“From creating and driving trends to fostering brand loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing, there are many uses for tactics that can help you influence your customers’ behaviour,” – Angela Stringfellow
Influencing customers using positive means remains one of the core aims of modern business enterprises. This is imperative because modern customers and clients are subject to incessant marketing pitches from enterprises of all hues that use electronic and non-electronic techniques to broadcast persistent marketing messages. Tactics that foster and strengthen customer influence are important because every competitive business enterprise needs to expand its customer base, boost business outcomes, and achieve its business goals. Therefore, it is incumbent upon a business to use genuine and positive methods to achieve the business requirement of influencing customers.
Businesses can deploy ownership techniques that encourage customers to be part of the enterprise. This implies that the business is trying to influence customer choice through actions that raise the customer to the level of a stakeholder. For instance, a fabric manufacturer and retailer can encourage its customers to peruse actively, samples of merchandise before committing to a purchase decision. This approach to selling operates in contrast to conventional techniques that hinge on a one-way selling mechanism. We must note that this method of influencing customers is unique and more likely to yield results because it encourages the customer to be an active part of the transaction. This technique helps to create the positive impression that the business is not merely interested in executing a quick sale; rather, it values the inputs of the customer and expands customer choice by igniting a two-way conversation, thereby winning the customer’s confidence, creating trust between the enterprise and its customers, and creating firm grounds for repeat business orders.
Gifts represent another option, wherein a business can offer free pieces of merchandise in a choreographed attempt at influencing customers. We must note that this approach to conducting business remains well within the norms of ethical business practices because the technique encourages customers to direct their custom at a particular enterprise. For instance, a small business operator that sells mid-range cosmetics and beauty products can choose to offer free samples of merchandise in an attempt to capture a certain market share. This technique can be rolled out to all customers and may create a certain dent in the manufacturer’s margins. However, we must note that the technique is part of a wider strategy aimed at influencing customers and securing the commercial moorings of the said business operator. The long-term outcomes of such selling practices may include a committed clientele that remains averse to competing marketing messages, not to mention an enhanced brand visibility of the said business enterprise.
Businesses must work to assess and understand consumer behaviour and the mentality of the average buyer before they deploy techniques aimed at influencing customers. A genuine product return policy underlined by a sincere commitment can easily attract customers to try products. This approach can help a business to win customer confidence, which can translate into higher sales numbers. For instance, a business that deals with home improvement kits and hardware products can institute fail-safe policies that assure consumers of a full refund in case said products fail to satisfy customers’ expectations. This stance automatically boosts consumer confidence in the business enterprise and can help it attract additional customers to the detriment of its competition. We must note that this policy embodies a positive approach to serving every individual customer and is likely to resonate with business clients. Market research indicates that few, if at all, customers choose to invoke the said guarantee and therefore the business has to cope with an insignificant number of refund claims. We may note that in the long-term, such customer-centric policies often helps businesses to achieve the goal of influencing customers.
An attractive brand personality can be cultivated by businesses that are keen on influencing customers. The business can choose to invest significant resources to create and develop the said attribute. Professional consultants and inputs from the senior management team of the business can help to craft a brand personality that attracts customers and clients belonging to every demographic. For instance, a bespoke perfume manufacturer can choose to an appropriate brand personality centred on scent and its influence on human beings. This strategy can be fleshed out in terms of store signage and displays that feature the complex interactions between perfumes and human senses. In addition, the brick-and-mortar stores may offer various segmented areas that exhibit and extol the virtues of different scents. The online extension of such a strategy may include the emphatic uses of colour to emphasise the different characters of various perfumes. We must note that this approach to influencing customers must be carefully curated so that the perfume manufacturer is able to carve a distinct niche for itself in the market. The outcome of such efforts can be a distinctive brand personality that can be leveraged by the business enterprise to create an outstanding brand presence, win a loyal clientele, expand its business operations, and integrate the dictates of commerce with human sensibilities.
An unerring corporate commitment to quality and consistency can be the cornerstone of businesses that wish to influence customer choices. For instance, a manufacturer of premium healthcare products can choose to institute first-rate quality and consistency benchmarks in its production processes. These attributes can form the lynchpin of its marketing messages and may constitute the core essence of its brand image. We note that this technique will automatically lead to a limited market for the said manufacturer, but the twin planks mentioned above should help it achieve its business goals that hinge on influencing customers. The said technique can also be deployed by a large commercial enterprise that wishes to create a special line of high quality, premium healthcare products. In both cases, the manufacturer must emphasise quality and consistency to justify top line pricing structures. The business must also ensure that the clientele that is attracted to such marketing stories must be satisfied with product quality at all times, because any exceptions can disrupt the brand image and may lead to serious commercial repercussions.
In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the methods that can be leveraged by businesses to influence customer behaviour. Every business that seeks to attract and retain customers must minutely examine human motivation as a part of customer behaviour before it chalks out an elaborate selling strategy. Thereafter, business opportunities must be identified and acted upon expeditiously, in an effort to capture the first mover advantage. The gains that accrue from the above actions must be assiduously cultivated and processes must be put in place to lock in the business benefits. Data and information that emanates from business operations must be surveyed and carefully analysed, but not at the expense of demeaning the essential humanity of the individual customer. Further, as part of the overall strategy, the business must make it mandatory for all teams and groups to actively listen to the customer’s voice and pay attention to the client’s point of view. These actions must be repeated consistently and must be institutionalised across the firm. We may say that one of the outcomes may include deeper customer influence and a faster attainment of the desired business outcomes.