Reverse marketing, a strategy that informs the consumer and allow them to be in charge of their buying habits is the new and improved way of marketing being practiced. Defined by Cambridge Dictionaries Online, it is an activity that helps people find and choose products and companies, “for example through general advertising, rather than marketing to a particular group of possible customers”

How Does Reverse Marketing Work?

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In this article we will look at 1) the meaning of reverse marketing, 2) the common uses of the reverse marketing strategy, 3) reverse marketing techniques, 4) benefits of customer empowerment through reverse marketing, 5) 5 reverse marketing tips to implement in your business, 6) what not to do in your attraction marketing campaign, 7) reverse marketing in three questions, and 8) taking your reverse marketing campaign online.

THE MEANING OF REVERSE MARKETING

Reverse marketing also known as value or attraction marketing is a strategy that encourages customers to choose companies instead of using forceful advertising techniques to get consumers to spend. It focuses on building trust and letting the customer come to the brand. By offering help, advice and relevant information, companies attract their ideal customers who view them as authorities or experts. Companies that employ this technique try to avoid coercion and to encourage customers to feel empowered and confident in choosing their products instead. Take Dove’s attraction marketing campaign for example, instead of using the you are flawed until you choose Dove method, they remind women that they are indeed beautiful as is, and that by choosing the Dove brand, they are celebrating that beauty, not correcting flaws. This reverse psychological aspect allows Dove users to feel good about their choice of beauty products that encourage acceptance instead of shaming.

COMMON USES OF REVERSE MARKETING

Though an unusual approach, reverse marketing has garnered success for quite a few companies because it steers people away from fear tactics and the feeling of being sold to. Of course, it is clear that consumers do not want to be threatened or told what to do and so this is an especially useful marketing tool today.

Improve brand image

Companies that feature advertising on their companies’ principles, social responsibility and ethical profile create customer loyalty because customers believe they are not supporting a mass-producing socially reprobated conglomerate.

Shun “coercive marketing” strategies

Many companies focus their efforts on hard selling to new customers and upselling or cross selling to the customers they already have, however reverse marketing focuses on enriching the lives of their customers through knowledge and education. They teach them how to gain maximum benefit from the products they already have and support them when choosing new or additional products.

Cuts out “hard sales” and abrasive tactics

Sales tactics push for the purchase of products designed to fix specific problems, but the attraction-marketing model enforces the building of relationships and ensures rapport so the customers’ needs are met.

Build relationships with customers

Once the customer recognizes your brand or company as an authority, they do all the searching and find your product through all the help and advice you have offered them. This way through the relationship that was constructed over time, they develop confidence in your firm to offer them benefits and useful products or service.

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REVERSE MARKETING TECHNIQUES

Reverse or value marketing strategy comprises of three parts, first you have to be recognized by your customers, next they come to you with their needs giving you permission to contact them and finally you continue to provide value and information to them. According to a study done by International studies of Management & Organization, reverse marketing is “a market strategy that seeks more explicitly to align with customers to assist them in developing their optimum solution in a given marketplace.” And below are some techniques to implement this practice.

Tailor your product or service to your ideal customers

Capture and respond to emerging patterns and customer behavior. A customer focused marketing plan looks at the product from the explicit views of the customer.

Get their permission to contact them

Customers have tremendous access to information and media to be able to compare prices, company policies and features and performances of products. By being able to accept or reject your marketing agenda based on their knowledge they will be empowered and feel valued.

Provide value through follow-up

It has been proven that strong relationships with customers develop loyalty, profitability and lowered costs through high customer retention. However follow up just for the sake of completing a transaction and not for further value will cause a misalignment between the company’s relationship marketing goals and the targeted customers.

Focus on customer success by creating more authentic relationships

Offer more value through special attention to customers and their individual wants and needs. Help customers to make better purchasing choices by informing them of the benefits of the products they seek and the proper use and maximum potential.

Foster knowledge and customer involvement

Many companies gather customer data in a secretive and transaction focused manner, causing customers to be concerned about the possible misuse of their data and therefore become weary of allowing contact. To remedy this situation, a firm can offer a customer value in exchange for the required information.

Encourage transparency in choice

Be transparent with your company’s offerings and allow the solution that works best for the customers to be used, even if it was invented by your competition. To aid in choice transparency, companies can use online price comparison tools, choice boards, and staff’s knowledgeable recommendations.

BENEFITS OF EMPOWERING CUSTOMERS THROUGH REVERSE MARKETING

Sustains brand values and position

Ensure the brand promise is to ensure customer success and solve their problems, while helping them make informed and confident purchasing decisions.

Improves stakeholder value

Of course, profitability is always high on a firm’s priority list, so all actions in the reverse marketing strategy should ensure customer value, company profit, and increased value for all those involved with the company. By being transparent with details about commercial behavior, operations and company performance, all stakeholders including customers can develop trust and a collective sense of mutual respect.

Builds brand development and alignment

This can be achieved through forms of collaboration with all involved as co-creators of the brand’s value and therefore trusted relationships and brand establishment.

5 REVERSE MARKETING TIPS TO IMPLEMENT IN YOUR BUSINESS

  1. Provide solutions – by being a trusted advisor who provides solutions to problems your customers may have, they will choose to do business with you out of gratitude.
  2. Teach /empower your customers because teaching demonstrates your knowledge and credentials – it shows you have the relevant information needed by your clients. Remember that your target audience will always need help understanding your products, so work with them to get the most out of what you advertised and promised.
  3. Use direct response systems to ensure follow up – the use of various formats of direct response systems will ensure follow up, and customer queries are not overlooked, thus enhancing customer experience and encouraging retention.
  4. Offer free products or guides- getting free guides or products such as samples will give customers a chance to try something they would not have otherwise thought to. And who doesn’t like freebies?
  5. Use the Internet – create a site, use social media and create insightful content that helps customers be more enlightened about your products. Don’t just advertise; advise them on a proper use, benefits, unique ways to use their products, hacks that will make their lives easier.

WHAT NOT TO DO IN YOUR ATTRACTION MARKETING CAMPAIGN

Use “Push” Marketing

This method puts products in front of customers using big ad campaigns and attention grabbing headlines and claims. Instead think if we build relationships they will come.

Buy leads and spam prospects with advertising

The old way of direct marketing often encouraged cold calling approaches that meant purchasing people’s information and constantly bombarding them with your offers. Instead let the customers find you through knowledge of your company values, brand positioning, and product reputation.

Use scare tactics

Instead inform your customers and let them make informed choices on their own.

Not deliver what is promised

It goes without saying that integrity is attractive and so in order to attract new and retain loyal customers, do what you say you will in your advertising or do not include it in the marketing promise.

Offer something that has no value to the customer

Many firms seek out problems and simply create products to solve them. However, customers need more value than having one size fits all solution shoved into their shopping carts. Give customers value and you will gain their loyalty.

REVERSE MARKETING IN THREE QUESTIONS

What can we offer of value?

It is crucial to the success of your company’s bottom line to offer value to your customers some of the steps to take to create value include: developing an understanding of what drives value for its customers.  It also needs to understand what its value proposition is for example what is the total cost, or as written in an article by Inc.com ,“in terms of price plus any ancillary costs of ownership or usage (e.g., how much of their time do they have to devote to buying or using your product or service?)” The article also goes on to explain a win-win price strategy and investing in your most valuable customers.

Would you like to test/try it for free?

Offering free products is always great for the recipient but if ill advised, marketers can end up offering free products with no conversions. There are basics steps to offering free products as a marketing process that will convert into new customers. First, find the right customer and ensure there is a need for the product. Then ensure the marketing team sets an end date to the giveaways or a set amount to keep marketing cost low. Be sure that features included are listed for a limited time and customers are clear on this matter, so they do not feel baited and then switched later if they decide to purchase the basic product. Finally ensure follow up, ask for feedback and offer further education on the use and value of the product

How can we offer further and continuous solutions?

From the onset, marketers need to be forecasting customer lifetime value to ensure they maintain long-term relationships with their customers. Customer lifetime value is the net profit a relationship with a customer will gain the company in the long run.

TAKING YOUR REVERSE MARKETING CAMPAIGN ONLINE

According to Martin Marketing.ca, gone are the days when companies could hide behind slick advertising and run shrewd campaigns that forced consumerism.  The Internet has been instrumental in building or ruining the reputation of companies and their marketing strategies via blogs, Google Reviews, forums and various social media platforms.  Through the use of search engine optimization technology, marketers can figure out what campaigns are attracting customers and therefore focus on those. As written by Martin Marketing the veil of shady marketing practices has been lifted and now customers are more vocal and willing to advertise for your company, be it good or bad. Some of the main online marketing platforms to consider are listed below, and businesses should bear in mind that in order to reap the benefits of social media a social media business plan is essential.

Facebook

facebook

© pixabay | Simon

Create a Facebook business page and post regular and relevant content about your product, program or service. There are three steps to building a marketing plan on Facebook

  1. Attraction – build a Facebook community, consisting of a fan base and generate engagement with people. Supply your fan base with guides, how-tos and information that set your company as the go to source. Get to know your audience so you can market to their particular tastes and needs. And adding a Facebook Like button to your website will also draw many ideal customers who were already interested in your product to your page.
  2. Promotion – use short strategic posts that are to the point and if you need your audience to take action then include a clear call to action link. You can even use contests on your page to get people to like and comment and therefore grow your following.
  3. Sales – once you have engagement on your page, marketers can go ahead and sell their products. By engaging your audience, you will know when to sell and what they need.

Twitter

Logo twitter

© Wikimedia commons | Twitter

Marketing on Twitter can be divided into 5 steps:

  1. Discuss topics outside your niche. People have short attention spans and seeing the same topic repeatedly will let them lose interest. A great tip by Jeff Machado, Inbound Marketing Implementation Specialist, is to have five other topics you tweet about on a regular basis.
  2. Apply buyer persona, David Meerman Scott has written a book on the various goals and personas of the modern buyer and how you can use it in your marketing plan.
  3. Search and ask questions daily to keep your information fresh and interesting and to get feedback from your target market over time.
  4. Answer questions and supply interesting and entertaining links daily. Bit.ly offers URL shortening services that will help to keep tweets in the 140-character limit and still reach your target market.
  5. Share one or more blog post, article or video per week with content that gives answers to questions you have asked and helps your target market learn and understand something that improves his or her life.

YouTube

Logo Youtube

© Wikimedia commons | Youtube

Marketing on YouTube is one of the easiest and fastest ways to build customer following. According to a study done in 2013, there are over 72 hours of footage being uploaded to YouTube every minute, and YouTube has been ranked as the #2 largest video site in the world. So how do you market on YouTube so customers come to you? Here are 10 steps.

  1. Create a channel with an icon, which doubles as your channel’s profile picture.
  2. Upload a channel trailer that will air to new subscribers and give them a preview of what to expect from your company.
  3. Add links to your website and social media networks.
  4. Add compelling and interesting content on your video to hold people’s attention
  5. Add call to action buttons so people may follow the links to your product or service.
  6. Add regular content-as you may have heard repeatedly in reverse marketing circles, “Content is truly king.” So engage your audience with interesting and insightful content.
  7. Get indexed on YouTube so your information can be found easily.
  8. Add tabs and thumbnails to help your audience navigate your channel.
  9. Build your community, so your videos can go viral. Ensure that you engage, entertain and educate, to establish a deep connection with your followers.
  10. Cross-promote with other channels that are similar to your own. That way you are reaching your audience and even a bit of their own, while offering them the same benefits.

Implement these steps for an online reverse marketing campaign.

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