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Monday, September 9, 2013

Are you ready for some Football? How to build a “team” of satisfied customers

It’s fall, or as we refer to it in the south…football season. We take football very seriously here! Come September, every Saturday is about “the” game.  I grew up in the Midwest and attended Michigan State University. Big Ten football is also taken seriously; we have our rivalries, our must see games and we can tailgate with the best of ‘em. But, as a southern transplant headed into my 19th football season below the Mason Dixon line, I can say with certainty, ain’t no fans like southern fans.
Why are southerners so passionate about football?  It’s about the experience, of course. You have an instant connection with a stranger wearing your team colors or flying your team’s flag.  That shared pastime gives a feeling of camaraderie.  As alumni or even just as fans of the same school, you feel a sense of belonging. By finding others with the same interests, you have created a sense of community.
How do you create this same team spirit for your brand? What makes your customers devoted to you rather than your competitor?  First of all, you need to understand your fan base.  If you shout “War Eagle” when you should’ve cheered “Roll Tide,” you have just alienated a group of fans.
It is not possible to market to all fans the same way; instead you must know what motivates them and what turns their allegiance to you. For some, loyalty is built after positive experiences with your brand; they’re alumni so to speak. Others may get on the bandwagon at the recommendation of a friend, which is an intangible connection you may not be able to predict.
Big data doesn’t tell you anything relevant about your customers as individuals. To learn what turns a casual shopper into a loyal fan you need to show you care and are relatable. If you don’t…there are plenty of other teams who have a jersey with that consumer’s name on it.
Believe it or not it’s fairly easy to get to know your customer. It only takes a few well-designed questions to capture your customers’ preferences so you can begin to engage with them appropriately. Think about the 3 essential pieces of information you need from your customer in order to begin to know who they are. Does it help you to know what industry your customer is in?  If so, ask.  Or is it more important to know whether or not they have children? It’s ok to ask that too. You cannot create a sense of belonging or team spirit by treating all your fans the same. It’s an individual experience first.
Once you understand your customers you can market to them with relevance. This makes their experience with you more enjoyable. Over time trust will be built, and as a result so will your fan base. Satisfied customers will send their friends your way and before long your stadium will be filled with fans chanting your name.

About the Author: 
Darci Bullard is the Project Coordinator for PossibleNOW's Preference Management Consulting group.

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