Selling Print into the Aftermarket

When we think about selling non-transactional print, we think about using it for lead generation and direct sales. But what about the aftermarket? Is this an overlooked opportunity that printers should be selling into?
One of the big talking points among marketers is the customer journey. That journey extends (or should extend) beyond the sale to include post-sales experiences, such as product installation, service, and repair. If the customer has a good experience all the way through, that journey can lead to repeat purchases from that customer and, hopefully, that customer becoming an ambassador for the product or the brand to their friends and family.
In this, marketing can learn from ball sports, such as tennis, golf, and lacrosse. To get the most out of your efforts, you have to follow through.  In a world in which the aftermarket is underserved, this can be a major differentiator for companies that take it seriously. You can help.

Recently, the CMO Council produced a report titled “Elevate What Consumers Appreciate: Increase Brand Attraction by Upgrading Ownership Satisfaction.” This report included some fascinating statistics:

  • 60% of consumers rate post-purchase experience as underwhelming.
  • 56% of consumers are disappointed with the service they receive from retailers and e-commerce sites.
  • Only 17% of consumers think brands care what happens after they purchase.

So how can you help your customers improve their customers’ aftermarket experience? Think about the different aspects of that experience and where print or other marketing tools you offer can help to improve it.
Consider these typical aftermarket issues:

  • Technical help or assistance with installation
  • Repair and maintenance
  • User instruction and training
  • Warranty claims processing
  • Product returns

How could better, clearer communication, better labeling, in-store signage, and other communication tools (including video) be used to improve these experiences?
For example, what if your customers added QR Codes to their labeling that lead to training videos or that automatically launch their 800 support number? AR on packaging that shows how to install or assemble the product? Refrigerator magnets with support phone numbers inside the packaging?

But aftermarket care is not just for when customers have problems. How about encouraging follow-up emails or text messages just to see how their customers like the product? To see if they need help or if they have questions? Customers notice when companies follow up, and (as the data show) they certainly notice when they don’t. How about follow-up surveys, whether in print or email, to ask about the product, the service, and the overall shopping experience?
These are all areas where the communications channels you offer can play a critical role in a consumers’ aftermarket experience.  According to the CMO Council survey, 55% of manufacturers and 71% of retailers see customer lifetime relationship and revenue potential in the aftermarket.  Yet only 19% of manufacturers make more than 10% of their revenue from aftermarket services. Only 65% of retailers do. That’s a lot of missed opportunity.
There are opportunities here for your customers—and opportunities for you, as well. Is the customer’s aftermarket in your marketing plan?

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  1. Dennis Beck August 8, 2018 -

    We have done follow up on mailings that we have done for customers especially if we sold them a mailing list. We call and ask how did the mailing go-what kind of response did they get; were they happy with the response. We then follow up again to see if they go leads or sales and if they thought about doing the mailing again etc.,
    We also follow up, but not as much as we should, to simply call and ask the customer if they liked the product we produced for them. We ask if there was anything that we could do better etc., I like making calls rather than an e mail that asks for a comment. I think the call can generate more sales and it makes it more personal.

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