In an interview in BtoBObline, Marcy Shinder, VP of Brand Strategy and Marketing at American Express OPEN, offered up these tips (in a different format):
- A downturn is a good time to identify ways to transform a company.
- A lot of companies look at delivering better customer service as a differentiator. (For service organizations, this can be a challenge since your competitors are likely to be trying the same things. Instead, think about what improvements would deliver the most value.)
- Companies need to stay relevant. (In other words, think about the problems customers buy from you, and make sure that what you provide truly solves their problems.)
- Provide tangible value. (We have a client with a fascinating vision of the future of technology in their sector, but we've advised them to make that game-changing vision a secondary message because their first goal is to sell product. So they need to focus on ways they provide real value to their customers. A compelling vision of what's to come is good, but that doesn't always help customers when deciding to buy now instead of putting off the purchase for later.)
- Companies need to market differently from the day of the 30-second spot. They need to provide insight, inspiration and advice during every customer interaction.
- Companies need to answer what they can do for their customers.
Some good common sense advice, yet I'd bet a lot of companies don't follow up on this. Check out the complete article, "American Express' Shinder on marketing to small businesses," and let me know what you think. Do these tips makes sense? Will following them make a difference to customers and bring in new or incremental business?