Marketing professionals are more than familiar with the 4 Ps of Marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion, but let us introduce you to the 3 Ts of the Customer Journey: Time, Treasure, and Talent which is a term we've coined based upon a proven methodology.
In our client work, we focus on the customer and the essential ingredients necessary in developing a fruitful relationship with what we refer to as the ‘most ideal customer,’ the one who makes or breaks a market for a brand.
There is an urgency with which any enterprise or organization that aims to serve customers (B2B, B2C), recipients & supporters (NGO’s, faith-based organizations, etc.), employers & employees (organizational management) or constituents (government) needs to adopt a set of strategies and tactics for long-term success. The principles of the three Ts form the basis of our success in our businesses, consulting.
We’ve undoubtedly learned and have experienced the lesson that it is far more laborious and costly to attain a new customer than to retain and cultivate an existing one. This is particularly true of those few precious customers who, in the overall scheme of business, represent our core, and are in essence our most ideal customer.
So, what makes the most ideal customer, and how do we seek them out, cultivate a relationship, and retain them over the long term.
We learn and experience that ‘time is money’ and that time spent cultivating customer relationships is valuable, yet we are seldom apprised of other value associated with time.
The first ‘Principle of the Three Ts’ takes TIME to another dimension in valuing those customers who take the time to research, to ask others, to consider alternatives, to engage with the makers, sellers, or purveyors in their quest, and ultimately to make a decision to buy what you are selling.
In marketing and developing a sense of our most ideal customer, we so often neglect to facilitate and honor this TIME commitment.
Well, it’s time to give time it’s due as we realize that the three Ts methodology is in fact a progressive cycle wherein if all elements are engaged positively and proactively, the third T (TALENT) as example, feeds directly back into TIME.
The most shortsighted of marketers, those sellers who typically come and go very quickly, have traditionally focused on the TREASURE as making the sale, taking the customers money in exchange for some good or service… churn baby churn! We on the other hand look at treasure as beyond the exchange of some monetary value for a product or service.
In the Principle of the Three Ts, TREASURE includes the customers use of the product as a key element of a long and fruitful relationship, in essence, their attributed value and appreciation of the product. Now, this may seem a given, of course the customer will use the product, but statistics show otherwise, and we can think of our own experiences in buying but not using a product or service.
This is a failure on the part of the marketer, somehow the features and benefits as sought and secured fail to resonate. This case of disuse results in a sale that is a dead end, for no further value can come to either buyer or seller in this case, rather, it may result in the return of merchandise or otherwise disenfranchisement.
We’ve all experienced and most of us have engaged in some form of word of mouth, it is nothing new that we turn to others to ask for recommendations, and that we love to offer our experiences and opinions with others, the good but especially the bad. This first element of TALENT has exploded in reach, frequency in recent years thanks to social and more specifically interest-based media. (Social – Think Facebook, Zoom, etc. Interest – Think Amazon Reviews, Yelp, Pinterest, TripAdvisor, or a platform that blends both as in the case of Instagram). There is a sharing or feedback platform for nearly every demography and psyche today, with behaviors ranging from casual observance and sharing to ‘professional influencers’ who are increasingly becoming the voice and visualization of many brands. The challenge for marketers is to what extent (qualitative and quantitative) they are engaging with customers across these platforms and not overlooking this critical opportunity to engage.
The second element of TALENT is the great feedback and listening engagement loop that is turning laggards into leaders among those entities ready to make the changes that customers want to see. Whether we are customers or constituents, we are more keen and more likely than ever to share our thoughts, positive and negative alike with those who cater to or serve us. The responsibility here is for the recipient of the feedback to capitalize on the changes suggested.
Some of the top marketers engage their customers but fail to incorporate feedback and requirements for product or service improvement. In the early days of customers engaging social and interest-based media as well reaching out to makers or purveyors, there was some question as to whether and to what extent the company, governmental organization, or NGO needed to be there to engage. Today, there is no question but to be present, to be an empathetic listener, and be ready to improve and evolve products and services based on customers' changing needs and wants.
There are no doubt multiple signs that the ‘times’ as the song says, ‘they are a changing’. The Three Ts of the Customer Journey turn the tide through example for small, medium, and large-scale entities and organizations, including brands and retailers. The time has come again to focus on the needs and wants of customers and the market through empathetic listening, response, and action that further empower an increasingly engaged segment of lead customers and encourages their journey through the cycle that is embodied in the Principle of the Three Ts.
Leading up to the pandemic in 2020, it was clear that the processes of product development and retailing were on two quite disparate tracks, one where cheap, fast, and easy reigned, and where mega-stores and online marketplaces competed for customers based on wide selection, low prices, and fast delivery. On the other hand, social and interest-based medias have brought makers, creatives, small and medium sized businesses, and organizations closer than ever to their customers and constituents, the modus and results align significantly with the Three Ts.
Credibility and authenticity are nurtured and reinforced when we empower customers through active listening, positive response, openness to collaboration, and the reward and satisfaction that comes with respect and gratitude. When we fine tune our messaging of features and benefits, we encourage customer adoption, use, enjoyment, and sharing. The Three Ts are a supportive circular continuum that begins with products, services, and concepts developed in collaboration and communication across the Three Ts and resulting in a continuing cycle of innovation.
Whether you already practice some aspects, or you would like to develop an entire program, at Modus Condito we develop, refine, and implement programs for myriad industry entities of all sizes, needs, and capabilities. Furthermore, distinctly unique to our approach, we work with our clients to train their core staff or develop the staff and support necessary to maintain and grow these efforts long-term. We look forward to learning about your business or organization, the type of customer journey you envision, and helping develop and implement the means to achieve success.