By Todd Murphy | November 15th, 2011
Let me start off by saying at Universal Information Services there are some clients I do not want to date. Not because they are too much work, or a pain in the neck, or their margin is too low, but rather because they are already in a love affair with their current vendor. This post briefly explores the accelerating nature of marketing through the #newtools of social media, but focuses more on the #samerules of a positive customer relationship and why that leads to lasting love between client and vendor.
In the news monitoring industry, there are only a handful of services that provide complete news monitoring, media contact management and releasing, plus the ability to analyze all your media exposure…some would call that the whole package. There are many more news monitoring services that service a part of our industry by focusing on broadcast news, or media measurement, but few who can do it all. Therefore, in order to grow we must feed off of each others clients for a certain percentage of client base growth.
Through social media tools like Youtube, Facebook, and especially Twitter, we can amplify our message related to our strengths and relay testimonials from existing clients to prospective clients. I would call that advertising that we are “available to date”. Primarily a “pull” marketing tool, the fun social media tools actually provide some great inbound opportunities. Yet, we still maintain a “push” marketing effort to reach out to those who haven’t yet found the value in social media. Being honest with myself, I estimate 80% of our prospects are using one of our competitors. Therefore, in order to get to that 80% we must pull them away from a service like cision, Critical Mention, or TVEyes. At Universal Information Services I can tell you we don’t want most of their clients. We only want clients who are unhappy and considering some kind of change. I would call those clients “available and hot”.
As a user of services, news monitoring or otherwise, you should really think twice before dumping your current vendor for the “promise” of something better. Ask yourself these two questions before entertaining a pitch from a service competing against your current vendor.
1. Am I satisfied that I’m paying a fair price to my vendor in exchange for the services they are giving me?
2. Am I satisfied and pleased with the level of customer service, support and results my current vendor is giving me?
When we find a prospect that is happy on both accounts with their current vendor, that is a signal to move on. Realistically, my service will always be competing against what was considered by this client to be a good service. Not that I can’t compete and surpass the quality of my competitors, but it is not the best position to be in when you will always be compared to an enjoyable relationship. It’s kind of like dating a new person and having them continually talk about how great their old boyfriend or girlfriend was. Fundamentally, no news monitoring service can keep all of their clients happy all of the time. At Universal Information Services we hope to help those who are looking for better quality, faster turnaround times, or a more competitive cost for the services they need. In other words, we want to only “date” those clients that are really ready to move on or are unattached.
If you answered yes to the above two questions, I would suggest you tell the next competing vendor, “I’m flattered, but I’m seeing someone else”. This can help save you much time spent listening to pitches for services you don’t need to change, and will also let the competing vendor move on to a better prospect…not that anyone wants to be “that guy” at the bar.
Simply, if you are happy with your vendor stay with them…reward them for breaking their back to make sure you get the best service possible. If you find a competitor pitching a tool you need, ask your current vendor if they can provide that tool as well. Open communication is the key to any relationship. More often than not, your current vendor has all the same tools AND knows exactly how you want to work…already. This is in your best interest as you’ve invested months or even years into a relationship with your current vendor. How much is that investment worth to you and how long might it take to establish a functional relationship with a new vendor? Changing vendors does not come without costs.
I’m very interested in the psychology of “change”. I’d love to hear your thoughts on why you change or don’t change when a new vendor comes calling. Of course, if you’re not seeing anyone, metaphorically, give me a call. I’d love to meet you.