Direct Mail Advertising Images Essay

Some History of Promotion Marketing or Advertising Essay

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Some History of Promotion Marketing/Advertising Promotional Strategies and Advertising are very important when it comes to marketing for a firm. One of the methods used to determine the internal and external environment in the organization business strategies is the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis. This is the matrix platform for most business firms and it is effective for organizations. When people are talking about promotional strategies and advertising; marketing is basically what business firm wants to be successful in. Advertising is dealing with marketing strategy as well, and companies use this method to create awareness for their product and services. This promotional strategy wants to get a…show more content…

Some History of Promotion Marketing/Advertising Promotional Strategies and Advertising are very important when it comes to marketing for a firm. One of the methods used to determine the internal and external environment in the organization business strategies is the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis. This is the matrix platform for most business firms and it is effective for organizations. When people are talking about promotional strategies and advertising; marketing is basically what business firm wants to be successful in. Advertising is dealing with marketing strategy as well, and companies use this method to create awareness for their product and services. This promotional strategy wants to get a response and target a customer. A unique look of a picture of a product with a cool logo will gain the interest of a customer. This simple idea will draw consumers’ to purchase the product based off the look of the logo or trademark. Advertisement can be sent through television, radio, newspapers, magazines and journals. Also, advertisements can be sent direct mail, which the product send marketing materials to the selected list of customers. Outdoor advertising can be put on posters, banner, signs and bus ads.
Compare and Contrast Promotional/Advertising Strategies As of 2013, Panasonic TX-P55VT65B is one of the leading TV brands its’ picture is immense and the images are sharp and crisp. There are key areas in this flat screen TV,

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a fundamental aspect of modern marketing

First, here's something that is fast becoming the most fundamental aspects of marketing to get right, especially if you want to build a truly sustainable high quality organisation (of any size) in the modern age:

Ensure the ethics and philosophy of your organisation are good and sound. This might seem a bit tangential to marketing and business, and rather difficult to measure, nevertheless...

Price is no longer the king, if it ever was. Value no longer rules, if ever it did. Quality of service and product is not the deciding factor.

Today what truly matters is ethical and philosophical quality - from the bottom to the top - in every respect - across every dimension of the organisation.

Modern consumers, business buyers, staff and suppliers too, are today more interested than ever before in corporate integrity, which is defined by the organisation's ethics and philosophy.

Good sound ethics and philosophy enable and encourage people to make 'right and good' decisions, and to do right and good things. It's about humanity and morality; care and compassion; being good and fair.

Profit is okay, but not greed; reward is fine, but not avarice; trade is obviously essential, but exploitation is not.

Psychological Contract theory is helpful towards understanding and developing fair balanced philosophy, especially in meeting the complex needs of staff, customers and the organization.

Nudge theory is a powerful change-management methodology which emerged in the 2000s. It's extremely useful in understanding, and to an extent managing, how people think and make decisions.

People naturally identify and align with ethical philosophical values. The best staff, suppliers, and customers naturally gravitate towards organisations with strong ethical qualities.

Putting a good clear ethical philosophy in place, and communicating it wide and far lets people know that your organisation always strives to do the the right thing. It's powerful because it appeals to people's deepest feelings. Corporate integrity, based on right and good ethical philosophy, transcends all else.

And so, strong ethics and good philosophy are the fundamentals on which all good organisations and businesses are now built.

People might not ask or talk about this much: the terminology is after all not fashionable 'marketing-speak', nor does it correlate obviously to financial performance, but be assured; everyone is becoming more aware of the deeper responsibilities of corporations and businesses in relation to humanity, and morality, the natural world, the weak and the poor, and the future of the planet.

Witness the antagonism growing towards certain multi-nationals. People don't rail against successful corporations - they rail against corporations which put profit ahead of people; growth ahead of of society and communities; technology and production ahead of the natural world; market domination ahead of compassion for humankind. None of this is right and good, and these organisations are on borrowed time.

People increasingly prefer to buy from, deal with, and work for, ethicalright-mindedorganisations. And whether an organisation is ethical and right-minded is becoming increasingly transparent for all to see.

So be one.

Aside from which - when you get your philosophy right, everything else naturally anchors to it. Strategies, processes, attitudes, relationships, trading arrangements, all sorts of difficult decisions - even directors salaries and share options dare we suggest.

And it need not be complicated. The ultimate corporate reference point is: "Is it right and good?... How does this (idea, initiative, decision, etc) stack up against our ethical philosophy?"

Organisations are complex things, and they become more and more complicated every day. A good ethical philosophy provides everyone with a natural, reliable reference point, for the tiniest detail up to the biggest strategic decision.

So as you start to write your marketing plan, be it for a new start-up, a huge corporation, or a little department within one, make sure you put a 'right and good' ethical philosophy in place before you do anything else, and watch everything grow from there.

marketing index

marketing and advertising - differences and definitions

marketing planning process - how marketing fits into overall business planning - and marketing/business planning hierarchy

marketing is more than selling and advertising - other issues to consider

branding, advertising and promotion - simple and important guidelines

types of advertising media - different methods and their uses.

direct marketing, advertising, and the law - notably the UK Data Protection Act and Preference Services for telemarketing, fax, mail, etc.

advertising tips and 'tricks of the trade' - secrets of effective printed advertising and maximizing advertising response.

PR - make the most of public relations - use press releases for free advertising and publicity.

newsletters - for staff and customers.

website and internet marketing tips - simple tips for internet websites and online marketing.

surveys and questionnaires - process for designing and organizing employee surveys and customer surveys

training/information event new business/enquiry generation method - a proven effective process for gaining new business

See also (on other pages):

business planning - includes free strategic planning templates, samples and examples

sales and selling - methods, processes, theory, techniques - help for developing selling propositions and sales strategies

business networking - how to - tips, methods, ideas

marketing vs advertising - differences and definitions

Marketing and advertising are commonly confused. This confusion is compounded because meanings of both continue to evolve.

Below are definitions of marketing, followed by definitions advertising, and the differences between marketing and advertising.

Firstly it's important to note that:

The increasingly broad nature of the marketing definitions reflects the increasing dimensions by which organizations engage with their markets. It is truly fascinating and highly significant to see how the definitions of marketing have changed over time.

Marketing was traditionally simply 'selling products' (as if at a traditional old-style farmer's market). The term derives from this meaning. This meaning developed so that marketing became an extension of selling - a means by which to identify, design, and communicate or 'target' offerings to customers.

Nowadays however, we know that customers make decisions to buy many products/services by referring to vastly more and wider factors than simply product/service features, quality, availability, and price.

Nowadays the meaning of marketing is extremely sophisticated. A good modern definition of marketing must acknowledge that we buy things in far more complex ways than we did fifty years ago, even ten years ago. The internet and social media are major factors in this. Above all, marketing is a reflection of 'the market', and how the market buys and behaves, which especially entails people and society - much broader considerations than purely product and price. As the market evolves in sophistication, so does the way in which we understand what marketing actually is and what it means to conduct marketing well.

Here are three examples of how the scope and definition of marketing reaches much farther than ever before:

Organizational constitution - many customers will not buy from a supplier whose ownership is considered to be unethical, greedy, or overly profit-driven, whereas many customers positively seek out suppliers considered to have more ethical convictions and ethos, such as mutuals and cooperatives, or social enterprises. These issues are therefore now unavoidably part of marketing, and where marketing fails to consider or influence these matters, then marketing activity is potentially less able and effective.

Organizational probity - (probity means honesty, uprightness - it's from the Latin word probus, meaning good) - this includes issues such as environmental and social responsibility, and 'Fairtrade', etc. See the '4P Purpose-Probity model'. Where marketing fails to involve, address and influence these fundamentals of organizational values, then marketing is to an extent (dependent on the service/market sector) disabled.

The psychological contract - the relationship between organization and staff directly affects market image and customer service/relationships. Marketing has for decades extended its reach to staff (traditionally, for example 'internal marketing' via newsletters and staff briefings, etc) but nowadays this 'internal' facet is immensely more significant. Organizational integrity and related failings are now much more transparent. Employer/employee relationships are now seen very obviously to influence quality and ethics of conduct and service (for example, scandals featuring News International privacy criminality, insurance industry miss-selling, and banking/investment risk). As such it is difficult to exclude considerations such as the psychological contract from the marketing responsibility.

definitions of marketing

Here are some definitions of marketing, oldest first, starting with the 1922 OED (Oxford English Dictionary). The increasingly broad nature of these marketing definitions reflects the increasing dimensions by which organizations engage with their markets, and consequently how the meaning of marketing has grown.

"The action of selling, i.e., to bring or send to market..." and also, "Produce [verb meaning] to be sold in the market." (1922 OED - Oxford English Dictionary, paraphrased)

"The action or business of promoting and selling products and services, including market research and advertising". (1998-2005 revised, modern-day Oxford English Dictionary)

"Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably." (The UK Chartered Institute of Marketing, CIM, official definition 2012.)

"Marketing encompasses and includes all organizational activities which involve or affect the relationship between a supplier/provider organization and its audience and stakeholders." (Businessballs.com, A Chapman, 2012)

definition of advertising and advertisement

We now see more clearly that advertising is quite different to, and actually within, marketing:

"The activity or profession of producing advertisements for commercial products or services." (2005 Oxford English Dictionary)

Advertisement is defined as: "A notice or announcement in a public medium promoting a product, service or event, or publicizing a job vacancy." (2005 Oxford English Dictionary)

"Communicating by print or electronic or other media to a customer/audience/market about a product/service/organization so as to improve the desire for or view of the product/service/organization." (Businessballs.com, A Chapman, 2012)

(Extending usefully as:) "...Advertising seeks, in measurable, cost-effective, controllable ways, to generate enquiries or sales and/or to raise awareness/perceptions of a supplier/provider/organization, by presenting motivating communications to an appropriate audience." (Businessballs.com, A Chapman, 2012)

in summary

Marketing and advertising are different.

Marketing is an extremely broad area that includes advertising, not vice-versa.

Marketing also includes PR, online presence/activities, customer service, selling/sales admin (methods and structure/strategy), branding, exhibitions, sponsorship, new product development, merchandising, surveys and market research, political lobbying, and even extends to ethos, culture, training, and organizational constitutional issues, since all this affects the image and trading style of an organization or product/service provider.

Advertising is far more specific than marketing; advertising is a function of marketing, and basically encompasses methods of communication with audience designed to produce sales enquiries, and/or improve awareness/perceptions of product/brand/organization. Advertising refers to printed and electronic media that is presented one way or another to market or audience, including packaging, point of sale, brochures and sales literature. Advertising increasingly extends to 'advertorial' in traditional and online media, which combines provision of objective helpful information and more subjective advertising/endorsement. Advertising (when properly executed) is the statistically driven and measurable implementation of marketing strategy, via carefully selected communications methods, targeted at predetermined audiences.

Advertising is one of several instruments/means by which marketing operates.

We might also regard advertising as one means of tactical implementation of the strategic aims of marketing.

marketing and business planning - and fundamental organizational philosophy, purpose, values, and ethics

a modern planning framework for a business or organization

First it's helpful to revisit, check or define the foundations of your business or organization. What are your fundamental aims and values? What is your ultimate purpose?

Is your underpinning philosophy congruent (consistent) with your planned business activities, operations and aims? (See the leadership page for explanation of how underpinning purpose and philosophy are so important for leadership, as well as for strategy and marketing.)

Below is a simple template for checking that you have the foundations and building blocks in place. If not, then decide (as far as you can, because it's generally the CEO's call) what they should be, because all good marketing plans need to have solid foundations first.

As regards the fundamental philosophical aspects see the sections on ethical organizations and corporate responsibility and the Psychological Contract. These concepts are deeper than tools and processes and mission statements - having a sound philosophy and ethical position determines and protects the spirit and integrity of your organization.

When it comes to defining more detailed aspects of mission and strategy, of course there's degree of 'chicken and egg' here: How can you know your Mission until you validate it with your potential customers? How can you establish objectives and goals without consulting and involving your staff? These later stages obviously need to be put in place and refined when you are in position to do so without guessing or assuming, as the planning develops; even so, use the framework as a firm reminder to make sure you fill in the boxes when you are able - don't leave these issues floating undecided, or defaulting back to X-Theoryautocracy (which they generally do where a vacuum exists). If in doubt, always err on the side of what is good and right and proper, which is another good reason for having a sound ethical position: it always provides a reliable reference point. In the absence of everything else - tools, processes, clarity of responsibility (who does what), etc - having a sound and well understood philosophy and ethical position will always help people to make good decisions.

Build from the bottom upwards. Consult and involve people affected and involved wherever relevant. You will see many different versions and interpretations of this framework. The principles are similar although the words might change. A business or an organisation is built on values and philosophy. Increasingly in the modern age, customers and staff are not prepared to sustain commitment to organisations whose philosophy and values are misaligned with their own personal ideals. Ten years ago organisational planning paid very little regard to values and philosophy. Customers were satisfied with quality at the right price. Staff were satisfied with a decent wage and working conditions. Today things are different. Organisations of all sorts must now cater for a more enlightened workforce and market-place.

When considering these planning stages start from the bottom upwards. This will help to reinforce the point that planning is about building from the foundations upwards, and that the stronger the foundations, then the stronger the organisation will be.

hierarchy of marketing and business planning stages

Start at the foundations (point 1 below) and work upwards.

8. Our Performance IndicatorsHow do our Targets and Objectives translate into the essential measurable aspects of performance and activity? Are these expectations, standards, 'Key Performance Indicators' (KPI's), 'Service Level Agreements' (SLA's), etc., agreed with the recipients and people responsible for delivery?
7. Our Targets and ObjectivesHow are our strategies comprised? How are these responsibilities and activities allocated cross our functions and departments and teams? Who does what, where, when, how, for what cost and with what required effect and result? What are the timescales and measures for all the actions within our strategies, and who owns those responsibilities?
6. Our StrategiesHow will we achieve our goal(s)? What needs to happen in order to achieve the things we plan? What are the effects on us and from where? Like planning a game of chess, what moves do we plan to make, why, and with what effects? How will we measure and monitor and communicate our performance? What are the criteria for measuring our performance and execution of our strategies?
5. Our Goal (or several goals in large or divisionalised businesses)What is our principal goal? When do we plan to achieve it? How will we measure that we have achieved it? At what point will we have succeeded in what we set out to do? Goals can change of course, and new ones necessarily are developed as old ones are achieved - but at any time we need to know what our organisation's main goal is, when we aim to achieve it, and how its achievement will be measured. And again all this needs to be agreed with our people - including our customers if we are very good indeed.
4. Our Mission (or Missions if there are separate businesses within the whole)How do we describe what we aim to do and be and achieve? What is special about what we are and do compared to any other organisation or business unit? Do our people understand and agree with this? Do our customers agree that it's what they want?
3. Our Vision - dependent on values and philosophy.Where are we going? What difference will we make? How do we want to be remembered? In what ways will we change things for the better? Is this vision relevant and good and desired by the customers and staff and stakeholders? Is it realistic and achievable? Have we involved staff and customers in defining our vision? Is it written down and published and understood? The Vision is the stage of planning when the organisation states its relationship with its market-place, customers, or users. The Vision can also include references to staff, suppliers, 'stakeholders' and all others affected by the organisation.
2. Our Values - enabled by and dependent on philosophy and leadership.Ethics, integrity, care and compassion, quality, standards of behaviour - whatever the values are - are they stated and understood and agreed by the staff? Do the values resonate with the customers and owners or stakeholders? Are they right and good, and things that we feel proud to be associated with? See the section on ethical organisations for help with this fundamental area of planning.
1. Our Philosophy - fundamentally defined by the leadership. 

When things go wrong in an organisation people commonly point to causes, problems or mistakes closer to the point of delivery - or typically in operational management. Generally however, major operational or strategic failings can always be traced back to a questionable philosophy, or a philosophical purpose which is not fitting for the activities of the organisation.
How does the organisation relate to the world? This is deeper than values. What is the organisation's purpose? If it is exclusively to make money for the shareholders, or to make a few million for the management buyout team when the business is floated, perhaps have a little re-think. Customers and staff are not daft. They will not be comfortable buying into an organisation whose deepest foundation is greed and profit. Profit's fine to an extent, but where does it fit in the wider scheme of things? Is it more important than taking care of our people and our customers and the world we live in? Does the organisation have a stated philosophy that might inspire people at a deeper level? Dare we aspire to build organisations of truly great worth and value to the world? The stronger our philosophy, the easier it is to build and run a great organisation. See the section on ethical organisationsand the Psychological Contract for help with this fundamental area of planning. 

If you are an entrepreneur or leader, or anyone contributing to the planning process, think about what you want to leave behind you; what you'd want to be remembered for. This helps focus on philosophical issues, before attending to processes and profit. 

Whatever your philosophy, ensure it is consistent with and appropriate for your organisational activities and aims. Your philosophical foundations must fit with what is built onto them, and vice-versa.

When you've satisfied yourself that the fundamental organisational framework is in place - and that you have gone as far as you can in creating a strong foundation - then you can begin your marketing planning.

marketing planning

Carry out your market research, including competitor activity.

Market information should include anything you need to know in order to formulate strategy and make business decisions. Information is available in the form of statistical economic and demographic data from libraries, research companies and professional associations (the Institute of Directors is excellent if you are a member). This is called secondary research and will require some interpretation or manipulation for your own purposes. Additionally you can carry out your own research through customer feed-back, surveys, questionnaires and focus groups (obtaining indicators to wider views through discussion among a few representative people in a controlled situation). This is called primary research, and is tailored to your precise needs. It requires less manipulation, but all types of research need careful analysis. Be careful when extrapolating or projecting. If the starting point is inaccurate the resulting analysis will not be reliable. The main elements you typically need to understand and quantify are:

  • customer profile and mix
  • product mix
  • demographic issues and trends
  • future regulatory and legal effects
  • prices and values, and customer perceptions in these areas
  • competitor activities
  • competitor strengths and weaknesses
  • customer service perceptions, priorities and needs

Primary research is recommended for local and niche services. Keep the subjects simple and the range narrow. Formulate questions that give clear yes or no indicators (i.e. avoid three and five options in multi-choices) always understand how you will analyse and measure the data produced. Try to convert data to numerical format and manipulate on a spreadsheet. Use focus groups for more detailed work. Be wary of using market research organisations as this can become extremely expensive. If you do the most important thing to do is get the brief right.

Establish your corporate aims.

Business strategy is partly dictated by what makes good business sense, and partly by the subjective, personal wishes of the owners. There is no point in developing and implementing a magnificent business growth plan if the owners wish the business to maintain its current scale.

State your business objectives - short, medium and long term.

State your business objectives - mindful of the trading environment (external factors) and your corporate aims (internal factors). What is the business aiming to do over the next one (short), two-to-three (medium) and four-to-five (long) years? These objectives must be quantified and prioritised wherever possible. You may project your aims or vision for your business further into the future of course, which is feasible for types of business which are reasonable mature, stable and predictable. For such businesses some people might regard four-to-five years as medium term rather than long term. However, life and work and business and the world as whole all change far more quickly and unpredictably than in times past, so in some sectors (notably those seriously dependent upon or affected by modern technology) it's quite difficult to imagine reliably what your business will need to be like much beyond four or five years. In the modern age it's not easy, and often is not sensible either, to establish very specific and detailed aims much beyond four-to-five years into the future, especially if your business is in a sector that is prone to external influences.

Define your 'Mission Statement'.

All the best businesses have a 'mission statement', or at least a clear and repeatable description of your businesses purpose, from the standpoint of your products/services in your market. A mission statement announces clearly and succinctly to your staff, shareholders and customers what you are in business to do. Your mission statement may build upon a general 'service charter' relevant to your industry, but it must also say what's special or different about your business. Aiming to be 'the best' or 'the leading' provider/supplier, etc., in your chosen sector/niche/territory is a good approach to defining a mission statement. Consider what you can be the best at doing for your stated target market or audience. The act of producing and announcing the mission statement is an excellent process for focusing attention on the business's priorities, and particularly the emphasis on customer service. If your business is modern and good you will be able also to reference your organisational 'Philosophy' and set of organisational 'Values', both of which are really helpful in providing fundamental referencing or 'anchoring' points, by which to clarify aspects of what the organisation or business unit aims to do, what its purpose is, and how the organisation behaves and conducts itself.

Define your 'Product/Service Offer(s)'.

You must define clearly what you are providing to your customers in terms of individual products, or more appropriately, services. You should have one for each main area of business activity, or sector that you serve. Under normal circumstances competitive advantage is increased the more you can offer things your competitors cannot. Develop your service offer to emphasise your strengths, which should normally relate to your business objectives, in turn being influenced by corporate aims and market research. The tricky bit is translating your view of these services into an offer that means something to your customer. The definition of your service offer must make sense to your customer in terms that are advantageous and beneficial to the customer, not what is technically good, or scientifically sound. Think about what your service, and the manner by which you deliver it, means to your customer. In the selling profession, this perspective is referred to as translating features into benefits. The easiest way to translate a feature into a benefit is to add the prompt 'which means that...'. For example, if a strong feature of a business is that it has 24-hour opening , this feature would translate into something like:

"We're open 24 hours (feature) which means that you can get what you need when you need it - day or night."

Clearly this offers a significant benefit over competitors who only open 9 - 5.

Your service-offer should be an encapsulation of what you do best, that you want to do more of to meet your business objectives, stated in terms that will make your customers think 'yes, that means something to me, and my life will be better if I have it.'

Write business plan - include costs, resources and 'sales' targets.

Your business plan, which deals with all aspects of the resource and management of the business, will include many decisions and factors fed in from the marketing process. It will state sales and profitability targets by activity. There may also be references to image and reputation, and to public relations. All of these issues require some investment and effort if they are to result in a desired effect, particularly any relating to increasing numbers of customers and revenue growth. You would normally describe and provide financial justification for the means of achieving these things, together with customer satisfaction improvement, in a marketing plan.

Quantify what you need from the market.

Before attending to the detail of how to achieve your marketing aims you need to quantify clearly what they are. How many new customers? Limit of customer losses? Sales values from each sector? Profit margins per service, product, sector? Percentage increase in total sales revenues? Market share required? Improvement in customer satisfaction? Reduction in customer complaints? Response times? Communication times?

Write your marketing plan.

Your marketing plan is actually a statement, supported by relevant financial data, of how you are going to develop your business.

"What you are going to sell to whom, when and how you are going to sell it, and how much you will sell it for."

In most types of businesses it is also essential that you include measurable aims concerning customer service and satisfaction.

The marketing plan will have costs that relate to a marketing budget in the business plan. The marketing plan will also have revenue and gross margin/profitability targets that relate to the turnover and profitability in the business plan. The marketing plan will also detail quite specifically those activities, suppliers and staff issues critical to achieving the marketing aims.

Being able to refer to aspects of organisational Philosophy and Values is very helpful in formulating the detail of a marketing plan.

Back to marketing index.

marketing is more than selling and advertising

Marketing provides the means by which the organisation or business projects itself to its audience, and also how it behaves and interacts in its market. It is essential therefore that the organisation's philosophy and values are referenced and reinforced by every aspect of marketing. In practical terms here are some of the areas and implications:

There are staffing and training implications especially in selling and marketing, because people are such a crucial aspect.

Your people are unlikely to have all the skills they need to help you implement a marketing plan. You may not have all the people that you need so you have to consider justifying and obtaining extra. Customer service is acutely sensitive to staffing and training. Are all your people aware of what your aims are? Do they know what their responsibilities are? How will you measure their performance? Many of these issues feed back into the business plan under human resources and training, where budgets need to be available to support the investment in these areas. People are the most important part of your organisation, and the success of your marketing activity will stand or fall dependent on how committed and capable your people are in performing their responsibilities. Invest in your people's development, and ensure that they understand and agree with where the organisation is aiming to go. If they do not, then you might want to reconsider where you are going.

Create a Customer Service Charter.

You should formulate a detailed 'Customer Service Charter', or customer service , extending both your mission statement and your service offer, so as to inform staff and customers what your standards are. When you have very few staff (like one or two) it is possible to communicate these ideas without necessarily writing them all down, but more than this really requires some sort of written record of these standards. In any event it is good to be able to show these statements of intent and quality to your customers. These standards can cover quite detailed aspects of your service, such as how many times the telephone will be permitted to ring until the caller is gets an answer. Other issues might include for example: How you deal with complaints. How you handle suggestions and requests from customers. What your waiting/delivery leadtimes are. How many days between receipt and response for written correspondence. These expectations should where relevant also be developed into specifically agreed standards of performance for certain customers or customer groups - often called Service Level Agreements (SLA's). Increasingly, customers are interested to know more about the organisation's values and philosophy as they relate to customers, together with more obvious detailed standards of customer service.

Establish a complaints procedure and timescales for each stage.

This charter sets customer expectations, so be sure you can meet them. Customers become disappointed particularly when their expectations are not met, and when so many standards can be set at arbitrary levels, think of each one as a promise that you should keep. Do not set standards that you do not believe you can achieve.

Remember an important rule about customer service: It's not so much the failure to meet standards that causes major dissatisfaction among customers: everyone can make a mistake. The most upset is due to not being told in advance of a problem, not receiving any apology, not getting any explanation why, and not hearing what's going to be done to put things right.

Establish systems to measure customer service and staff performance.

These standards need to be absolutely measurable. You must keep measuring your performance against them, and preferably publishing the results, internally and externally.

Customer complaints handling is a key element.

Measuring customer complaints is crucial because they are a service provider's barometer of quality and performance. You need to have a scheme which encourages, not discourages, customers to complain. Some surveys have found that nine out of ten people do not complain to the provider when they feel dissatisfied. But every one of them will tell at least a couple of their friends or relations. It is imperative that you capture these complaints in order to:

  • Fix the problem, and/or explain what you can do to address it and minimise its implications, if it cannot be fixed.

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