
It’s natural for marketers to think in a revenue-driving paradigm. Most of us are incentivized by our impact to the bottom line. But when you take a step back and consider overall lifetime value (LTV) you realize that increasing engagement and reducing churn through consistent service oriented marketing ultimately impacts the bottom line a lot more.
Service oriented marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. If you have a software product, maybe you send customers messages when they haven’t logged in for a while.
When you sell a customer a product, create a series of communications which help them through the on-boarding process. Your CRM solution should have the tools necessary to create and automate these kind of communications. If you don't, you need to call me ASAP.
And use education. Provide how-to videos (for free). Let customers know the’re there. When inside sales people have down time, have them reach out to customers at risk.
Take a look at your overall marketing strategy and decide whether you’re a service oriented marketing organization. If you’re not, you’ll never develop the relationship with your customers necessary to keep them coming back.