With cut throat competition in the electronics industry, marketing is the key to success. In fact, smart marketing is what one needs to focus on to survive in this crowded market. And what is the key element of smart marketing? It’s your customers. Today, players are fighting neck and neck for space in the market, and trying to compete just on price. But price is just one element of what a brand stands for. Other aspects include after sales service, general awareness about the products, responsiveness to customers, brand reputation, feedback received from suppliers, etc. So it is useless trying to compete on the basis of price alone.
By Sandhya Malhotra
Friday, October 15, 2010: In this competitive market, it is important that a company keeps its customers happy and satisfied. Strategically as well as financially, it costs much more to hook a new customer than to hold on to an existing one. Companies vying with each other, therefore, need to offer something extra to win the customer’s heart—in other words, employ some smart marketing tactics, instead of the run of the mill marketing and promotion activities.
Customer satisfaction tactics
Now, the million dollar question—are you offering your customers what they want? Do you know enough about their needs? Can you understand their mindset? Are you capable of offering that extra bit that will give you the edge over your competitors? No doubt, customers have become aware and hence, more demanding. So it has become imperative for manufacturers, distributors and traders to offer smart solutions with full product and service satisfaction.
Says Yuvraj Samal, manager, International Business, JVS Electronics Pvt Ltd, “One of the best ways to build a more profitable and sustainable business is by increasing customer loyalty. Marketing strategies go much further when customer loyalty is high. Our products fall under the ‘engineering product’ category. Not all buyers are technically knowledgeable, and as technology changes fast, to keep the customers abreast with the latest developments, we conduct seminars, workshops and product awareness programmes, both onsite and off site, depending upon the customers’ convenience. We also participate in technical exhibitions and furnish product details on our website, for our customers.”
Interestingly, large distributors like RS Components have a huge selection of products. To make it simple and easy for customers, the company has been offering advanced search functionalities like RS catalogue, CD-ROMs and ‘RS online’ to help its customers find the products and information they need, through easy and powerful ways.
Lakshmi Devi P, DGM, marketing, O/E/N India Ltd, says, “We offer total applications including engineering support and help our customers in selecting the most cost optimised solutions. We then back up our supply with documentation about inspection and test data for our customers’ satisfaction. Our field sales engineers provide personalised support depending on each buyer’s needs. Our network of distributors, stockists and dealers are spread throughout the country and provides professional support for all products. Our after sales and warranty support are hardly ever requested for, though they are certainly available.”
Another essential factor of smart marketing is to know, precisely, what the requirements of your customers are. Giving a patient hearing to the complaints of a customer helps a lot. So giving customers what they need makes more sense than bombarding them with unnecessary promotions. “We do not treat services as part of a revenue model, but as something we offer our customers. If the customer wants some service from us, we provide it. As a result, we do not push AMCs on them. This is totally based on the consumer’s needs,” says Sunil Bhatnagar, director, marketing, Artheon Electronics Ltd.
Besides toll-free numbers, now the social media also offers an interactive model for customers. It is changing the way vendors communicate with customers. According to Vaibhav Shastri, CEO, Zen Mobile, the social media is the next step. “All technology vendors have used one-to-many and many-to-many online media, to get close to their customers.”
“In order to retain customers, we must keep up-to-date with the needs of our customers. And customer needs do not remain static, they keep changing. Hence, adapting and changing along with these needs will help the company develop the relationship with the customer better,” informs Shastri. States Bhatnagar, “We always try to anticipate the needs of our customers. We have learnt that customers usually look for a quick response from the supplier. So it is very important to reply to a customer query as fast as possible.”
The supplier also needs to remain flexible in the way it sells its products. It is important to make the buyers feel that they are important clients. All efforts should be made to help them understand the product and its unique selling points (USP). As a marketer, you ought to make the buyers feel that you are trying to help satisfy some need of theirs, rather than blatantly trying to sell your products. Give reasons why and how your products meet their needs.
Many customers turn away from a product because they fail to understand the USP of the product. Market trends show that customers want product value that exceeds the price they are paying. Satisfied customers are willing to shell out a little more for ‘value for money’ products. For instance, they are eager to pay for good service. Usually, it is your service and not the price of a product that dictates whether or not you can retain buyers. Today, the rule is satisfy your customers and watch your business grow.
Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine