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Posts Tagged ‘free marketing’

Good Service Makes All The Difference

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

How many times have you come off a phone call, left a shop, or finished reading an email, and thought ‘Wow! What great customer service!’?

Not many, I’d guess.

Real noteworthy service has unfortunately become the exception rather than the norm. That’s why it can make all the difference in highly competitive markets. In fact, the U.S Chamber of Commerce estimates that 68% of customers who leave a company do so because they feel undervalued.

Clearly, the way you treat your customers has a huge bearing on the loyalty they show to your business in the long term.

Sadly, many companies forget this, especially during difficult economic times. When faced with a recession, businesses tend to prioritise sales over customer service, regarding their sales department as the arm of the business that brings in revenue, while customer service is seen as non-profit making, and therefore expendable.

The problem with this approach is that it ignores the vital role that customer service plays in generating continued consumer loyalty, and, as a result, revenue.

Concentrating on sales may bring in more revenue in the short term, but if you lack the resources to service these new customers correctly, they probably won’t stay with you for very long. Furthermore, existing customers may feel undervalued and subsequently move to your competitors, forcing you to put even more costs and resources into customer acquisition to replace them.

Business research company Gartner estimates that it’s around five times as expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one, so it makes clear financial sense to concentrate your efforts on keeping the customers you already have. Happy customers also provide an invaluable asset in promoting your business through word of mouth, helping you increase revenue without increasing your acquisition costs.

Retaining customers does not have to be an expensive process, and there are several simple methods you can employ to keep customers happy and generate long-term loyalty.

Firstly, don’t make claims about your product that you can’t back up. You will only serve to heighten expectations to a level that you cannot service, resulting in your customers feeling frustrated and disillusioned. Investing in the resources to ensure complaints or questions are quickly resolved is also hugely important. The longer it takes you to answer a customer’s query, the longer you give them to find an alternate company to do business with.

Simple acts like sending your existing customers rewards or incentives to shop with you again is a great way of generating sales and increasing loyalty. This can be done through regular email communication, creating another touch-point with your customers. Asking for feedback is also a great way to show your customers that their opinions matter to your business, and that you’re listening to their concerns. It also allows you to see your business through their eyes, so you can examine where your company is meeting expectations, and where it has potential to grow in the future.

First published in The Argus, 09/10/10

Hometown Heroes – Brighton’s ‘The Argus’ profiles Rocket

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

As published in The Argus, Tuesday, February 23rd , 2010

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The Rocket Marketing Group’s outlook for 2010

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

As published in The Argus, Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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Why consumer incentives and brand coalition are increasingly essential sales promotion techniques for any brand

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

The Wise Marketer recently reported the rise in coalition marketing as a sales promotion technique. Sales promotion has become more prominent in the last year in a blanket effort to get people  to spend their money less cautiously. It has become important to reward consumers for their loyalty so that they continue to spend money at a time when people are trying to cut back. Encouraging reluctant consumers to spend money continues to be the number one priority for brands at the moment and sales promotion is a proven way to do this. We are at the point where now it is an essential tool to remain competitive, particularly on price.

Sales promotion through consumer incentives and brand coalition is not a new or reactionary concept dreamt up as a recession solution. This has long been the bread and butter of companies such as The Rocket Marketing Group who put companies together in loyalty and membership programmes/ discount clubs and create rewards for staff or consumer incentives. The lure of big brands working together can be a powerful solution for potential rewards and an attractive consumer incentive whatever the state of the economy. All the current climate has done is to highlight the importance of sales promotion to consumers, making it now essential for all brands.

The ideas of brand coalition are the principles that loyalty and rewards programmes or discount clubs and consumer incentive rewards were built on. With loyalty and membership programmes/ discount clubs a member joins a club and then becomes eligible to redeem discounts at various retailers. The joint venture of big and small brands work to validate each other and produce a community of customer centric brands that members become loyal to because they can rely on them to understand their needs/ interests. These loyalty and membership programmes or discount clubs can be categorised to target certain markets such as entertainment, home & garden or white-labelled to match particular brands who want to sell the clubs as non-core products and earn incremental revenue.

The idea of high profile sales promotion has now become an integral part of the consumer shopping experience, so it likely to continue in some guise or other even as the economy improves.

Contact Us to discuss the possibilities of developing consumer incentives and brand coalition solutions through loyalty and membership programmes or discount club for your brand.

Are vouchers and discount clubs now established as currency on the high street and online?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Over the last few years the rise in the use of sales promotion in the form of vouchers and discount clubs, has led to a culture of consumers not leaving the home for a meal/ day trip without one. Because the vouchers and discount codes accompany so much cash into the tills, it is as if the voucher has become a form of legal tender.

In order to compete for customer retention is it therefore essential that retailers now adopt sales promotion techniques and trade/deal with vouchers plus exclusive discounts, even in the run up to Christmas?

Companies use sales promotion by offering discounts, and accept them against payment for a number of products and services. The rise in the voucher is not only specific to the people who you would traditionally associate with bargain hunting, but most people now have used a discount in some form or other. Nielsen online reported that 9.8 million Britons used a coupon or reward site in 2008. In 2008 coupon and reward websites were the second fastest growing UK online sector according to YouGov. And most tellingly of all, 48% of shoppers were more likely to use retailers who offered voucher codes (Nov 2008).

Consumers are now programmed to look for discounts, if one shop isn’t offering a discount then the next one will be, so it is therefore not surprising that retailers are using sales promotion tactics by offering vouchers or exclusive discounts to members of loyalty and membership programmes or discount clubs. By doing this retailers are not only bolstering their presence on the high street but encouraging increased redemption online as well. And as internet shopping becomes the norm for many people, it’s increasingly important for retailers to establish their brand online – where it is even more important to be competitively priced, as other retailers are only one click away.

Contact Us if you are interested sales promotion for your business. We can discuss rewards for your consumers or an exclusive discount to offer members of a loyalty and membership programme or discount club.

Ashley Faull joins The Rocket Marketing Group board of directors

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

ashley faull Ashley Faull joins Andy Huggins and Alan Saunders on the board of The Rocket Marketing Group. The Rocket Marketing Group has enjoyed substantial growth this year, currently employing over 40 members of staff. In the last 6 months Rocket has expanded its product portfolio to 7 great products including The Big Savings Club, The Entertainment Club and the 241 Hotel Club.

As a non-executive board member Ashley’s experience in growing businesses and his media and consumer knowledge will be a key part of this expansion. Ashley comes to Rocket having launched and worked on over 14 TV channels during his career with companies including The Discovery Channel, Telewest and ON Digital. Other business achievements include winning the Broadcast Magazine inaugural ‘Individual Achievement’ award and co-founding the sit-up channels (bid tv and price-drop tv), which won many accolades. The sit-up business was sold to Virgin Media for £194 million in 2005.

Ashley comments: “I have known Rocket and its Directors for several years and believe them to be the very best operators in their field. The company has a very exciting future and I am delighted to have become a shareholder and Director to help guide them through the next stage of their journey.”

Contact Us if you would like to work with Rocket on loyalty solutions for your business.

Internet ad spend overtakes TV – what other competitors are there to this traditionally expensive media?

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

In the first half of 2009 the entire ad spend in the UK shrunk by 16.6% but online advertising accounted for 23.5% off this – a growth of 4.6%, according to a study by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) – the trade body for digital marketing – in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the World Advertising Research Centre (WARC). These statistics not only point towards the change in spending but they are very telling of the reasons why. Maybe this isn’t just a recession solution, might it be signalling a permanent change in the way marketers approach their marketing strategies? So if traditional medias such as TV are shrinking what are the other options in an ad saturated world?

Loyalty and membership programmes or discount clubs

Sales promotion is very appropriate at the moment as more and more people look for the best deal, whatever they buy. This is for a number of reasons – the most obvious being the recession but the rise in internet comparison sites and the culture of having access to a number of business websites, cannot be ignored. For businesses selling a product or service offering a discount or freebie is a great recession solution, but needs to be done in a controlled manner. Just releasing an offer onto the internet can lead to over-redemption and subsequently the devaluation of your brand.

By offering an exclusive offer through a loyalty and membership programme or discount club operated by a third party agency, you get free marketing to a new and often very large customer base. Your exclusive discount can be used by the members of the loyalty and membership programme or discount club and can successfully lead to a mutually beneficial brand loyalty. This is often a free marketing option and fully operated by the third party agency, in return for the exclusive discount. Whilst the coverage is not as wide spread as TV advertising the targeted nature (to people who seek discounts) can mean that a brand affiliation is more likely.

Online

As outlined above, this media seems to be enjoying the biggest growth in recent months and this isn’t necessarily just as a recession solution. The internet has become an intrinsic part of people’s lives whether they are using it for work or social purposes. The scope for reaching millions of people worldwide is immense. Marketers are finding that even when money is spent on online advertising it is considerably less than some other medias and its success can easily be tracked making it easy for you to justify the initial outlay. Paid for online media include banner ads, rich media ads and PPC, by paying for them they have the gravitas of looking like they are from a professional company, they are more likely to look like a trusted site.

Free marketing options include blogging – these can be targeted to certain interest groups or run from your own website, allowing consumers to know the identity of your brand, expose the expertise you can offer them and show an understanding of current issues. Social media sites such as Stumble Upon, Facebook and Twitter are a modern form of word of mouth advertising and should be taken seriously. Recommendations form such an important element in our brand choices as they give a personal validation and a real account of what a business offers. Getting people talking about your brand has always been important but now there is a platform for people to shout their opinions from, on a worldwide scale.

Press Releases

This is a good form of free marketing but will probably never replace the traditional advertising campaign, though it should always be run along side an advertising campaign to optimise brand visibility. This is also a good option for creating awareness as a recession solution when there is no advertising budget. It can also be a less intrusive and more transparent way of talking to consumers that are now very media savvy. Press releases can be released to local and national papers and magazines and can be particularly effective when released to specialist publications linked to the products service that you offer; you also have a more targeted captive audience. The rise in the amount of people consuming their news online has also opened up the floodgates for releasing press releases online. There are sites that you can pay to distribute your press release to the relevant sites such as prweb.com but there’s also an abundance of sites that are looking for content and will publish them for free; again these are usually focused on specific specialist areas so your audience should be interested in what you have to say.

Direct Mail

This is one of the oldest adversaries of traditional above the line advertising. Apart from being a cheaper option it also boasts many other attributes including the ability to personalise and target specialist audiences. It can also can carry a specific campaign message and build brand visibility and recognition. Slightly larger budgets allow companies to send samples etc. and can make the message an experiential communication which instantly gives the consumer an emotional tie to the brand. Talking to people in their own homes can be a double edged sword though, whilst it talks to consumers in their own environment they can feel intruded upon and it can be ignored and written off as ‘junk mail’.

If you are interest in sales promotion through a loyalty and membership programme or discount club as a free marketing option, please Contact Us on 0845 241 2135

Why our partners are essential to success

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Here at Rocket we work hard to save money for thousands of customers who join our loyalty and membership programmes or discount clubs, both internally and for our clients. Critical to our success however, is our excellent ongoing relationship with our partners. Affinity marketing relies upon the mutually beneficial relationship between the loyalty and membership programme or discount club managing agency, brand partners and consumers.

We pride ourselves on researching some of the most recognisable, long standing and reputable brands on the high street and online for our affinity marketing business. On top of this we also work with small to medium sized businesses that are the best in their respective fields, providing niche products and services. This means that members of our loyalty and membership programmes or discount clubs get the best of both worlds – some great savings on everyday living, and even more on those special high value purchases, one-offs and gifts.

Our dedicated Partnership Marketing (affinity marketing) team talk regularly with our partners, both new and old, in order to constantly develop and extend their promotions. There’s a lot of flexibility in the way our products can represent partner offers, so it’s important to work on getting it right. Just like all marketing vehicles, maximizing effectiveness is all about testing and progressive improvement.

Communication at a personal level lets us provide a helping hand for our partners, especially at the start of a long and healthy relationship. With over 7 years of experience as specialists in managing loyalty and membership programmes and discount clubs, we know that we’ve developed some skills in making sure offers present real value for consumers whilst delivering results for our partners. We can help to work through all aspects of your offer, from a catchy headline that will drive redemption, to powerful photography selection that’ll catch the eye. We can even make sure your terms and conditions are represented in plain English to make sure customers stay happy.

Sales promotion and affinity marketing are hot topics right now thanks to dramatically increasing consumer demand for improved value – partly fuelled by the recession, but also driven by Britain’s national obsession with bargain hunting and the prevalence of broadband internet access. Successful use of sales promotion is not limited to corporate Pizza giants however – never underestimate the public’s appetite for greater choice and their respect for excellence! Our unique membership clubs place your message in front of a massive potential customer base that we know can spot a good deal when they see one.

Shared brand value benefits all of our partners too. Mixing major corporations with smaller enterprises is mutually beneficial – enjoy the trust and quality assurance of globally recognised brands, with the bespoke offering and natural customer service focus of SME’s. Getting your company name in front of the right consumers is just the first step in a successful marketing campaign – making sure that it carries with it the right message and associations is naturally next.

Over fifty businesses in the UK already work with us to successfully present exclusive sales promotions to our diverse customer base. Are you leading the way in your industry, produce a unique product / manage a unique service, or provide second to none customer service? Are you committed to presenting consumers with real value during difficult economic times?

Do you want to drive sales and brand awareness for your business? If you are interested in affinity marketing through rewards and consumer incentives or loyalty and membership programmes or discount clubs then let’s start talking today, Contact Us on 0845 241 2135.

Make promotional marketing work for your brand

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Promotional marketing is a great way to reach your customers and engage with their purchasing experience by giving them more of what they want – encouraging customer retention and/or increase customer spending. There are a number of agencies that specialise in developing promotional marketing strategies and those that offer high quality sales promotion/ affinity marketing solutions. We’ve identified some of the key elements that make a successful campaign and promote customer retention so that you can see how sales promotion or affinity marketing can work for your business.

Create a powerful headline

Leading with a powerful, well targeted offer will hook the consumer in instantly. Stating a percentage or monetary value of the discount such as 50% off, save £10 or 2 for 1 hotel breaks can be the most effective communication of a saving. There’s no need to complicate the message, keep it short and basic to avoid confusion – if you have a strong enough offer it will talk for itself. It’s as simple as that!

Get it out there

There are increasingly more and more ways to communicate and distribute your consumer incentive and the more widely it is seen, the more successful it can perform. Advertising your consumer incentive doesn’t have to cost you as much as you might think and in most cases there’s a free marketing option. The internet is a good platform for reaching millions of new people but can be hard to control and can be subject to over-redemption. Online distribution methods include viral campaigns, voucher sites, social media – all of which are free marketing solutions. But remember mass-marketed campaigns can lead to brand devaluation! Keeping control of promotion distribution is now as essential as getting it out there at all.

You can also offer your consumer incentive to your existing customers at point of sale which gives you greater control of distribution numbers. Another option is to offer your consumer incentive to customers through a loyalty and membership programme or discount club, this way you are keeping it to a closed group which responds positively to discounts and could easily lead to a mutually loyal relationship.

Deliver!

When all of the hard work is done there are some checks that sound simple but that can make or break a promotional marketing campaign. First of all make sure your discount works – ensure the promo code or voucher code is active online, over the phone, in-store or by whatever redemption method you have chosen. Try not to tie you customers up in knots over the terms and conditions. Any overcomplicated, or unreadable small print will put people off – remember the purpose of the exercise is customer retention, so be friendly not intimidating.

Get some advice

Promotional marketing or sales promotion/ affinity marketing can seem daunting to set up but there are plenty of agencies out there that can help and it can still be a free marketing option when managed externally. All an external agency will ask for is an exclusive discount for the members of its loyalty and membership programme or discount club. By using an external agency such as The Rocket Marketing Group every aspect of your promotional marketing campaign will be managed from promotion to handling loyalty and membership programmes or discount club members.

Contact Us if you are interested in free marketing solutions that encourage customer retention through consumer incentives. We can discuss how loyalty and membership programmes or discount clubs can promote your brand through sales promotion/ affinity marketing.

Is this the end of the sale season?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

As Morrisons announce an underlying profit before tax up 22% to £359m (2008/9: £295m) and the Halifax reporting that house prises rose another 0.8% last month there are now definite signs that the recession is slowing and maybe even that the end of our current economic problems are on the horizon. What does this mean for businesses and the average consumer? Will consumers maintain their spending ransom on businesses, forcing them into drastic recession solutions or will we eventually see the end of the sale season?

It’s hard to know whether people have just changed their spending habits and this is how it is going to stay or if it’s just a fashion/fad/phase that will pass. Businesses and marketing departments definitely have a tough road ahead rebuilding the worth of recession battered brands. This has been an important era for marketing as the spending culture has changed so dramatically. In some cases this is not just due to the recession but the increasingly wide spread use of online shopping, the recession has just acted to highlight the shortfalls of ageing business models – and these are possibly the businesses that won’t emerge from the sale.

Throughout the last year marketers have relied upon discounts and sales as the complete recession solution but now as we move out of this era will the lower prices be forced to remain and move from a desperate recession solution to the norm. All businesses need to start regaining their brand value by ending the sale season and finding other ways to offer consumer incentives. There are other free marketing solutions available which both benefit the consumer and business involved.

These free marketing solutions involve consumer incentives that promote brand loyalty rather than a ‘shop where’s cheapest’ mentality. A good way for businesses to tap into this culture but maintain their brand value is through affinity marketing. This is a free marketing tool which can offer consumer incentives in a number of ways including through loyalty and membership programmes or discount clubs. These clubs work well because they are not exclusively recession solutions. Companies such as The Rocket Marketing Group operate a number of loyalty and membership programmes or discount clubs. Businesses feature in the loyalty and membership programmes or discount clubs as a free marketing solution; all they have to do is offer members an exclusive discount. These discounts act as consumer incentives and they can effectively drive loyalty for the brands featured in the discount club.

If you are interested in free marketing through affinity marketing – featuring your business in one of The Rocket Marketing Group’s loyalty and membership programmes, purchasing a consumer incentive or selling the clubs and generating an incremental revenue please Contact Us.