“The right message x the right number of times = results” is a marketing strategy that absolutely works. However, even the best advertising campaigns won’t help you overcome a poor or inconsistent customer experience. If you are losing customers to a poor marketing bridge, there is only one person to blame…yourself. Thankfully, you can protect your advertising investment by ensuring your marketing bridge is solid.
What is The Marketing Bridge?
The marketing bridge is defined as all of the forces combined to make a sale. Advertising only accounts for 20 percent of whether or not you make a sale, and keep customers coming back to you. The other 80% relate to your Marketing Bridge. Your marketing bridge describes your customer experience: everything from the cleanliness of your store, to your pricing, product display, a customer's experience with your staff, and even your bathrooms.
The first step in ensuring a solid marketing bridge is defining the concept. You build trust by ensuring that the experience you are advertising is consistent with the experience a customer has when they walk through the door. A marketing bridge is basically an analysis of every customer touchpoint. It’s anything that communicates with your customer what your business is about and how they will be treated when they do business with you. If your marketing bridge is out of alignment, then customers will have a bad experience and won't come back. That's a problem that no amount of marketing can fix.
Here’s how to make sure you aren’t inadvertently sabotaging your own efforts when it comes to creating an effective marketing bridge:
The Cost of a Bad Marketing Bridge
A good example of a bad marketing bridge is as follows: A mechanic shop advertises messages created to appeal to women. The message explains why they should trust this particular shop with their car care. However, when a woman walks into the shop, she sees dead bugs in the corner, messy bathrooms and smells oil and grease. When she picks up her car, there are greasy fingerprints on the steering wheel and dirty boot prints on the floorboard. How likely is this woman to trust this shop with the care of her car, after she has experienced how they handle the care of their shop? She is likely to leave the business and never return.
Sticking with the car care analogy, a good marketing bridge has to consider keeping customers’ experience at the forefront of importance. For example, without a focus on your marketing bridge, your business can look much like a car out of alignment. It isn’t working right. It needs a tune-up. If you fail to make the necessary adjustments, your gas mileage suffers, your tires will get worn and the wear on your engine will increase. In other words, your business is at risk of losing customers. This happens when you have inconsistencies between what you say and what your customers experience. It can also happen when your marketing messages aren't consistent across mediums. Consumers are unconsciously confused, and confusion breeds distrust. Remember, your customer’s opinion matters most. Address this issue soon, before too much damage is done from your being out of alignment.
Not Asking Enough Questions
It’s a good idea to take a hard, long look at your business from a marketing bridge perspective. If this is too difficult for you to do, personally, because you see the businesses in’s and outs on a daily basis, ask family members or friends to critique your business and to be brutally honest. Ask between 5 and 7 of them to come in and shop at your store as if they were a customer you do not know. Then, evaluate their experience. Ask hard questions and be ready for honest answers. Don’t get mad or defensive at any of the responses you might get, instead use this information to improve your marketing bridge. After all, before you learn what is wrong with your business, you can’t possibly fix it. Once you have the results in hand, do your own evaluation as best you can and try to be honest when it comes to your business's shortcomings. Then, compare your answers. Are there issues that are coming up more often than not? If so, these issues are ones you need to correct to ensure that your business’s marketing bridge is sound.
Thankfully, making mistakes with regard to your marketing bridge and customer experience is something that is often easily addressed and corrected. Don’t allow yourself to become the business that invests heavily in bringing customers in the front door to only lose them as they exit quietly out the back, without you even realizing what is happening. Ensure you are giving your marketing bridge the attention and focus it deserves in order to properly prioritize the customer experience. To self-evaluate your business' marketing bridge, download our free marketing bridge grading tool. The results may shock you.