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Visit my blog every month for a new article giving insights into the customer journey, how to capitalise on your customer relationships and make your customers love you. 

 

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What is the risk of surveying your customers?
Jennifer Ellis | Feb 7, 2023
You’ve decided to survey your customers? This is great news. Engaging with customers is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your business, plus...
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What is the risk of surveying your customers?

You’ve decided to survey your customers? This is great news.

Engaging with customers is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your business, plus it’s risk free, right?

Well, actually it’s not 100% risk free.

We’ve all at some point received a survey which is ill-timed or too long and felt that the sender was just completely off kilter and weren’t thinking about us as individuals.

If I’m being honest, I’ve even sent out a survey which was waaaayyy too long and I learned my lesson very quickly to never do that again.

Asking your customers for feedback on your product or service is tricky. You need to ask the right questions for it to be valuable, however you also need to keep it on the right side of not asking too many questions or causing annoyance.

That being said. You can’t avoid annoying everyone, it’s just not possible. No matter how much time and effort you put into creating what you think is the perfect survey – not too long, not too intrusive – there will always be someone who finds your survey both too long and too intrusive. It’s just the way it is. And that is the risk you take when surveying your customers

As long as you have put as much effort into creating a survey which they will enjoy, yes that’s possible, then the chances are you’ll get a decent response, and you’ll avoid annoying your customers in the process.

And what you’ll end up with is valuable feedback from your customers about why they value your product or service, and how you can retain them as loyal customers. Or something like that, it depends what you want to know.

If you want to survey your customers but you're not sure where to start, get in touch and we'll be happy to walk you through it.

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Why you shouldn't avoid negative customer feedback.
Jennifer Ellis | Jan 9, 2023
As with yin and yang, there will always be positives and there will always be negatives. You can’t really have one without the other. But we prefer the...
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Why you shouldn't avoid negative customer feedback.

As with yin and yang, there will always be positives and there will always be negatives. You can’t really have one without the other.

But we prefer the positives. And of course we do, they make us feel good and make us happy. Why would we want to proactively go looking for the negatives? Surely that’s just unnecessarily poking the proverbial bear.

Ah but what if the bear is waiting to be poked? Maybe the bear has something important to say but you’re not listening because you only want to focus on the positives?

If you only have Google Reviews to get your customer feedback, then I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably guilty of only focusing on the positives. Unless you’re getting really bad reviews, in which case reading this article may be of help!

Now is the time to be brave and poke that bear. Find out what she thinks about your product or service and face the reality that not all your customers think you’re great.

So here we are. You’ve poked the bear and she’s given her thoughts and feedback on your product or service. And, as expected, it’s not all good stuff.

What should you do?

First, you should listen. And that’s not just giving the bear time to air her grievances, thanking her, and then moving on. You need to actually LISTEN to what the bear has to say, because she is providing valuable insight into your how your business functions.

Then what?

Once you’ve got over your initial panic about receiving negative comments from a customer, you stop, and you think. No action should be taken at this point as any action would be an overreaction, a knee-jerk reaction based on an emotional response and not backed up by any data or facts.

The bear’s comments need to be considered in full and analysed internally to identify where the issue is so that a solution can be found.

Does the issue relate to a specific department? Or perhaps an internal process is not functioning as well as you had assumed? Is there a lack of communication occurring and causing confusion?

Whatever the issue, once you have found it, you can address it, and then work on fixing it.

But that’s not where this should end. You want your customers to think you’re great, right? Then you need to go a step further, that extra mile, so to speak.

To go the extra mile, you should get back in contact with the bear and thank her for her comments and reassure her that you have put them to good use and are working on fixing the problem. The bear will most likely be grateful for the feedback and being made to feel that she was heard. She may even post about her positive experience on social media and tag your brand.

Your other customers will also be grateful because they will no longer have to deal with the issue raised by the bear.

And you will be grateful because the business is running a bit smoother now, which can only be a good thing all round.

And there you go. That’s why you shouldn’t avoid negative customer feedback.

Apart from anything else, just because you’re avoiding it, doesn’t mean it will go away. In fact, the longer you ignore it, the bigger it will get.

Better to face it head on and start finding solutions whilst the problem is manageable, and you hopefully don’t have too many unhappy customers.

Facing negatives is a challenging thing to do and at Calm Blue, we recognise that. Working with us will require you to step outside your comfort zone and we know that for most people, that isn’t the most enjoyable or natural thing to do.

However, it can be the most rewarding.

So why not get in touch and let's have a chat about poking your own bear and finding out what negatives you could use to your advantage.

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How do I attract more customers?
Jennifer Ellis | Dec 1, 2022
It’s a question that any business, no matter its size, will most likely ask at some point. “Where are all our new customers and how do we find...
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How do I attract more customers?

It’s a question that any business, no matter its size, will most likely ask at some point.

“Where are all our new customers and how do we find them?”

The first thing to ask yourself is this: “Who is it that I want to attract?”

And then you want to ask:

  • Who is my perfect customer?
  • What matters to them?
  • What drives them?
  • What challenges are they experiencing that I have the solution for?
  • Are any of my existing customers my perfect customer? If so, what are their key traits?
  • Are any of my existing customers not particularly appealing and, actually, I’d quite like to not have any more customers like them!?
  • Without knowing who it is that you want to attract, and perhaps not attract, you might as well just stand in the middle of a large crowd, shout out a random name and see if anyone responds.

A lot of time and energy can be wasted trying to attract the perfect customer with too broad an approach. AKA the ‘scattergun’ approach.

You know the one, where you throw as much out there as possible in the hope that someone hears it and thinks “Oooh I think they’re talking to me!”.

We’ve all experienced that type of marketing tactic at some point, and we all know that it doesn’t hit the mark, because it’s not personalised, and we feel that it’s not talking to us directly, and it’s just a bit lazy.

Even so-called personalised, automated emails feel impersonal because we know that the bulk of the email is generic, and they’ve just auto filled our names to make it seem like it’s come from a real person direct to us.

Where to start? Start with you.

If you’re trying to work out how to attract your perfect customer and how you're going to connect with them, a good place to start is to think about yourself as a customer and how you like to be contacted and communicated with.

Do you prefer a phone call? Do you like a truly personalised email which demonstrates that some thought has gone into their reason for contacting you? Do you like to do your own research before committing?

You can learn a lot from your own behaviours and preferences so it’s good to consider that your target audience may also be influenced in the same way as you. And it's a good place to start if you're really unsure as to who your target customer is.

By getting into the mindset of your target customers, identifying what’s important to them and what their challenges are, you will be much more likely to have greater success when it comes to engaging with them and getting them interested in finding out more about your product or service.

If that sounds like something you think would benefit you, drop us an email and book a free 30 minute, no obligation consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

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5 questions which will improve the success of your customer experience research.
Jennifer Ellis | Nov 28, 2022
As a business, putting investment into understanding your customers better is hugely beneficial. Knowing who they are and why they are a customer is essential to...
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5 questions which will improve the success of your customer experience research.

As a business, putting investment into understanding your customers better is hugely beneficial.

Knowing who they are and why they are a customer is essential to being able to communicate with them effectively and provide products and services which will meet their needs.

You might be looking to validate your next product idea, or make sure your positioning and marketing is on point for your next launch. Maybe you’re looking to identify areas of the business which offer the greatest opportunity for growth.

What ever the reason, customer research is a fantastic way to get the insights you need to grow your business.

So, you need to start with the customer, right?

In a word, no. Before you even think about contacting your customer you need to ask yourself and your business some questions first.

Here’s the 5 questions you need to ask your business before even thinking about contacting your customers for their feedback.

1. What do I want to achieve with my customer research?

We start with the most important question. If you haven’t yet asked and answered this question, then contacting your customers for feedback should definitely not be happening any time soon until you know the answer to this.

What are you looking to achieve by contacting your customers?

Do you want to know what their experience of a specific product has been? Or perhaps you want to understand how they perceive the service they’ve received, or your brand overall?

There are many reasons for wanting to contact customers and if you dive straight into it without thinking about your reasons and desired outcome, you’ll come away with vague insights which have no meaning or value to your business.

Plan your research objectives thoroughly to ensure you get the most value out of your customers.

2. How do I know what to ask my customers?

Start by looking at your internal processes and how they impact on the customer experience.

Invest time in doing the internal research to find out your customer pain points and what really matters to them when they engage with your business.

Make sure you’re asking your customers about specific things which will benefit your business and have a direct impact on your customer experience.

Perhaps you are already aware of an internal process or service that causes your customers frustration, and you want to fully understand it from their point of view. That’s a good place to start because their feedback will enable you to improve that process or service and, as a result, not enhance the customer experience, but cause your customer to feel valued through asking about a specific experience.

So be clear about your intentions for contacting customers before contacting them. Otherwise, if you’re not sure what you’re looking to achieve, then your customers won’t be either.

3. How am I going to contact my customers?

How do your customers like to interact with you, if at all?

Do you have good relationships where you’re constantly engaging with them?

If not, you may find it more challenging than you realise to get information out of them. You may need to put in some groundwork beforehand.

Asking for feedback from customers out of the blue can rub them up the wrong way. You’ve not been in contact with them for ages, if ever, and now you want something from them. Always put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would feel.

If you haven’t got time or resources to put in the groundwork, then it’s wise to make sure you’re contacting them in a way that will get the best out of them and make them feel valued as a customer.

The last thing you want to be doing is bowling up to them and asking for something when they hardly ever hear from you.

Put some effort in first and make sure they customer is clear as to why you’re contacting them and that you’re doing it in a way that is convenient for them. Just because you want their feedback, doesn’t mean they will want to provide it.

4. How much have I got to spend on my customer research?

Sending out some emails to your customers might sound like a cheap endeavour, but it’s not. If you’re going to be emailing your customers to ask them to complete an online survey it’s advisable to ensure you’re first compliant with GDPR, and second to be collecting performance analytics. Otherwise, you might as well print your emails on paper and throw them into the wind hoping someone will pick them up and read them.

Marketing and commerce providers such as mailchimp have this all sorted for you and provide everything you need to ensure the communications you send out to customers will provide valuable analytics into the performance of your message. They will also show you if your email list needs updating.

Prices will vary depending on your needs, but it is an extremely worthwhile investment to know who is opening and reading your communications and when. It also provides the opportunity to test your contact and tone of voice, seeing what most resonates with your customers.

If you’re not sending emails, you might want to get some qualitative feedback in the form of one-to-one interviews or conduct focus groups with particular customer types.

These are all fantastic ways of getting genuine feedback from customers provided you have a healthy budget to entice customers to provide their valuable time and feedback. Mostly, focus groups offer a financial incentive to participants as a thank you for their time.

If you’re intending to interview 10 or more customers, those incentives can start to add up. So be clear as to your budget at the start.

5. How long do I think this customer research will take?

Getting feedback from customers can be a lengthy process. Not all customers are going to engage straight away, requiring some chasing to even get them to open your communication and read your request, let alone respond to it!

If your requirements are for a quick response, it may be necessary to engage a professional research agency which will be able to contact and obtain responses in a shorter space of time due to the resources available to them.

Again, this will come down to your budget and what you’re aiming to achieve.

 
Whichever way you decide to contact your customers, it’s essential to think realistically about the timeframe for your research and allow sufficient time for your customers to engage and respond.

Always put yourself in your customers’ shoes and contact them in a way that you would want to be contacted. This way, you will get the most out of your customers, and further strengthen your relationship in the process.

If you’re looking to get closer to your customers through research but you’re not sure how to go about it, get in touch with Calm Blue for a free, no obligation 30 -minute consultation, and we’ll find the right outcome for you.

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Why you should listen to both your happy and unhappy employees.
Jennifer Ellis | Oct 26, 2022
Can you have happy employees when you have unhappy customers? The chances are, if some of your customers are unhappy, then some of your employees are going to be...
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Why you should listen to both your happy and unhappy employees.

Can you have happy employees when you have unhappy customers?

The chances are, if some of your customers are unhappy, then some of your employees are going to be too, most likely the customer-facing ones – and no doubt senior management too!

However, some of the other employees in back-office roles could potentially be completely oblivious to the current customer sentiment, leaving you with quite a split of satisfaction levels internally, which can cause numerous problems, particularly to morale.

This is what happens when you’ve not made the customer experience an integral part of your business, operations, and internal communications strategies.

But does it really matter that not all employees are aware of the customer experience? Surely, it’s normal and to be expected that the customer-facing employees will experience more challenges due to the very nature of their roles?

Yes, absolutely. However, that doesn’t make it ok, and it certainly won’t be good for your business. Eventually, that negatively will seep into other areas of your business and create an even greater problem.

So, it’s a problem you want to tackle head on and as quickly as possible if you want to mitigate any further damage to your employee morale.

Where should you start? You can start by listening to your employees.

Proactively listening to the reasons that your employees are both happy and unhappy will provide you valuable insight into how you can improve both the employee and customer experiences at the same time.

The most likely reason for the disparity in the employee experience is that, somewhere along the customer experience, you have a process which is falling short or even failing. And this is creating a negative touchpoint in the customer journey.

It could be something as simple as the dilution of essential customer information from one department to another, or even via multiple departments. The customer could have told their first touchpoint that they need a specific delivery date, however that information has not been passed on, and so the delivery date that the customer requested, is not upheld. Leaving the customer unhappy and the customer-facing roles frustrated.

Clearly there is a flaw in the process which needs to be identified and remedied, quickly.

Listening to your employees will enable you to identify the flaw in the process and devise a solution to resolve it. It could be as simple as creating a shared file where all relevant departments draw their customer information from, or you invest in IT software which will collect and collate all customer data and share it to the entire business.

Whatever the solution, the remedy will come from listening to the experiences of your employees.

It seems so simple and yet so many businesses don’t utilise the experiences of their people when devising new strategies for business development and growth. Insight and innovation can come from any area of the business, and successful businesses are the ones who recognise that and value the opinions of their people.

So, which of your employees do you need to listen to in order to identify the improvements which could not only enhance your customer experience but also save your business money by reducing unnecessary internal errors?

Even just asking yourself that question and genuinely considering the answer means you’re off to a good start.

At Calm Blue, we are passionate about not only the customer experience, but the employee experience also, as they essentially go hand in hand. We can work with you to improve your processes and save your business money by reducing the cost of internal errors. It all starts with a conversation and some proactive listening.

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You'll never know better than your customer need.
Jennifer Ellis | Sep 12, 2022
Remember when HMV was huge? It was THE shopping destination on a Saturday. Which of the latest singles were you going to buy on CD? Or maybe you’d earned...
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You'll never know better than your customer need.

Remember when HMV was huge?

It was THE shopping destination on a Saturday.

Which of the latest singles were you going to buy on CD? Or maybe you’d earned enough pocket money to splash out on a whole album!

Whatever your music taste, HMV was the place to go in the 80s and 90s.

In 1986, HMV opened the world’s largest record store in London’s Oxford Street.

 
Tens of thousands of people turned up to watch Bob Geldolf and Michael Hutchence perform. The event closed Oxford Street!

And when Michael Jackson was in town, they closed the store specially for him so that he could privately wander round the ghostly empty aisles of the store without his hoards of fans bothering him.

Their competition at the time was Richard Branson’s Virgin Megastores. Back when Branson spent a lot of time, and money, snatching up the prime city retail real estate before HMV could get their hands on it.

The world of music and film was HMV's for the taking.

But then. The world changed.

Technology took a massive leap forward when this amazing new thing called, the Internet, burst onto the scene like a sparkly 80s nightclub act flashing their jazz hands wildly at an excited audience. This was the perfect opportunity for HMV to step up and lead the way into the world of downloads and streaming.

But no. While all the sparkly jazz hands were going on, HMV was at the bar, ordering champagne, with its back turned. They missed the whole show.

Despite where the market was clearly heading, and despite being the market leader by a long shot, HMV dropped the ball. With a massive clang.

Yes, they set up an online store in response, but only to sell hard copies of CDs and DVDs which would take several days to be delivered to customers who were already developing a taste for the satisfying immediacy of online downloads.

Despite being advised to provide the option of downloads for their customers, HMV still chose to stick to their guns and stand by the fact that they believed that their customers would remain faithful to the instore experience and the tangibility of a hard copy CD or DVD. Online shopping was not going to be the next big thing.

Whatever the reason for HMV’s decision to not join the rest of the competition on the online party bus, it was to be the brand's downfall. As online downloads soured, HMV’s profits plummeted.

As a loyal customer of HMV in the 90s, it was truly sad to watch.

But it was also extremely frustrating. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t moving with the times and giving their customers what they so clearly wanted.

Had they stopped listening to their customers?

Sometimes in business, it can pay off to turn right when your competitors are all turning left, but it’s a risky strategy. You’ve got to be sure that it’s the right move for your business and, more importantly, that your customers are going to follow.

Being closer to their customers and listening to what they wanted would have protected HMV from such a tragic fall from grace.

The brand has ended up being the perfect case study for how badly, and quickly, things can go wrong when you don’t keep close to your customer need.

The customer need will always change and evolve. It’s natural. And sometimes, if you’re clever and innovative, your brand can be the driver of that change.

iPad anyone?

Calm Blue is passionate about the customer experience and works with its clients to bring them closer to their customers and apply those insights to define and drive strategic growth. Fancy a chat about your customers? We'll put the kettle on.

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Why your customer experience matters
Jennifer Ellis | Aug 14, 2022
If that sounds familiar, the chances are you’re not close enough to your customer experience. Which means you’re missing out on vital clues as to why...
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Why your customer experience matters

If that sounds familiar, the chances are you’re not close enough to your customer experience.

Which means you’re missing out on vital clues as to why all your hard work is going unrewarded.

But why is the customer experience the answer?

Put simply, the customer experience correlates to loyalty.

And loyal customers will not only continue to purchase from your business, but they will also advocate for your brand. Meaning that they will tell others about how great your business is, for free!

What could be better than that?

Not understanding your customer experience in depth means that you’re missing out on identifying opportunities to improve not only the customer experience, but also the employee experience by streamlining processes, breaking down silos, and eliminating internal blockages.

Whilst it’s valuable to learn about what the customer experience IS, it’s also beneficial to first learn what it’s not.

A great book to read if you want to understand your customer experience better is ‘Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Centre of your Business’, by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine.

In it, they describe what customer experience is NOT.

“It’s not customer service. People call customer service when they have a problem. So equating customer service with customer experience is like saying that a safety net is a trapeze act. Yes, the net is important to the act. But if the performer needs to use the net then something has gone wrong with the show.”

“It’s not soft and fluffy. Of course you love your customers – if not for them, you couldn’t pay your mortgage. But loving your customers won’t help you succeed unless you DO something about it, like offering them products that meet their needs, and making it easy to find, buy, and use those products – all critical aspects of customer experience.”

 “It’s not usability. Yes people appreciate it when a product or service is easy to use. But usability is just one piece of the customer experience puzzle – and not even the most important piece. Take your car, for example. Even if the steering wheel is easy to turn and the brake pedal feels just right, your driving experience will still be miserable if the car fails to meet your basic needs, like running reliable and stopping safely.”

So what is it then?

The customer experience is every single interaction an individual has with the products and services your brand offers.

  • It’s how they even heard about your business in the first place.
  • Why they chose to find out more about you and make contact.
  • The decisions they made about your brand before even purchasing anything.
  • How they felt when they experienced a problem with your service and asked for help.
  • Their evaluation of the entire experience of your brand from start to finish.
  • The decisions they will make as to whether they stay with your business or move on.

Manning and Bodine define it as: “Customer experience is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company.”

Once you understand that, once you realise that every single part of your business process impacts on the customers’ perception of your brand and service, then you’re ready to begin building a stronger, more customer-focused business which will have loyal advocates ready to big you up to others whenever they get the chance.

In recent years, it has been demonstrated by various sources that improving your customer experience leads to profits, but only if you treat it as a business discipline. The customer experience has to become a core part of your strategy and focus if it is to truly reward your efforts and drive growth. Customer experience fails to gain traction when businesses treat it like something soft and squishy.

Your customers are not soft and squishy. They’re hard, complex creatures looking to find the best option for their needs. Are you ready to give it to them?

Calm Blue is passionate about the customer experience. We’re here to turn your sad faces upside down and open new doors to satisfied customers and business growth. If you’re ready to take the next step, we’re looking forward to speaking to you.

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Your customers have all the answers, right?
Jennifer Ellis | Jul 30, 2022
There is a great quote from Henry Ford that he either did or didn’t say. Whether he said it or not, and we have no evidence either way, it’s a great quote...
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Your customers have all the answers, right?

There is a great quote from Henry Ford that he either did or didn’t say. Whether he said it or not, and we have no evidence either way, it’s a great quote and I love the meaning behind it.

Ford (apparently) said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”

So, am I suggesting that you shouldn’t bother asking customers for information when you’re looking to innovate? No, that’s not what I’m suggesting. However, what I am suggesting is that you first look internally and ask yourself, and your team if you have one, “what do I already know about my customers?”

What are their pain points?

What problems do I solve for them?

Why do they come to me or my business?

Why have they remained a customer?

How well do I really know my customers?

What do they really think of my brand?

Whilst some customers in certain types of businesses are perfectly capable of verbalising exactly what sort of innovations you could apply to your product or service, others will be totally incapable of verbalising their needs and even the motivations for their needs, although they may still give it a good go – meaning that they will provide feedback that has absolutely no value to your business at all!

You’ll be amazed at the insights you can gather from asking yourself some key questions about your customers and being honest in your answers. Really honest.

Whilst it’s rewarding to acknowledge what you’re good at, the greatest benefit will come from answering the more challenging questions such as “What am I not doing very well for my customers?” and “Where is my customer experience weak?”

That’s the real gold right there. If you have repeat customers, then clearly you are doing something right. Or, you’re providing an essential product or service and so they have no choice but to engage with your brand. If someone else comes along with a similar product or service and can offer a better customer experience than you, then you could be in trouble if you’re not already close to your customer experience.

Perhaps you don’t communicate much with your customers because you think they won’t want to be bothered by constant emails or posts. Have you asked them? Perhaps they would like to hear from you once a month via email, or they would like to follow your social media posts, or read your blogs on your website?

If you haven’t asked, then how can you possibly know what they want?

Have you ever scoped out your customer journey from start to finish? Do you know where the customer journey actually starts? I’ll give you a bit of a clue: it doesn’t start when they contact you. It started waaaaaay back before they even made contact. When your brand was just a tiny glint in their eye.

So, before you even speak to your customers for feedback, do your homework first so that you know which questions to ask them. Rather than asking for general feedback on your entire service, you can ask them about the payment process or the aftercare service. That way, you’re receiving much more valuable insight into their experience of your brand.

Analyse your customers so that you really understand who they are and why they even engaged with your brand in the first place.

Scope out your customer journey and identify both your strong and weak touchpoints.

Understand who your customers are and what their interests are. Remember, they are people at the end of the day with interests outside of work! So, it doesn’t all have to be work related.

And finally, ask yourself, how can you add value to their lives to make sure they keep coming back for more?

And if you feel you could do with some guidance with asking your own questions or scoping out your customer journey, please get in touch and we can have a chat. jennifer@calmblueconsulting.co.uk.

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Marketing: Investment or Cost?
Jennifer Ellis | Jun 6, 2022
The majority of departments within a business have an allocated budget to enable them to carry out their roles effectively. Finance looks after the money, transport...
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Marketing: Investment or Cost?

The majority of departments within a business have an allocated budget to enable them to carry out their roles effectively. Finance looks after the money, transport looks after deliveries, customer service looks after enquiries, and marketing…. well, they do something entirely different, don’t they?

Ultimately yes, marketing is different to other departments and should be a proactive and strategic function within your business. Not reactionary. Marketing touches every area of a business and every single department impacts the message that marketing will put out to the marketplace about your brand.

How much you budget for your marketing will directly impact your business’ growth and profitability as the purpose of marketing is to be a key driver of sales and profit. Without measured and considered investment, this key driver will fall short.

Effective marketing can be carried out within the budget made available however that depends on the expectation of performance being realistically aligned to the business objectives. If the expected return is £100k, it makes sense that the initial marketing investment would be comparative.

Some marketing activities incur costs, such as media space for advertising, and some marketing activities provide long-term benefits, such as brand assets. So, each marketing spend should be understood individually in terms of the benefit and return to the business.

For example, a brand refresh may be a large investment in year 1, however that investment is going to give long-term returns in the form of brand strength and awareness which drives interest in the products or services being offered by the business.

The marketing spend should be allocated to initiatives that are directly aligned to the overall business plan and sales objectives. This means that all marketing activity should be measured and provide a return on investment.

This can be challenging on certain aspects of marketing activity as a direct value cannot be directly attributed, but that is where the sales and marketing teams should work together to understand what can be achieved with certain marketing activities and assign an estimated return on investment.

When times get tough in business, the marketing budget is often the first to be reviewed. However, when times get tough it is important that customers are aware of your brand, and that’s not going to happen without investment in marketing.

 
 
 

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Why are your customers' emotions important?
Jennifer Ellis | May 17, 2022
“I don’t know!” will most likely be your answer to that. Followed by “What does that have to do with me and my business anyway?”. And...
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Why are your customers' emotions important?

“I don’t know!” will most likely be your answer to that. Followed by “What does that have to do with me and my business anyway?”. And it’s a fair question. If they’re buying your product or service then that’s all that matters, right?

Well, yes that does matter. However, I would suggest that the answer to that question really is… no. You should definitely be thinking about your customers’ emotional response to your brand and I’m going to explain why.

Think about the last purchase you made. What did you buy? Why did you buy it? Was it a necessity or an impulse purchase? What do you think influenced your decision?

Were you influenced by the branding, or perhaps an online review, maybe the product colour, or perhaps it all came down to the price? Whatever it was that drove you to your final decision, chances are it was informed by an emotional response. Whether you were aware of it or not.

Most of us believe that the choices we make result from a rational analysis of available alternatives.

Whereas, in fact emotions greatly influence and, in many cases, even determine our decisions.

When we are confronted with a decision, we draw on previous experiences and emotions and affix values to the options we are considering. These emotions create preferences, which ultimately lead to our decision.

It makes sense then that if your customers experience a positive emotion as a result of purchasing your product or service, it will increase the likelihood of them returning to your business and making another purchase. They may even begin to form a loyalty towards your brand.

If that is the case for positive emotions, then it also makes sense that, if they have a negative experience, not only will they not return for a repeat purchase but also, if the experience was bad enough, they are likely to go out of their way to tell other people about their negative experience of your brand.

So how do you get to know your customers on an intimate, emotional level to be able to influence their decisions and ensure they have a positive experience of your brand?

It’s important to realise that their relationship with your brand is not about money. Your product or service is providing something which enhances or assists in their lives.

For example. If someone buys a drill, they don’t need a drill, they need a hole in the wall. But then actually they don’t really need a hole in their wall, they need to make a hole in order to insert a screw so that they can hang a picture. What they actually want is to enjoy looking at a picture on their wall and the drill helps them do just that.

So what does your product or service help your customer do? What outcome is it helping them achieve? Once you know this, you know what emotional response they’re having as a result of buying your product and engaging with your brand.

All customers want to feel special. And if you can identify the value that your product or service brings to their lives, then you’re on to a winner. Adding value to the lives of your customers is something that every business can do to elevate the customer experience.

What can you offer your customers in addition to your product or service? How can you place your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds? What can you do to create an unforgettable experience for your customers that will keep them coming back time after time?

Building on your customer experience allows you to develop relationships with your customers which will enable you to connect with them on levels that go past simply getting the sale. A personalised service, attention to detail, and prompt response to any issues will deliver considerable intangible value to your business in the long run.

Ultimately, it’s about caring about your customer and never losing sight of what truly matters to them. Keep your brand emotionally relevant and in the forefront of their minds and you can be sure to be their first choice every time.

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Inferiority. Is it all just perception?
Jennifer Ellis | Apr 17, 2022
I've realised that I just don't believe that all experiments and studies are non-biased. Particularly when it comes to research telling me who I am. A woman. In...
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Inferiority. Is it all just perception?

I've realised that I just don't believe that all experiments and studies are non-biased. Particularly when it comes to research telling me who I am. A woman.

In the corporate world, I've seen data be manipulated to support or disprove a particular business strategy or objective. So surely it is in the same in science?

Charles Darwin himself displayed considerable levels of bias towards women in his most important of works 'On The Origin of Species', published in 1859, and 'The Descent of Man', which came out twelve years later.

In a letter, hand-written by Darwin in December 1881, in response to questions posed to him about his suggestion of the inferiority of women, by Mrs Caroline Kennard from Brookline, Massachusetts, Darwin writes:

"I certainly think that women though generally superior to men [in] moral qualities are inferior intellectually, and there seems to me to be a greater difficulty from the laws of inheritance (if I understand these laws rightly) in their becoming the intellectual equals of man.

For women to overcome this inequality they would have to become breadwinners like men. And this wouldn't be a good idea, because it might damage young children and the happiness of the households".

The breadwinners point is an interesting one. In the animal kingdom, the lioness is the 'breadwinner'; going out to hunt and feed her pride. The general understanding is that the male lion protects the pride and so is in charge and this show of dominance leads to him eating the kill first. He may share the kill with the cubs, but the lioness eats last and usually on the scraps.

Now. Turn this on its head for a moment.

Currently, this is seen as the lioness being denied feeding on the kill by the male. However, I would like to suggest an alternative hypotheses. That, if this were the other way around and instead it was the male that hunted and the females and cubs fed first, leaving him the scraps, would that not be seen as heroic and a great sacrifice on his part?

Do we apply bias to how we view the animal kingdom as well as ourselves? We know we do to some extent as we view nature through rose-tinted glasses; seeing it as cute or romantic when actually it is savage and cruel and unforgiving, with just about every creature fighting for survival every single day.

The male lions are 'security guards', dominating the land and protecting the territory of the pride. Whether he is in charge or not is surely a matter of perception?

The perceived importance here is the strength and might of the male lion, however it is the lioness who feeds the pride, making her the breadwinner, which, in accordance with Darwin's own opinion, makes them 'equal'.

In the 21st Century, women have indeed become breadwinners for their families. Some earning vastly more than their male partners and with some males choosing to stay home and look after the children, much like a male lion protecting the pride.

Perception is the key point here. To refer to Darwin's letter to Mrs Kennard again, he concedes that women are "generally superior to men in moral qualities" but inferior in intellect. This shows Darwin's perception of morals versus intellect and which he deems more valuable.

Darwin has applied his own bias to his scientific findings. And if Darwin could do it, it surely stands to reason that other scientists could also be applying their own bias to their research?

Respected British biologist, Walter Heape, argued in his published work 'Sex Antagonism' in 1913, that "equality between the sexes was impossible because men and women were built for different roles".

I find this suggestion of man and woman being biologically different perfectly acceptable. These differences exist all across the natural world between male and female creatures. The point I believe the scientists and scholars of their time were missing from the women fighting for equal rights, was that somewhere along the line of history, men decided that women's attributes were less valuable than man's. And men have spent hundreds of years using science to prove it, not realising (in some cases at least) that they were falling foul to their own biases.

In her amazingly insightful book 'Inferior', Angela Saini brings to light a woman called Eliza Burt Gamble from Concord, Michigan. Gamble was fighting for women's rights and, in 1894, published some of the most radical ideas of her age in 'The Evolution of Woman: An Inquiry Into The Dogma Of Her Inferiority To Man'.

Studying statistics, history, and science, this was Gamble's counter-argument to Darwin and other evolutionary biologists. In her book, Gamble wrote that "the human qualities more commonly associated with women - cooperation, nurture, protectiveness, egalitarianism, and altruism - must have played a vital role in human progress".

Gamble argued that "women had been systematically suppressed over the course of human history by men and their power structures."

In her book, Saini goes on to say that "It's hard to picture the directions in which science might have gone if in those important days when Charles Darwin was developing his theories of evolution, society hadn't been quite as sexist as it was. We can only imagine how different our understanding of women might be now if Gamble had been taken a little more seriously."

Saini adds, "Historians today have regretfully described Gamble's radical perspective as 'the road not taken'.

Whilst the road may not have been taken in the past, it is certainly one that can be taken now and biases can and should be checked and put to one side to allow for open-mindedness and respect for all beings, no matter their perceived 'inferiority'.

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Working with Calm Blue gave us clarity on which of our ideas for the business align best with what our clients want. We gained new ideas and comfort that we're on the right path.

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