360-Degree Marketing: Are You Marketing Alongside Your Customer’s Journey?

I recently took my husband out for dinner to celebrate his birthday. I wanted to go to a restaurant with a fine-dining atmosphere, excellent food, great service, flattering lighting and a good wine selection. He wanted steak. So after searching online and comparing restaurants in our city, we decided on Berc’s Steakhouse.* It turned out to be a great decision as we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

As a business consultant, I have a tendency to analyze and rate businesses when I’m shopping as a customer. I can’t help myself. I consider how well the business is providing service, representing their brand, capitalizing on opportunities, marketing themselves, etc.  And it was no different at Berc’s Steakhouse. I commented to my husband over dinner what an effective job they were doing of marketing the restaurant along the entire customer journey (yes, this is the sort of scintillating conversation I subject my husband to … but hey, I was paying).

From the first point of contact with their website to the moment we left after our meal, we had a positive experience. It got me to thinking about 360-degree marketing and how infrequently it’s done in business. It’s a shame, because 360-degree marketing is what can set your business apart and give you a huge competitive advantage. It determines whether you’re going to create a base of loyal, referral-generating fans or a smattering of one-off customers who move on to your competition after one purchase.

What is 360-Degree Marketing?

360-degree marketing is about marketing to your customer along their entire buying journey, from the first point of online or offline contact to after they have made a purchase.

Businesses that do 360-degree marketing understand a vital concept for business success:

Everything you and your staff do is marketing your business.

From face-to-face interactions, phone handling, your online presence, correct invoicing, quality service and product delivery, return policy, to customer follow-up, etc. EVERYTHING is marketing.

So why is Berc’s a good example of 360-degree marketing? Below are several 360-degree marketing details that provided us with a positive experience and ensured we become repeat customers.

  • Easy-to-navigate website complete with menus and pricing. It also has an active Google Places listing with plenty of reviews.
  • Professional, friendly phone service when I called for the reservation
  • Free parking
  • Friendly greeting by hostess when we arrived. The bartender also greeted us as we walked past the bar.
  • Beautiful, upscale interior design with a cozy ambience. (Yes, the lighting is flattering)
  • Professional, attentive service by our waiter David, who also deftly and discreetly produced a pair of reading glasses for me so I could read the bill (forgotten reading glasses is a common hazard of switching purses)
  • Steak that lived up to the Berc’s Steakhouse reputation (Voted #1 in Peterborough 7 years in a row.)
  • Staff seem highly trained and work well together as a team
  • We weren’t rushed

I could go on, but I think you get a sense of how Berc’s Steakhouse pays attention to each detail of the customer experience. vince-lombardi-quote

It’s the simple, attention-to-detail activities that make a business successful. We weren’t expecting fireworks and a mariachi band. We just wanted a great atmosphere with excellent food and service. And that’s what we got.

The Post-Purchase Black Hole

Many businesses suffer from what I call the Post-Purchase Black Hole. The customer leaves the business, never to be engaged again unless the customer makes the effort to return.

I’ve provided some marketing activities below that any business can implement to avoid having your customers fall into this black hole.  Read through them and consider how you could apply them to your own 360-degree marketing strategy.

  • Do follow-up phone calls each month to new and loyal customers for a personal touch and to gauge their satisfaction.
  • Assign a rotating monthly staff ambassador to the role of customer follow-up.
  • Email your customer after the purchase. There are many opportunities to get your customer’s email address and many offers you can make so they will willingly provide it. Send a follow-up thank you email with a survey, coupon, etc. after their purchase.
  • Invite your customers to connect with you on social media (or have a staff person assigned to making connections).
  • Was the customer at your business for a special occasion? Make note of the date in your customer database and reach out to them in advance of the date the following year with a special anniversary offer.
  • Invite the customer to leave you an online review. (Provide the url on the receipt or a separate card given at check-out.)

There are endless ways to stay engaged with your customers. Like I said earlier, customers don’t expect fireworks. Just great service and the knowledge that you appreciate their business.

Would you like to implement a 360-degree system for marketing your business? Contact me today for ideas and a no-obligation quote.

* This blog includes an unsolicited review of Berc’s Steakhouse.

 



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