Leveraging the power of citizen engagement to dramatically improve customer service, agency focus and cost efficiency.
April 25, 2010 at 4:35 pm #98689
Conversion: “In marketing, a conversion occurs when a prospective customer takes the marketer’s intended action. If the prospect has visited a marketer’s web site, the conversion action might be making an online purchase, or submitting a form to request additional information. The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take the conversion action.” – Wikipedia
Not all ‘customers’ are created equal. They range along a spectrum of awareness, quality of their knowledge, affinity, demand, and use of your products or services. They are always in a state of motion along these scales – depending on the evolution of your products and services, the evolution of their needs or wants, the effectiveness of your communications program, etc.
What is the correct mix for each of your target markets is something you need to figure out based on your strategic objectives and available tools and budget, but it is generally assumed in my post here that agency’s want their customers to be closer to the right of the following scale than the left.
In very general terms, we can bucket our customer universe into five categories: everyone, prospects, customers, lost customers, champions. Most people would agree that it is better to have customers and champions than lost customers or people who have no knowledge or experience with your products and services. Our conversion strategy is the strategy we will use to “convert” qualified people from wherever they are on our scales above into customers and champions. It’s that simple.
What do we mean by Conversion Strategy?
Moving people in the Department of Defense along the continuum from no awareness to Champions
- We are creating demand
- We are creating awareness
- We are guiding people through the prospect and customer stages to become champions
- We are hunting for personality archetypes (this is sort of like train the trainer or “franchising.” We’re looking for others who appreciate our message and are willing to carry them into their own organizations)
- We are acting in concert and showing one face to the public
The Big Buckets
The Everyone Group: Just what it sounds like
- We reach this group when we fire blindly into the ether (i.e. writing a general “we are great” article and publishing it in whatever venue is easiest to publish in)
- Organizations will sometimes rain a mass amount of information into a crowd of people and hope that it affects some people positively.
- It is the least effective use of our resources
- It produces the most confusing feedback and often costs more to maintain
- We should spend about 10% of our resources on this group
The Prospects Group: These people have been alerted and are curious
- They are either “qualified” (can take action) or “unqualified” (can not take action)
- They often present as “tire kickers” – people who are curious about what we do
- These may be handled by automated methods, screened until qualified, then get more focused attention
- We should spend about 30% or our resources on this group
The Customer Group: These people are Gold!
- A recruiting ground for champions
- They have used our products to achieve goals in their own organizations
- They are a great source for focused and relevant feedback and quality improvements
- We have already invested heavily in them (conversion carries a cost)
- They are frequently neglected (some might mistakenly believe that since they’ve already been converted, we no longer have to pay attention)
- We want return customers and champions
- Great source for testimonials. Ask!
- We should spend about 60% of our resources here
The Lost Customers Group: Caution!
- It is inevitable that you will lose customers. Either through and act on your part (eg. being unresponsive, changing your products or services, not communicating, not meeting ongoing or evolving communications) or an act on their part (they moved on, their problem was solved, they were “hijacked” by another service provider, etc)
- This group has already absorbed a large amount of an organization’s resources to “convert” them to customers in the first place.
- Losing customers not only tosses the investment already made, but often undermines new investments in other areas. Lost customers talk and bad news is usually repeated (free of charge) nine times.
- Having a strategy for dealing with this group should not be undervalued
The Champions Group: Congratulations! You’ve got fans!
- You’ve made a big investment in this group of people. Don’t forget to capitalize on your investment!
- This group will likely do the work of conversion for you. Make sure that they understand your strategy and methods. The more they know, the more effective they will be for you as Champions
- Listen to these people carefully and make sure they are evolving with your organization. It is not a long way from Champion to Lost Customer (or worse). Disenfranchise these people at your own risk. Your biggest mouthpiece for your organization could become your most formidable mouthpiece against your organization.
Having a system for executing your conversion strategy is necessary for many organizations because resources are limited. Organizations can not possibly reach everyone and they should not try. Focused application of resources, and judicious use of automation to help with things like prospect qualification is critical.
Use Appropriate Channels
- Blogs (ours and others)
- The press
- Newsletters (our and others)
- Web sites (our and others)
- Direct mail
- Word of mouth (viral marketing)
- Work together to drive markets in accordance with our strategy
- Incorporate hand offs that are orchestrated ahead of time
- Be customized for each target audience (the subject of another Blog post)
- Be measurable (killing effective ones and beefing up effective ones) (the subject of another blog post)
- Be flexible
- Be tested
April 25, 2010 at 5:45 pm #98693
I love this…Especially thinking through as a government agency – how do citizens fit in those conversion buckets.
April 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm #98691
It would be awesome to see this model applied to a specific case study in government – do you have any examples based on your experience with DoD BTA?
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