I’m just reading through Hubspot’s 2013 marketing predictions. I got to number two – Inbound marketing to business grows enterprise wide and had to write this. This is NOT a prediction. It is something that smart business owners and good marketers have known for an incredibly long time. Let me explain.

According to the prediction – marketing will no longer sustain its own department. Um, yes it will – someone (call it marketing, communications, PR, sales) has to do a lot of the work, ensure that the messaging is correct and consistent and have a plan in place to keep the effort going, which is key to the success of all marketing efforts.

BUT they are right in that good marketing is organisation wide. Ie: it doesn’t matter what the folks in marketing or sales do or how good your website or systems are, if;

  • anyone in the service or customer support chain doesn’t care about the customer or is having a bad day or
  • the shopfront or office ‘feel’ is off or
  • the product or service doesn’t live up to expectation or
  • the after service support either doesn’t exist or is painful for the customer (or someone else in the chain if you’re a manufacturer).

If your customer is experiencing either pain or even just a disconnect anywhere in your touchpoint process, very likely there are choppy waters ahead (and there’s a solid prediction for you).

Hubspot say this prediction is being driven by the customer being in control. Nope that’s not right either. The customer shouldn’t control your business (it is after all YOUR business) – BUT they should be at the very heart of all things that you do. And smart marketing people and business owners have known that for a very long time too.

To be fabulously successful (whatever that means to you), your business needs to revolve around WIIFM or the 5 most important words in the English language – What’s in it for me? from your customers’ perspectives – through every step of a customer’s interaction with you (from materials, websites, forms, reception, sales, media stories, product/services, customer service, after-care). If it does, you can pat yourself on the back for apparently ‘being ahead of your time’. If you’ve been doing it for a decade or longer – no doubt you’re running a spectacularly successful business.

It is however, harder to get WIIFM right than it might seem on the surface. Lots of clients have told us that they find it hard to get out of their own way enough to see what dealing with the business is like from a customer perspective. And let’s face it, when you’re writing materials, designing your interior or talking about your wonderful product or service, you want to spending time on your favourite subject – you (and that’s okay by the way – everyone does, but it’s not what your customers/clients need to feel/see/experience).

That’s where an external marketing agency can help – they’ll be able to see things you might not and/or that you might have been willfully blind to in the past. You might also consider going down the path of using a mystery shopper service too (especially if you’re a volume business like travel, tourism, childcare, gyms, retail or healthcare). Both bring different strengths to the table and both can highlight places where you might be losing new sales or losing longer-term customers. And getting and keeping customers makes for stronger businesses.

So if you’re looking for better 2013 marketing predictions for your business or you’d like to answer WIIFM better or your business needs a customer-focussed marketing makeover, we’d be delighted to talk to you. Feel free to get in contact or join us on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter.

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