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Understanding children is a challenge. As infants their only communication method is to cry. As toddlers they can begin to communicate with words, but often when communication efforts fail they revert to crying. As teens the communication gap only grows. With the evolution of slang and technology, communicating with the younger generations is still challenging and still results in tantrums. Of course, there are ways to ease this communication gap. As babies, my kids learned sign language. While I didn’t catch on to all of it, I did learn “more” and “please”. As kids age, we as parents work to better understand the slang and jargon used. Perhaps we listen to the music our kids listen to, or watch the same shows they do. It’s very much like learning a foreign language. A foreign language you must learn in order to survive, and when breaks in communication occur, so can breaks in relationships. translation.jpg

As marketers we hear repeatedly the importance of speaking the same language as your customers and prospects. This is absolutely true. But it’s very difficult to speak the language of customers when the language spoken between sales and marketing is so foreign that neither can communicate what needs to be communicated to the customer. I learned this first hand when evaluating the use of marketing content and sales tools.

Marketing had spent the better part of a year conducting content audits, segmenting content, and mapping content. In marketing, and in our content audits, we classify our buy-cycle stages as “Interest”, “Educate”, “Evaluate”, “Justify”, and “Purchase”. Along with the content auditing, we had launched several sales tools to our sales organization. When reviewing the activity over the previous 8 months, I found the usage of the tool was acceptable, but not completely leveraged. And while the content and tools were used, they weren’t used when they should be used. A lot of early stage content was delivered later in the buy-cycle. When speaking with those using the tools I discovered that they were unclear when “Interest” content should be used vs. “educate content”. The folder structure of our content within the sales tool was also confusing. Our problem was that sales and marketing weren’t speaking the same language.

While marketing understood the terminology and content types used in those phases, our sales teams did not. We tried to force our language on sales. Our sales teams break their buy-cycle stages out as “Try”, “Approach”, and then they classify “Work In Progress” stage 0-5. These are the stages sales reports on to upper management, and the stages classified in our CRM system. We knew we needed to adjust our terminology so it would align with our sales classifications. We decided to map our marketing stages to their buying stages and then reclassify the content mapping used by sales. Now when sales uses a template, based on the phase identified in the CRM system, they can select the appropriate buy-cycle folder and view content relevant to that specific phase.

When studying foreign languages in school I was taught the best way to learn was to completely immerse myself in that language and culture. This is still applicable when referring to learning the language of your teens, your customers, or your sales teams. Guessing about what words mean, or worse, forcing your language on someone else, will only result in confusion, un-productivity, and relationship disrepair.

Immerse yourself, learn the language, and then speak it. Do you speak the same language as others in your organization?

When conducting a channel audit, many manufacturing marketers will list websites, partner portals, social channels, events, emails, and direct mail.  When pushed on product registration they’ll defer to customer support or sales.  Product registration is viewed as a secondary tactic for collecting explicit profile information, but not for improving the customer experience and hardly ever as a marketing channel.


And because marketing doesn’t “own” the product registration channel, it’s not optimized with the customer in mind.  Many product registration processes are complex, requiring registration keys, activation codes, and passwords.  According to one report, 2 in 5 people would rather scrub a toilet than come up with a new password.   Many manufacturers still design their product registration process around the manual effort of the customer.  They require an individual to search, select, print, manually fill out information, mail in the documentation, and then check back for confirmation. These complexities deter most customers from registering products.  And this hurts manufacturers.  Product registration is insight into a customers’ profile, usage, and behavior. product_registration_308x168.jpg


Simplify the Process

But companies like Registria are enabling companies to extend product registration beyond a printed PDF or a simple form capture on a website. Manufacturers can still leverage paper and online registration, but they can also optimize product registration for mobile and IoT.  With the elimination of apps, downloads, and QR Codes (because that’s so 2011), users can text a photo or a registration code to register a product. This allows manufacturers to reach 100% of their mobile audience.  Many Registria customers have seen a 5X increase in registration rates as well as a reduction in cost per registration.


Develop a Comprehensive Understanding of the Customer

Manufacturers can also begin to build out customer profiles that extend beyond basic contact information. Optimized product registration models allow companies to capture additional profile channel information like SKU, model #, manufacture date, batch number, and action with 100% accuracy. And don’t underestimate data accuracy; 88% of customers have admitted to providing false product registration information. And this information isn’t just a “nice to have”.  If manufacturers want to sustain, they must capture this information, develop these profiles, and then use the data.

In order for manufacturers to covert buyers into advocates, monetize relationships post-purchase through up-sell and cross-sell programs, and improve customer experience through service and support, they must collect the information that will provide the greatest understanding of the customer, and the behavior of the customer.


Delivering a Proactive Customer Experience

This is especially beneficial when considering IoT devices.  Capturing installation feedback, ratings, reviews or in depth product-in-use data is terrific, but using that information to provide a better support experience, proactively inform on use and opportunity to save, and alert to new offerings is very beneficial.  Manufacturers can become proactive in their support and communications, instead of reactive to problems after they occur.


An optimized product registration channel enables self-service for customers to access information about product features, installed parameters, utilization, warranties and events.  And agents can access owner information, product purchase data, warranty and entitlement information, support tickets, claims and other purchase information in one, streamlined system.  Because manufacturers can track each buyer and their transaction record—whether it’s an inbound support request, activity, RMA, purchase or a product registration—they can also access a reliable 360-degree view of a brand’s interactions with the buyers of their products. 


Monetize Relationships Post-Purchase

In addition to a proactive customer experience and advocacy development, manufacturers can also begin to monetize relationships post-purchase through up-sell and cross-sell programs and after-sale programs.  By leveraging the new data collected and advanced segmentation, companies can develop personalized programs containing educational content, thought leadership content, and timely offers relative to an individual’s previous purchases, buying behavior, and usage of the product.


By automating communications around this data, manufacturers can better leverage all digital marketing channels, offer relevant content and promotions, and harness the opportunity found within the customer life-cycle.


It’s imperative manufacturers, especially marketers, begin to view their product registration process as a viable marketing channel.  Through proper optimization, manufacturers can begin to develop the required 360-degree customer profile inclusive of behavior and usage data.  By harnessing the insight of product registration information, manufacturers can grow revenue, support, and advocacy.

How do you currently manage your product registration process?

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