Customer acquisition in the digital age | Stephan Heinrich

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The forward end of the digitisation, already on the customer acquisition? This is a lot of talk about the digital age is not long since a crazy Hype that has little to do with reality? Finally, transactions are made between people.

Especially in the B2B – business-to-business – there will be a similar development as in the private customer business, which is today dominated by Amazon & co.


© Fotolia/Konstantin Yuganov

A false sense of security of the established companies

It was a few months ago, when I gave a lecture on the digitisation front of an industry audience. In the break after my presentation, I stood with some of the invited managing Director at a standing table. All the participants were executives from the areas of freight forwarding, port and shipping companies, which transported large freight such as sea containers and bulk.

In this round a demure Mr fathers patted me on the shoulder and said: “What you said about the digitalization in the distribution, does not concern us. Container you not Bay on the Internet. To do this, one needs to have a dialogue with a forwarding merchant, in contrast, is not conceivable.”

I saw in the round and asked: “Can I ask you three questions?” They nodded and I asked: “How you have booked your Overnight stay here at the site?” All but one, of the wanted to go home, called Online hotel portals. “If you are not with the car here: How do you have your flight or train ticket booked?” And again all said as a matter of course “online”.

And then I asked the third question: “And do you really believe that there is such a big difference is to book a sea container from A to B?” Silent Silence. I said: “It is the question of whether there will be a Service. The only question is, who will establish him first on the market, because it will have for customers, is the guarantee that it will come.”

If it’s convenient, easy and cost-effective, it will prevail

The many market of the last time that revolutionized especially in dealing with private clients a lot of business models, or at least significantly changed, displacements witness the change through the use of digital communication channels.

In the next three ten-part series of articles I will not bore you with extravagant visions of the future. You will get a practical and very concrete suggestions on how you already available tools can be used to change the customer acquisition for your company.

Many Trends today are already become a reality. Some effect on the sales. We begin with these important Trends:

Trend number 1: free-of-charge and immediately

The Internet has lowered the costs for the reproduction and distribution of images, Text, music and Videos to virtually Zero. Therefore, it is possible to get almost free of charge to the information, regardless of the Form in which they exist.

And there is no need to wait, because almost everyone is now equipped with a Smartphone and, therefore, in any Situation, the collective Knowledge of the world can use. As Bill Gates, in 1995, announced his Vision of “Information at your fingertips” for the year 2005, it was still pure utopia. Even if it took in the end a few more years to fulfill this Vision today is a reality.

This leads to a greatly changed attitude of expectation: All must be immediately available free of charge. This requirement is seen by many as an impossible burden. However, it is in fact, a powerful opportunity to find interest, and retain companies and brands.

Acquisition of new customers through valuable Information

In the 90s, the lack of Information goods. Due to this shortage, they got a certain value. Today Information is in Abundance. Hardly anyone longs for a letter or an E-Mail. Magazine subscriptions are a dying breed. The Information is not distributed, but according to need. No longer the bottleneck of the media controls the distribution of messages and content, but in the interest of the recipient.

This change in behavior was made possible by search engines, and especially Google.

Customers seek information themselves

The sum of the global spending for advertising is specified for the year 2016, and more than 500 billion US$. About 80 billion US$ of it fall on advertising and customer acquisition in Google’s search engine. Thus, Online is likely to realize advertising no later than 2018, more revenue than all the television channels worldwide, sales for television advertising revenues.

We take these enormous Numbers as an indication that customers be informed about the search on the Internet and companies want to place in the context of this research, your advertising.

Many entrepreneurs have made a sobering experience with Online advertising. This is mainly due to the fact that you have not taken into account the change in the behavior of people with regard to the procurement of information is sufficient. People who have a need for information, do not want to be immediately assaulted with offers to purchase. You want an answer to your question.

This can be a product offer, but will not be in the majority of cases, the answer. If you are looking for “How to tie a bow tie” because they are loaded to a wedding as a best man and you have never tied one, then the last thing you need right now, a special offer which offers you two fly for the price of one.

Interest as the engine of customer acquisition

Take advantage of existing interest, in order to cause awareness, then they cause by answering questions a certain amount of sympathy for, and because of the consistent relationship exists repeatedly – finally. This sequence is, of course. Even if the Transitions from awareness, to sympathy, and finally of the relationship, some contacts were not screened, because the interest is so strong, you can consider this loss as a finishing.

Ultimately, offered valuable information about the effect of free publicity. Some of the interested parties will increasingly use the Service and the reliability of consistent, valuable Information for some of the interested parties, sympathy. And a further Selection is obtained, finally, a few interested parties, develop a certain relationship with the brand. If you consume my posts a certain amount of time, they are themselves the best evidence of this Trend.

On the Basis of relations is good business to realize, is really known to everyone, is a serious and successful in the Business.

Trend Number 2: Asynchronous Communication

Time is a valuable Good because it is scarce. Modern tools of everyday work – especially Computer and Smartphone have influenced our way of working solid. We are optimized to the limit of what is Possible.

Common time is hard to plan. If you have ever tried to organize, for example, ten friends over for a BBQ in the afternoon, then you know how hard it is, because there is always a is prevented in vacation, traveling, or otherwise. To bring several people at the same time in a room is difficult.

Daily show is not eight but always

This is supported by digital media. If there is still a few years ago, so it was, that you heard the news around eight, either live, or have missed, then you can view at any time of the day watch the last days online.

It’s no wonder that asynchronous communication media such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or simply SMS so quickly. Meanwhile, the voice messages are coming through these channels, and even Video messages are almost boring Standard.

Culture of communication in customer acquisition

We sellers are not allowed to work, therefore, our asynchronous capabilities. “Get me an appointment with the decision makers and I can sell!” Beautiful. But what if You get the date only if You have a good Text? Or if You have a excellent message to the Mailbox of the Decision-maker can leave? Or even if You send a Video message via LinkedIn?

The music of the future? Maybe. But when I talk with my children, start now as a beginner from the study, one thing is clear: Who has not mastered asynchronous communication, which is not to be taken seriously.

This results in a few Changes that affect a little the first Trend of free and instant information-appetite for customer acquisition: people send messages to digital and expect a definitive answer – but is not binding. And that brings us to the next Trend:

Trend number 3: be Flexible and Maybe

If you are born before 1980, then you have to meet as a Teenager in the school orally to the cinema in the evening and then it was there. At best, it was to discuss possible even in the afternoon on the phone Changes, but this was time-consuming.

Today, you can still minutes prior to the appointment otherwise, and all via WhatsApp. Flexible. Maybe I can do it.

It has also in business life. For example, in my. If it is still 10 years ago it was normal that events, Seminar participation, and appointments were booked six or more months in advance, today it is Standard that took part in events to about 50% in the last week before the appointment can be booked. We may accept altered reality.

The seller may therefore to be understood even better, as it causes binding. As decisions are made. But only if we need to – or think that we need to. In the past focus on the psychology of Sales, we have supplied some suggestions.

Trend Number 4: Big & Small Data

Let’s go back 20 years. In the mid-90s. Some companies already have a “Homepage”. End-to-end communication medium, the Fax was. Google was not yet founded.

Let us imagine, then, it would be have been possible, who ended up sending faxes has seen and who is not. Anyone who was actually interested and who is not. My grandmother is not alive already for a long time, but I probably would have considered selling them if I can then get to this Information.

Or are we to take, then someone would have offered that you could identify all of the professional visitors to your website. Or at least, what companies are interested in you. Both grandmothers would have ended up in the Bazaar.

Customer acquisition at the expense of the grandmothers

All kidding aside – today it is possible to work exactly with this information. My perception is that most entrepreneurs have laid heard of it, but it is in the drawer “Science Fiction” is shelved, although it would be for the customer’s acquisition of pure Gold.

Today, both is possible and you may keep your grandmother. The above-mentioned information you will get for the value less Euro – usually for less than the fuel bill of a typical foreign service employee. So affordable. Very strange, however, that very few companies work specifically.

Be honest to yourself in the “customer acquisition digital”

Download of the “awkward self-questioning” as a complement to this article. Please be so honest to yourself, if you can stand it. Answer the questions this PDF for quietly and in Secret. Or you can involve your Team according to your taste. But you ask the questions and let me know what came out of it for you.