Look around your business. Better yet, conduct an audit: Where in your sales, marketing or service continuum do customers or potential customers get stranded in a content desert?
What do I mean by a “content desert”?
Think about the process of providing relevant, useful or entertaining content as cultivating an “engagement oasis” for the audiences you wish to attract and serve. A welcoming place where they can derive value and feel nurtured by your business and brand.
Now think of doing the exact opposite, either purposefully or unwittingly. Allowing a place on that continuum where your organization makes little or no effort to provide information, interactions or experiences of value. Or, perhaps worse yet, where you bombard y0ur audience with purely promotional, “let us tell you more about us” messages.
A content desert.
Please Continue to Hold While We Fail to Engage You
I survived 10 minutes in a content desert this past weekend, when it was my misfortune to have a malfunctioning dishwasher. When I called the manufacturer and service company (in this case, one in the same) to schedule a repair, I was placed on hold because, according to the automated voice, “all of our representatives are assisting other callers.”
Now, let’s examine this commonplace scenario from the corporate marketer’s perspective: A person who bought your product is having an issue with that product. They reach out to you. You’re about to have five, eight, or in this case 10 minutes of one-on-one, uninterrupted communication with that customer.
What will you do to engage them during this special time? What can you offer that might leave them feeling better informed, entertained, or in some way more connected to or empowered by your brand?
Take thought and care with those 10 minutes, and the potential benefits are clear: That person on the other end of the line is more likely to become a brand advocate and referral source. More likely to buy your products and services in the future.
But here’s what this manufacturer and service provider chose to do with its 10 minutes of uninterrupted communication:
- Invite me to visit them on Facebook. Why? No reason given in particular. No promise of an entertaining video, helpful information, or even a cheesy contest or sweepstakes. Just a flat invitation to “visit us on Facebook.” Sorry. You’ll need to do better than that.
- Invite me to join them in online chat. OK, that might be a good idea. And I’m somewhat impressed that they offer this feature. But in this case it meant I’d need hang up the phone and go boot up my computer, surrendering my place in the phone queue, a place I’d already invested some time to earn.
- Cross-sell another service. In this instance, a free estimate on a particular home improvement service. Not the worst offer or call to action in the world. But how much better would it have been if that service were presented in a value-adding context? Perhaps the recorded message could have spoken to issues and challenges I might be experiencing with my home, rather than merely promote the service the company was trying to cross-sell. Or it could have invited me to visit a website to learn more about financing options that would make the service being offered more affordable. Or a series of videos that showed how other consumers have improved their lives and homes by using the service. Instead, all I got was an offer to buy something else from a company that was already causing me some grief because of the last product I’d purchased from them.
- Thank me for my patience, and for remaining on the line. You’re welcome. But then again, what choice did I really have?
Where’s Your Content Desert?
As content deserts go, this wasn’t exactly Death Valley. Probably hundreds, maybe even thousands, of on-hold messaging scenarios play out like this every day, from businesses large and small. The marketing “sins” here, if any, are more of omission than commission.
The larger point is this: If somewhere in your marketing, sales and service continuum you can expect to have a few minutes, maybe even 10, of direct, uninterrupted communication with customers or potential customers, what will you do with that opportunity?
Subject them to a content desert? Or cultivate for them an engagement oasis?
Where in your marketing, sales and service continuum is there a desert you can transform into an oasis?
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