September 9, 2016

The Forgotten Audience Segment

As marketers, we’re pretty good at defining audience groups within our target market, identifying their pain points and developing messaging that addresses those points. On a good day, we even come up with unique messaging for each audience segment. But there’s one segment that most marketers forget, ignore or consider to be “not our problem”—existing customers.

When was the last time you saw a marketing plan designed to engage current customers? I know what you’re saying: “Isn’t that a customer service issue at this point?” No. It’s a huge missed opportunity. While customer service folks are busy dealing with questions and complaints, who is handling the task of talking to happy customers? I say it should be us marketers.

Remember how hard it was to get that lead and then for sales to close the deal that turned them into a customer in the first place? As soon as someone jumps from lead to customer, we can’t just forget about them and get back to bringing in new leads. We must develop a plan to make sure they stay happy enough that they would recommend us to their friends and colleagues. So, how do we do that?

Create a new-customer outreach plan. Let’s take a page from HR and think of it like onboarding an employee. Set up a series of communications to ensure that new customers understand the new product/service. Preemptively answer commonly asked newbie questions. Help solve their challenges. And start to plant seeds of other offerings your company can provide, but don’t be too heavy-handed.

Understand your customers’ goals. Dig in and understand their business challenges. Finding solutions that they hadn’t thought of themselves and sharing industry best practices are great ways to build a trusting relationship.

Add value. Take a look at your customers’ customers. What are their pain points? How can your products/services help to address them? How can you share your expertise to help your customers do their jobs more efficiently or look good to their supervisors?

Cross-sell. This one should be the easiest and most obvious for a marketer to grasp, so I saved it for last. Once you have customers who know and trust your products/services, they should be the most likely audience segment to buy your other offerings. Develop a list of your products/services that each customer could use, but doesn’t (yet). It sounds obvious, but any method to segment customers into groups based on products/services they use and ones they could be using is important, as it allows you to tailor your messages to the most receptive audience.

So get out there and show your current customers some love.