Any pertinent feedback survey essentially asks the question, “Are you an end-user?”. As evaluators of your product and service offerings, the final or end-users are the ones who validate your business mission. The stamp of loyalty they cast upon your brand becomes the relevant metric to measure the profitability of the business venture. When compared to new clients, who come at nothing but a cost, the returning customer is always more accommodating, more frequent and can become brand ambassadors for the business.
- Identifying the right end-users
Most businesses do not understand the difference between end-users and customers. In the marketing chain, there are a lot of intermediaries between the producer and the end-user. The end-user is the last and crucial link in a sale. He is the one who actually uses the product or services. A customer may not always be the end-user.
A customer is the one who purchases it from the producer for various purposes including resale, value-added resale, retailing and the likes. For example a parent purchasing a toy is a customer, whereas the child who gets to play with the toy is the end user. A company buying health insurance for employees is a customer for the insurance company, whereas the employees are the end-users. Even before using end-user marketing as a tool for cultivating loyalty, businesses need to pitch to the right end-users.
- Bridging the gap between the seller and the end-user
For diversification of trade and commerce it is unwise to assume that the business can come into actual contact with their end-user, every time a product is sold. However, understanding the end-user must begin right from the stage a product design is conceived. Irrespective of the number of middlemen involved in the sales channel, the heart of all marketing endeavors is the end user. Increasing end-user engagement does not necessarily mean personal selling. Using technology, end user interactions can be achieved through content marketing strategies, impeccable customer service, customer profiling and market intelligence activities, conducting feedback surveys and many such go-to-market endeavors.
- Focus on product accessibility, portability and usability
The process does not end with identifying the end-user and communicating your brand value. Pro-active end-user marketing strategies appeal to them and present solutions to problems that exist or, will exist in the future. There has been a considerable shift from the paradigm of product orientation to customer orientation. In the past, end-user analysis came into the picture, only during the stage of marketing and business development. But in the present era of consumerism, product designers start building their prototypes, based on end-user needs and preferences. The product design is only a part of end-user marketing. Making the product available in the vicinity of the end-user, making it user-friendly with ample usage instructions, eco-friendly packaging, focusing on product portability, service accessibility and timely delivery have all become the prime goals of matching end-user expectations leading to customer retention.
- Piloting and product testing strategies
Products used to be tested for flawless designs; for meeting all those technical specifications; for ensuring adherence to design schedules. But the new age customer retention plans demands testing the product for end-user acceptance. Prospective customers are engaged right from conceptualization of product design. Product sampling and pilot launches are undertaken for extracting feedback and buying preliminary concurrence of key product parameters that are important from the perspective of the end-user. The returns warranted by customer retention and longevity are much more when compared to those that are achieved by saving production costs.
- Measuring and analyzing user engagement
Understanding end-users is the precursor for building designs with best UX (user experience) quotients. Nowadays, most end-users are tech-savvy and expect their brands to perform to the fullest. Building responsive web designs that allow end-users to access your web page from anywhere (home, work or on-the-go) and through any source (PC, Laptop, Tablet or Mobile), will improve chances of conversion and retention. It becomes imperative to track and analyze end-user engagement. It is not always sales data that are synthesized for business development.
A business needs to track every channel of end-user interaction. Number of visits to the web pages, quality of social media interactions, number of clicks on ads, ratings and reviews given by end-users are key indicators of end-user’s behavioural patterns. Monitor such engagements for frequency of visits, duration of interactions in preference to the traditional sales volume analysis. Follow-up on shopping cart abandonment issues to get to the bottom of the issues that customers might face.
The customer service personnel are the backbones of end-user satisfaction. Complaints, returns, grievances and suggestions are the most relevant avenues for understanding how best your offerings confirm to the expectations of the end-user. These analytics must necessarily feed into the customer retention loop so that the products hit the bull’s eye of end-user acceptance.
- Customization and personalization
Fine-tune your product for hassle-free end-use. The same product may be used by different end-users for different purposes. For example, a mobile service provider has different kinds of end-users. A marketing executive may use his mobile connection mostly for sending messages and calling. Students may focus on games and chatting services. When the end-user realizes that the product architects have kept in mind their needs and functional requirements, they feel pampered and this becomes the starting point of customer retention.
The option to design your own T-shirt, the flexibility to decide your own mobile plan and the fun in embossing the photos of your near and dear ones onto cakes and coffee mugs, are some trending demonstrations of appealing to the end-user, so that the product is tailored to meet individual whims and desires. Such personalized targeting of end-users extend not only to sales, but even to the way they browse the net when they look for purchasing products. Behavioral retargeting strategies are used to tap end-user intent.
A word of caution for the dedicated product developers is to not get carried away by marketing myopia at the expense of ignoring the end-user perceptive. As much as a newly discovered product attribute may contribute to performance, cost-reduction or brand appeal enhancement, it is of little value to the customer retention process, unless the end-user pain points are identified and resolved.