Resolve to Reconnect

We promised you a list of useful resolutions that your organization can make to drastically improve your marketing efforts in the new year.  This week we’re suggesting:  Reconnect with your customers.
In 30 years of marketing, I have found very few CEOs who wouldn’t say their company is “customer centered.”  Unfortunately, upon closer examination, I often find that the company is centered on an outdated understanding of the needs and values of those customers.

When was the last time your organization took your customers’ pulse?  It doesn’t take a lot of effort or technology – or even money – to stay in touch.  Done professionally, surveys and focus groups are relatively simple to execute, and they can quickly validate (or debunk) your understanding of your customers.

If you’re looking for an easy way to reconnect with your market, try encouraging your top executives to spend some time in the field.  Visit your customers.  Join your sales people on sales calls.  Ask the real decision-makers in your marketplace tough and probing questions about their problems, their ambitions, and their pain.  And listen to what they say.

And if you’re really serious about fostering communication with your customers, try forming a customer advisory board.  You don’t need to invite them to your office or fly them to an exotic retreat; phone calls will do.  Just let them know how much their opinions matter to your business.  Share your plans; test your new ideas; and listen.