Personalization Versus Customer Experience

We used to want personalization. Now we need more. We need positive customer experiences.

Personalization is something companies like Amazon, Sephora, and Nike have trained us to expect.  It’s no longer enough to be customer-centric. We want experiences— a positive customer experience. That goes beyond personalization. 

In this time of massive upheaval and uncertainty, we’re looking for easy. Things that simplify our lives. People want easier, healthier, safer, more rewarding, and help us get things done. 

While we’re happy with our experiences in some areas, we continue to feel neglected and frustrated in others.

Follow the trend that’s working

We don’t need to reinvent or recreate the wheel in our marketing. Just look at what’s already earning companies like Amazon and Sophora millions.

These companies and many more are investing and involving more AI and analytic data to improve the customer experience. Amazon has been a leader in this. 

When you look for something, Amazon includes what other people who searched for the same item also considered. They show you what people who bought this item also purchased.  Subtle, helpful, and boosting the value of your order with add-ons. 

Sephora hasn’t become the worlds leading specialty beauty retailer by accident.  They started incorporating AI in the early 2000s.  Using various tech tools, they personalize everything from their choices for you to their 1:1 loyalty rewards.

The long-term goal for Sephora is to continue to enhance the virtual and in-store customer experiences. Not only will they help you shop virtually, but you can also try the makeup on virtually. 

Nike has innovated, so you can now design your own sneaker. They have a 3D platform that allows you to create a sneaker that fits perfectly and matches your unique style. Fans love the option.  

They also love the experience in the personalized NikePlus loyalty program. Fans get personalized benefits, product recommendations, and the ability to check and see if their favorite styles, colors, and sizes are available.    

The clock is ticking.

Customers used to make buying decisions based on loyalty or price. Those things are changing. More and more make those decisions based on the experience you offer them.  

In a recent survey by SuperOffice, they asked 1920 business professionals what their number one business priority is for the next five years.  By a distinct margin over product or product, customer experience came in at 45.9%.

Thought leaders say businesses who have unsatisfactory experiences are headed for trouble. They will start to see their client base erode if they don’t make the technical changes to improve it.

What you need to keep in mind

The level of stress doesn’t look to be dropping anytime soon.  Stressed shoppers are less friction tolerant.  If your buying experience is complicated, if your customer support is lackluster—you have challenges to solve.  

More than ever before, buyers don’t want transactions that are company sales-centric. It makes them feel like you’re just after their money.

Now I know you need their purchases to run your business, but the experience shouldn’t feel that way.  Feelings are pure emotion. You want to keep those feelings positive if you want to earn their trust, purchases, and loyalty.

Three ways to enhance customer experience

Companies with the most significant growth and success embrace the customer experience from the top down.  Everyone on the team needs to understand and have the power to improve it. For some businesses, it may be outside-the-box thinking. It may involve more work and initial expense. But if you look at the potential future revenues, it’s well worth the effort.

Think from the customer point of view

Start by thinking from the customer’s point of view.  Sometimes we are so close to the process that we can’t see the problems an outsider sees.  

Ask your customers, “what could we do better?”  “How could we make shopping easier?” In essence, how can you help them?  

If you have a customer service team, ask them.  The marketing and management teams need to know what customer service is hearing.  What the customers need and want that they aren’t getting.  

Customers’ questions and their problems provide the answers to improving your sales.   

Enhance customer service

Lousy customer service is a pet peeve of mine when I’m shopping online or in-person.  I understand company limitations but I also handle customer service for one of my clients. I get the challenges, but I know the value. I’ve gotten those evening and weekend calls where I’ve rescued a customer and solved their issue.

We recently went to Best Buy to find a laptop.  The store was busy. The staff was few and far between.  We found something suitable, but without the ability to get questions answered, they lost the sale.  

When we checked out, we mentioned the lack of staff to our checker. His reply, Best Buy just let another 500 people go. Team members are going to be in short supply for the foreseeable future.  In the end, Best Buy will lose its status as a provider of excellent customer care, and they will lose money.

Both brick and mortar and eCommerce businesses need to step up their customer service.  With all the options out there, companies need to find a way to expand the routes and time frame where people can get help.  

Look for ways to provide support beyond a few business hours.  Many times companies on the east and west coast ignore the three-hour time difference.  So if I’m on the west coast, I’d better not need anything after 2 PM local time.  

Expand your FAQ. Add an AI help option. Outsource or give someone a part-time job, so you are more accessible.  Make sure your website is easily searchable so I can find what I need. If your competition is more available, it will cost you money.

Analytics and AI

The most successful businesses are making use of technology to track shopping patterns and offer recommendations.  Per 2020 research by Gartner, we conduct about 85% of all purchases without assistance.  

That means there is a significant 15% opportunity to increase revenues by helping shoppers solve those issues.

Companies have many new ways to allow their customer support team to automate repetitive or straightforward tasks using artificial intelligence. Automation enables them to reduce costs and empower shoppers to solve their issues. Learn about your options and employ them. 

It is essential to do this in a transparent way to maintain trust and credibility.

Chatbots or voice-enabled chatbots are a top choice for businesses. Their effectiveness ties directly to the quality and comprehensiveness of the dialogue provided to the bot.

My final tip is to make sure your system works on all channels across all types of devices. More and more people are switching back and forth from phones to tablets to laptops and computers. Your system needs to deliver in all.


Looking to increase lifetime buyer value, build sales, and more engagement? Let’s have a quick chat. You can message me: Judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.

Juggling B2B and B2C

Are your B2B and B2C messages confusing your viewers?

Many companies are marketing both to wholesale and consumer customers. In reality, for marketing, B2B and B2C are unique businesses.  Trying to mix them on a single website can send the wrong message and cost you money.

You can do anything if you keep it simple.

Someone told me that once at a trade show. That fellow was right. For years, I had a beauty boutique that had so many divisions it was a marketing nightmare.  

I started with skincare—esthetics.  The boutique I was renting space in was struggling, and I was thriving. I offered to Help. I could pick up a couple of lines of women’s tops if she wanted her choices augmented.  She did. I did, and I did well. Too well.  

Out of what must have been jealousy, she told me to move out.

The only space I could find that was in a decent location was bigger than I wanted. So I expanded and brought in hairstylists, manicurists, more cosmetics, and more retail.

It was fun for a while, but each division felt I wasn’t marketing them enough. We’re talking pre-internet. The options were all expensive—television, print, radio. I was working to pay the overhead of having them.

After considering possibilities, I offered classes. The overhead was low with a high return.  First, I provided teen confidence building. Later I taught for the community college.

It meant I was a workaholic, but I did well. When I sold that business, I vowed not to repeat the experience.

I share so others can learn.

With over 30 years as an entrepreneur, I’ve had successes. I’ve also made a lot of mistakes, like the one in that short story.  Whenever I can, I try to help other business owners avoid the same mistakes.  

Today the markets are much busier and more competitive. However, the internet has leveled the playing field for marketing.  

Every business can have a webpage and take advantage of social media.  They have the opportunity to thrive…if they do it right.

A B2B and B2C secret to keep in mind.

Don’t confuse the buyer.  Create separate platforms for wholesale B2B customers from your B2C consumers. 

You’re segmenting your audience by interest.  Raw ingredient buyers have different needs and interests than retailers who might want to carry your product.  

If you are looking for investors plus selling products, those are very different interests and needs. Segmentation will get the right person the right message.

Segmenting B2B and B2C maximizes marketing ROI.

Keep messages clear. Use one brand name as your overarching site. On this site, you can share your mission, goals, etc. 

On the home page, have generous sized side by side graphics clearly labeled with the category name: ingredients, retailers, consumers. Have them clickable to take the viewer to the appropriate sub-website or different websites. You want to create clear, simple messages and access.

B2C site focuses on consumers.

Get customer-centric to create a great positive experience to draw them back again.  Eliminate stumbling blocks or friction.

Customers are looking for a product and more.  They want the information to see that it solves their problem. They are looking for a company they feel safe with and can trust. Transparency, your guarantee, excellent customer support, and easy navigation all play essential roles.

To maximize your ROI, focus on providing your staff with everything they need to help the customer. Answers to FAQs are super valuable to this team. Empowerment to solve problems is equally so. 

Many businesses are trying to run with minimal staff to keep their overhead down.  The catch-point comes with reduced customer-care and customer-service.  Weak customer support is not something any company can afford. 

A fantastic customer experience is essential and a key determiner in whether this will be a one-time sale or a long-term precious loyal buyer.

You could have a tab on the B2C website for resellers. 

Resellers need access to the consumer information to help them sell your product.  Put a gateway in place. Have resellers fill out a form and get accepted to access wholesale pricing and distribution information. 

In their private area, be sure to include the benefits of buying from you. You are dealing with a person who is making a significant financial commitment to take on your brand. It requires faith and trust in you and your company.  

Resellers need information that will make them comfortable both buying and selling your product. They need to feel you have their back and are there in case they have questions or concerns. 

B2B Investors 

Investors have their own unique needs and need a completely different sales approach.  

As a consumer, if I see you’re looking for investors on my retail site, it sends up a yellow flag.  It creates questions about your stability and reliability. 

The best solution is to create a separate landing page and market to investors uniquely.  Join forums in your niche where businesses and investors hang out and share information and opportunities.  

Check out opportunities on sites like startupinvesting.com, askforfunding.com, or angelinvestmentnetwork.us. I did a Google search on how to find an investor. I came up with 408 million hits. 

It may seem like a no-brainer to put the opportunity on your website. Carefully consider the message you are sending to other readers. 

B2B Raw Materials

Like investors, raw materials need to be segmented. They need a different level of information focused on features and specifications. They also like the benefits of the ingredient as it simplifies their marketing of the finished formula. 

While the focus is information, you can’t ignore emotion. You are selling to a human being, and he/she puts their job on the line every time they make a purchase.  You will need to sell them on the benefits of buying from you.  

Quality assurance, how the product is grown, testing done, handling each step of your process needs to be explained and validated.

In my work with clients

It’s been my experience that with clients with a mix of B2B and B2C customers, content is very much king.  

This mix needs well-created content. It should include articles, information, case studies and testimonials, videos, FAQs, and more. Once created, it can be tweaked and customized for each segment’s use.

If you need a quick evaluation of your customer mix and methodology, schedule a call or message me. www.jculpcreativecopy.com

Empathy Marketing – 3 Steps to Engage

We need the buyer’s “why”

In today’s world, it is important for your brand’s success to engage customers with empathy marketing. You need to employ empathy and communicate your understanding and caring about your customers, your staff, and your planet.  

It’s what today’s buyers want and are increasingly coming to expect from those they do business with. Yes, back to the pillars of wellness – personal, social, and global. 

Initially driven by millennials, it’s being embraced cross-generational.  Less transactional, more emotional connections. It puts what the customer values over business sales.  

Route.com said it well… “What empathetic marketing should always boil down to is that tried-and-true Golden Rule. Treat others how you want to be treated.” 

Business Empathy in 2020

I’ve seen some great examples of this in action this year from a broad range of businesses.  

Major companies

In May, Twitter announced all employees would be allowed to work at home permanently if that was their preference.  

They had been moving toward more remote work for some time and testing it.  Now, if staff need or want to go in, they can… pandemic restrictions allowing.  If they prefer to work remotely, there is no discrimination, no pay cuts, no commute.

The benefits? Staff morale boosted, and equal or better productivity.  A demonstration of taking care of people.

Verizon and Fios gave customers free data so they could stay in touch with those they couldn’t physically connect with. They also provided 60 days of free resources to help parents and students with at-home learning. Demonstrating customers and staff before sales.

Statewide businesses jumped in

In Oregon, there are hundreds of boutique businesses in the hemp, beer, and distillation niches. They diverted resources to make hand-sanitizers. It kept staff working, even if the products were donated to those who needed them the most.

Larger companies, like Intel, provided medical workers with PPE and joined with others to accelerate research for treatment and cures.

Then on top of the coronavirus, Oregon was hit with the worst wildfires in the state history. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes. Some rural cities were totally wiped out. It will take years to deal with the aftermath.

Even small businesses stepped up to help out.

One very small mom and pop Chinese restaurant here in Eugene put a post on Facebook on September 10th. 

“Donating food to fire relief camps for the rest of the week. We will be closed. Thanks for your patience. 🙏🏽🙏🏽

“Thanks for your support,

“Twin Dragon”

They denied themselves income to give their resources to others. Other restaurants and caterers joined them to make sure the firefighters and relief camps had food and water.  

Local people raided their personal stores of food, clothing, pet needs, and every other medical and household item you can imagine to donate them to relief centers. 

It’s been a year of helping others as I’ve never seen before.

As a customer and marketer…I know it’s about the buyer’s problems

While everything has shifted online, not all businesses have adapted.  I’ve seen businesses struggle because they weren’t mentally or technologically prepared.  As a marketer, the solutions are clear. To thrive, businesses need a digital presence. They also need empathy marketing.  

The changes we have experienced aren’t going to go away anytime soon. People aren’t going to give up the convenience of online shopping. However, they also want more.

You need more than demographics, you need psychographics. I find they help me dig deeper and find the aspects of emotions and empathy best suited to prospects.

Brands need to embrace empathy marketing 

It’s not enough to have an e-commerce site. With all the shysters and scammers out there, buyers are becoming more discriminating.  

They are looking for things to improve their life. They want transparency to know your brand can be trusted. And they want to know how you are helping other people and the planet.  

Embrace all techniques of empathy for engaged and loyal customers.

Three steps for empathy marketing

There are three key techniques you can use for empathy marketing.  Start by “walking in their shoes.”  Discover their emotions: problems, pains, views, beliefs, values.  Then craft your communications with transparency and openness.

Be Them

It’s critical to do more than try to think like your target customer. You need to be them, assume their perspective without judgment.  Understand their emotions and motivations.  What makes them buy? Also, discover the things that make them resist.  

How are they feeling now and how do they want to feel? What do they want to be different and how can you make their life better?  Do they recognize their problem or that a solution exists? 

These things together will guide you in where you need to start their journey and the steps you need to include.

By knowing their views and beliefs you can smooth out your buying pathway so they don’t get derailed.

You want to connect with them on shared social and planet-friendly values.

Take salsa. There are lots of choices out there and we all have taste preferences.  My go-to brand donates all the profits to charities. That made my buying decision easy.

Emotions

This where we need psychographics. We also have to recognize how men and women buy differently. Men are more transactional by nature. Women are more emotion-driven in their buying decisions.

Women influence 85% of all consumer buying decisions. That makes them an obvious choice to nurture. It’s important to value them and tap into the emotions – and empathy that will make them loyal customers.  

Deadlines like a limited time offer can trigger a buy. Grocery stores use this all the time with their in-store announcement of a special price for the next 10 minutes. Limited quantities are equally powerful.  We don’t want to miss out and we love to feel we got bonus value.

Benevolence or altruism are also female buying stimuli. They may feel they are better off and want to help others. Or it may be part of their social values. Humanity and giving back.

Belonging is important to both men and women. We like being part of something, a tribe, a team of like-minded people. 

There is also “empathy-response.”  When people get positive feedback from giving or doing something it creates an empathy response. 

In buying the perfect gift, women share the recipient’s joy emotionally. When her daughter squeals for joy over her birthday gift, she gets a surge of endorphins, the feel-good hormone. She gets the same feel-good hormone for problem-solving.

Men get the empathy response when they do something successfully, or the female in his life is pleased with him, or when their team quarterback scores a touchdown.

Communications

Once you have this information you can use it to craft your messages with transparency and openness to build trust in your relationship and brand.  You want to make them feel heard and acknowledged.

Once women make the emotional decision, they need you to provide logical information to back it up. This validates their decision. Science, facts, and social proof. Sharing other’s success stories from problem to solution and how they have improved their life is powerful.  

Use caution with success stories so they don’t come across in a pushy or sales-focused way. They need to stand on their own merits as validation of problem and solution.  What their life was like before and what it is now. Share what they had tried that didn’t work, their failures. How they found your solution and their experiences on the journey to a better quality of life. 

When I work with clients…

I start by learning what they are currently doing and what isn’t working. Then, taking another look at their target, I dive deeper to find a different way to connect and engage with emotions and empathy marketing.  Need help? Reach out to me. judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.

How to Quickly Increase Sales by Engaging Women Buyers

Women buyers are magic to drive sales. Nearly 75% identify themselves as the primary buyer in their household. They hold the purse-strings to between 5 and 15 Trillion dollars in spending every year…and that’s just in the US. 

And yet, 91% of them feel marketers and companies, don’t understand their needs. That’s a big gap.

Women are more than female buyers

We, women, are nurturers, caregivers, and influencers. 

We’re the steering wheel of our families as we navigate life. We’ve been raised to multi-task and think we have to be “Wonder Woman,” excelling at all things.

It’s tough.

However, it’s also rewarding. We thrive on those feel-good hormones that we get when we make someone happy.  

Take Christmas or your favorite gift-giving time.  

We don’t want to just give a gift. We want it to be the perfect gift. Something that will make the recipient give us a radiant smile of joy.  

Women buyers are not so different from marketers. 

We have to really know the recipient. Their likes, tastes, beliefs, hobbies, hopes, and dreams.

Some people, like my elderly Mom, are easy.  She always tells me if there is something she needs. She doesn’t shop online much and of course this year she hasn’t been anywhere except to doctor appointments.

My grown son and his wife are another matter. Generally, if they want something… they just buy it.  

So like any good marketer, we have to do detective work. Things like interviewing people and watching social media.  

In the case of my kids, I use a more direct approach.  I use messenger and reach out to their spouse.  

Sometimes they have to think about it.  Take the message I got back from my son…

“I thought of something. She’s been after me for a couple of years to get her some good kitchen tools. You know, those skinny scraper things that take the heat and you can use in cooking.

“Oh, and she’d like a good pair of tweezers.”

Nothing fancy, but I knew I’d do a “better” job at locating what would be perfect for her.

Working with women has been my career

In the spa/beauty/wellness niche, I’ve spent over 25 years working with and marketing to women.  I knew if there was something her husband or one of the kids needed that we offered, she would be the one to bring them in.

Services, marketing, teaching, writing, coaching and mentoring. I still coach and mentor them in business.

Studying the different female buying personalities and psychographics helped me hone in to help them better.

One secret a marketer often misses… 

Women tend to buy differently than men do.  Most men don’t enjoy the shopping process. They need something and will often take the first acceptable item just to get it done.

For most women, that isn’t enough.  As I shared above, they want the ideal gift.  They are the same way with personal products, services, or results. 

They are willing to take the time and dig to find it…shop.

3-techniques to enhance results

Women are super-stressed multitaskers. Every step of the way we need to keep it easy.

We need to address buying pain-points.  Things that stop the sale.  

Then we need to use psychographics and segment marketing by need or concern.  And we need to nurture, before, during, and after the sale.

Pain-points for women buyers

Start with where and how they find you. Look for ways to smooth out their buying journey. Busy and distracted, we need all the TLC we can get.

  • Does social media identify concerns? Hint at solutions? Or pitch products?
  • How do they take the next step?  
  • Is there a way to reach you quickly to get a question answered?  
  • How easy Is your website to navigate?
  • Is it easy to skim-read?
  • Does it answer questions she hasn’t thought of yet?  
  • Is there plenty of social proof and the logic to support it?
  • Is it friendly on a phone, tablet, and computer?
  • Do you use cookies to stay in front of them even if they leave the site?

Psychographics guide segmenting

Focus on her needs, concerns interests, and passions. 

Women respond to email marketing at a higher rate than men do.  The numbers are highest when they are segmented so she gets relevant information. 

Make sure she knows this in the subject line to get her to open the email.  

Due to the pandemic and businesses focused online, it’s easy to get an extra 50-100 emails a day. Getting rid of non-relevant emails becomes a priority. Delete is my favorite key 🙂

Try a psychographic approach to social media.  Try less sales pitch, more emotion-driven problem-solving. 

Amazon and others have gotten very effective of the “if you like this, then you might like this” approach. It works well because it is targeted and it expands the shopper’s options that they haven’t considered.  

Women like targeted offers and related choices. 

While we like a good sale, what we are really looking for is the ideal item at a great value. 

We also love bonuses and rewards.

Nurture

The nature of nurturing adds value to your brand. 

Focus on psychographic interests that give more information or related information.  I’ve seen multiple companies in alternative health from supplements to CBD doing this.  

One of the popular nurtures is to share recipes that support or incorporate a product offered.  Simple things that answer how to use a product, offer better wellness or add nutrition for picky eaters.

With all their stress, women are looking to improve their quality of life.  Your solutions and nurturing can offer that. It also bonds them to your brand. Invite them to be part of your tribe and support them in their journey.

When I work with clients I look for ways to enhance their engagement with women. Powerhouse buyers with a broad network of influence. Message me judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.

For more on psychographics you might enjoy this read.