How can you be of help to your customers and prospects? Shifting focus to this question (and away from “how can we sell something to them“) is the key to Jay Baer’s best-selling book, Youtility. For many, that would represent a major shift in the way they think about marketing. Yet it’s beautiful, because it replaces a flash-in-the-pan attention-grab with being genuinely helpful, which in turn generates trust and loyalty.
Jay says, “be useful”. It sounds incredibly simple. But he’s onto something, and integrating it into what you do could be a very strategic move. Here at Callis, the concept of “know, like, trust” is part of our daily routine: people do business with brands that they know, like, and trust. Yet the stats Baer provides in his book show that more than half of America are distrustful of businesses.
So what does it mean to be useful? Well, you can be useful to me when you provide me with the information I need when I need it… even if there’s not an obvious immediate path to a return on investment for you. Provide that to me, just because you genuinely want to help, and I’ll become fiercely loyal.
But in order to do that first, you have to understand your customer, and know their needs beyond the specific product or service you’d like to provide to them. Then you can put marketing into place that will actually be of value to them.
A great example from the book: the “Hilton Suggests” program, which answers traveler’s questions (even if they aren’t staying in a Hilton). Of course! Travelers need this kind of help. And they’re likely to need it the next time they travel too. Through this program, Hilton shows that they’re both knowledgable and helpful, and they increase the likelihood that future hotel stays will be at a Hilton.
This whole marketing philosophy blends perfectly in the online world. In fact, Youtility and online marketing seem made for each other. Youtility, by Jay Baer, is available in hardback, Kindle, and even as an Audio-book. If you’re in marketing, you really owe it to yourself to pick up a copy.
What’s the best example of a company being a “Youtility” (online or offline) that you’ve personally experienced recently? If you’ve got one, please share it. I’d love to hear it.