Last winter, the week after I came back from a much-needed vacation out of the country, I received a text message that made my heart drop. And not in the good way either. It was my credit card company, dropping me a casual line that there had been a suspicious charge made to my card a few days ago, and did I remember making that payment?
My first thought was that I had been pickpocketed at some metro station or other -- the same way I lost my phone. As I stared at the name of the company to which the payment was made some more, I quickly realized that I had overreacted, and that the reason it raised an alert at the credit card company was because I had forgotten to alert them that I would be, you know, halfway across the globe. I texted back a quick "yes," and problem solved!
What does this have to do with marketing? Well, the moral of that story is that because of the proactive approach the credit card company took to protect their customer's security, I will always remember the company as trustworthy. A winning situation for both of us. The alternative route was that they could have ignored it until I realized there were charges showing up on my account that I didn't recall making, and then waiting for me to call before shutting it down. This reactive strategy would have made me an unhappy customer.
This same concept applies to marketing. It's become clear through recent research that customers prefer proactive marketing strategies to reactive ones. Again, it's a win-win situation: the customer gets the information and interaction without having to reach out themselves, and the brand creates a better image for themselves in the customer's mind. Indeed, a study by inContact shows that 87% of customers prefer to be contacted proactively by a company.
Why do customers like proactive marketing strategies?
The field of social psychology describes two basic motives of any person: the need to be liked and the need to be right. Most of our goals and actions, at their root, can fall into one of the two categories. In this case, a proactive marketing strategy satisfies the need to be liked. When a company reaches out to someone, it shows that the individual is valued. By taking the initiative to include the individual, the company makes itself stand out as an entity to be liked because people tend to like those that like them back.
Why do companies like proactive marketing strategies?
On the flip side, proactive marketing strategies are a win for leaders of companies as well because it means taking charge of the futures of their companies. Everyone has had the experience of having to wait on the sidelines while something important is taking place, being unable to help -- this is the opposite. More practically, we can say that being proactive is being able to do something about your problems. There's software out there to accomplish your goal, and with a bit of problem solving you can speed up the process. Software to help correct a customer service mistake due to waiting too long to bite the bullet, however, is a lot harder to come by.
To recap, being proactive is ultimately a winning situation on both sides because not only can companies take charge of their image and client base, customers are more satisfied as well because they feel valued. So what does this mean for a company? Go out there and proactively follow Twitter users that are already interested in your field. Engage with people. Develop strategies to reach out to relevant people and acquire a fanbase.
What successes have you had with proactive strategies?
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