CHICAGO — When every piece counts, dry cleaners who decide that marketing is a “luxury” might be in for a rude awakening. The old methods of “one size fits all” marketing, however, are long gone. Instead of casting a wide marketing net and hoping for the best, modern tools allow cleaners to reach out to individual clients, giving the best returns for a marketing spend.
In Part 1, we examined why cleaners should look at marketing at an investment rather than an expense, and today we'll look at how to make that investment count.
Connecting with the Customer
The heart of effective marketing is to keep the needs of the client in mind, says Dave Coyle, team leader of Maverick Drycleaners, an online group focused on marketing and advertising ideas and concerns of cleaners. While this might sound obvious, it’s a factor that eludes the owners of many companies.
“Most businesses talk about themselves way too much,” he says. “They go on and on about how great the service and quality is. The operators fall in love with their own company, their services, their equipment, and their processes. This is completely the wrong approach. They should be falling in love with their clients and constantly be asking how they can provide the very best outcome for them. This is what puts them in the position of a trusted adviser.”
Part of this bond comes from simply connecting with clients the way they prefer.
“Customers are expecting to be more and more individually targeted,” says Diana Vollmer, managing director for Ascend Consulting Group, “so it seems like the marketer is talking to just them. The way this can be accomplished is by keeping lots of information and data in the system. For example, if you know the last time they had their rug cleaned, they can get a notice that says, ‘Your rug was last cleaned on Oct. 17, and it’s time to do it again.’”
Vollmer believes that no one wants to be part of a faceless crowd, and modern marketing allows cleaners to forge personal relationships with their customer base.
“Point of sale systems can provide an analysis based on their data, and cleaners who don’t know how to do this should get with their POS provider to get over that hurdle,” Vollmer says.
She also points out that third-party companies can provide customer profiles to help dry cleaners narrow down their focus. With this information, they can provide their customers with what they need, when they need it — and cleaners shouldn’t be shy about asking their marketing company for this service.
“If they ask their marketer about profiling and they get a blank stare, they have the wrong marketer,” Vollmer says. “It’s a very common, everyday practice in marketing circles now.”
This capability to granularly sift data to target individual clients is a game-changer in the marketing field, and one that dry cleaners have the full power to take advantage of in their promotional efforts.
“Having the ability to talk to the clients one on one — and have them believe that they’re being spoken with as individuals, as opposed to mass marketing — is really the direction it’s going,” Vollmer says. “It’s a very customer-specific focus.”
Come back Thursday for the conclusion of this series, where we’ll see how to connect with customers via social media — including which platforms to use for best effect. For Part 1 of this series, click HERE.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected] .