There’s been a lot of press coverage lately about “modern” convenience stores. The verdict seems to be that convenience stores of the future are very individual focused, offer healthy options, and embrace technology. Those are all great attributes, but how do convenience store chains need to change their marketing to communicate their evolving value to customers?
INBOUND VS. OUTBOUND
Businesses in all industries are finding that inbound marketing can be a lot more effective and affordable than traditional outbound methods. Outbound marketing includes most of traditional advertising: radio ads, tv, billboards, etc. These are marketing tactics that interrupt the user from whatever they’re doing.
Inbound marketing is non-interruptive. It earns attention organically. Common inbound marketing tactics are blogging, opt-in emails, books, public speaking, community building, and word of mouth. The idea is that the marketing itself is something of value to the customer, so the customer is more willing to build a relationship with the company.
Speaking of value, it’s important that customers see the value in your company and your product offerings. You already design your location, stock, pricing, and environment to maximize both value and convenience for your customers. But does your marketing show both your value to the customer and the values you hold as a company?
Value-centric marketing puts the emphasis on the “why” of what you do. You strive to offer your customers the best products at the best price. Why? Because you want to improve your area by providing easier access to healthy choices. You design your locations to feel like a second home. Why? Because you appreciate the long hours truck drivers put in and feel that they deserve their stops to be pleasant and comfortable. When you bring these “whys” to the front of your marketing, you attract people who believe in your mission and want to support it.
LETTING THE CUSTOMERS SPEAK
Every business knows that it’s important to listen to their customers, but businesses today must actively give their customers the opportunity to speak. This means to ask for reviews on industry sites. It means to encourage discourse in social media channels and on their blog. And it means to share what they say with other customers and potential customers. Because what other people say about you is a lot more convincing than what you say about yourself.
What marketing tactics do you think are most effective for modern convenience stores? Share in the comments!