Surely the #1 Rule of Successful Marketing has to be…

Listening to your Customers. Closely. So closely, in fact, that you’re almost touching them. And not just listening but reading what they’re saying about you on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Then, as you listen and read, to act on the feedback to provide customers with products and services that match their expectations. Or even better, that EXCEED their expectations. And to nurture relationships with these valuable existing customers who aren’t simply buying your products or services and therefore making you money, but who will – hopefully – act as free ambassadors for your products and services on social media. This, in turn, will attract new customers who will do the same… and so on.

To me, listening to your customers is one of THE most important rules of successful marketing. So when companies obviously aren’t listening to their customers (as is the case with a company that my son does a lot of business with) and are ploughing on regardless, upsetting long-standing customers, ignoring their demands and putting up prices in a bid to increase profits – and then wondering why the heck those profits are going down instead of up, it has me banging my hands against my forehead in frustration.

In my opinion, and from over 25 years of working in advertising and marketing, and especially direct marketing which – as the name suggests – interacts more DIRECTLY with the customer, putting up prices doesn’t necessarily result in increased profits.

Nor does brainstorming endlessly to fine-tune a company’s ‘mission’, ‘vision’, ‘values’, ‘goals’, ‘aims’, ‘ethos’ and ‘culture’.

(Yuck.)

However, simply and unpretentiously listening to your loyal customers, keeping them happy and giving them what they want in terms of products AND service does increase profits.

To coin a phrase I loathe, it’s a no-brainer.

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