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10/27/2011 What If You Don’t Have What Customers Want?


FacebookLikesGraphic From Marketing Profs

A recent Exact Target study on Facebook Likes revealed that most people who like brands on Facebook want something tangible in return. For the majority, they want payback in terms of product discounts or sales. That makes sense. Just like brands, people are looking out for Number One.

But what about all of the companies that don’t sell products? What do all of the service brands do where discounting is, well, odd. Ever see a sale or a coupon for a lawyer, doctor or accountant? If so, post them here.

How about banks, electric utilities or even, ahem, ad agencies? Nope, nope, nope. No sales or discounts there. If most people want deals, and service organizations don’t offer deals, should they even be on Facebook or social media?

When I look at that top line (and I’m not even bothering with the data below those two top lines) the word “exclusive” jumps out at me. People don’t say they want sales; they want exclusive sales. They want to feel special. They want companies to treat them specially.

Now that sounds pretty smart and very doable. Most companies should treat their customers as special people. The challenge is creating something exclusive for them. Although when I think of exclusive, it means that you can give someone access first, before anyone else.

The service industry can do that. They can offer special reports or insights to their customers, first, to help them get smarter. They can invite them to special customer only events to meet with industry experts. They can simply throw parties or give away branded shwag.

The problem with that: It’s extra work. Creating a sale or a coupon isn’t that much work compared with creating content or events. So most companies balk at doing so. I ran across this statistic a few months back that puts this extra work into perspective, though:

Increasing your customer satisfaction by 5% can increase profits by as much as 95%. 

So the question for the service industry becomes: Is it worth the effort to increase your profits by up to 95%?

If you answer no, maybe it’s time to shut down your Facebook page. For the rest of you, it may not seem like you can offer customers what they really want, but you can. You just need to treat them a little better than everyone else.

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