Thursday, April 01, 2010

Marketing Strategy : After Marketing

What Will You Do After Marketing

Originally published here at

Marketing in conventional sense has been defined as the process where organizations and individuals satisfy their needs and wants by creating and exchanging offerings of value. After -Marketing is a term that denotes the activities that a firm undertakes after the sale is completed.

Usually after-marketing activities are broadly understood as after-sales service. After-Marketing is more than the service support that is given after-sales. In the case of a product that needs service support like automobiles or in the business marketing, after sales service is a relevant and forms a major component of After-Marketing.

But in the case of a product like soap, there is no scope for after-sales service but there is a scope for after-marketing activities. While traditional marketing emphasis on activities till the sale is done, after-marketing strategies starts after the sales are made. These activities will take the simple transaction of buying and selling to the next level of relationship marketing. A relationship between the buyer and seller will depend a lot on what the seller does after the order is signed.

While After-Sales Service activities are applicable to products and services that require service support, After-Marketing is applicable for all products and services.

Define the After-Marketing Activities

The first step in After-Marketing is the recognition of the fact that sale is not the end of the relationship but a beginning of a relationship. And relationship is more than repeat purchases. In the case of business to business relationship, the after-marketing activities are marked by continuous follow-up by the sales department. In the case of a consumer product which requires service support like a TV or an automobile, the after-marketing activities include the product service support given by the company. In these cases, after –marketing activities are clearly defined and obvious.

For a product like soap or a shampoo, there is no scope for after-sales support. Hence the marketer has to define the concept of after-marketing. This includes what the brand should do after the selling is done and also what it expects the consumer to do after he has bought the product.

Sunsilk expects its consumers to visit their website and participate in discussions and exchange their ideas with the company. The brand has a clear understanding about what it expects the consumers to do after they have used /interacted with the brand. Sunsilk through its website also offers much information to the consumers about hair-care and solving hair-related problems. Thus there is a continuous connection with consumers over and above the transaction of buying a shampoo. This is a planned process that includes investment of resources on the part of the brand to connect with the consumers.

Take Initiative to Connect

After-Marketing activities can be of two types – Active and Passive. Active after-marketing involves reaching out to the consumers and encouraging consumers to interact with the company. Fastrack brand has a presence across various social marketing sites like Twitter through which the brand tries to connect with its existing and potential consumers.

Recently Dettol ran a high profile advertising campaign asking their existing consumers to narrate the various purposes for which they use Dettol. Consumers use Dettol for disinfecting floor, wash the wounds, disinfect the diapers, use it during bathing etc. These insights helped Dettol to run a campaign highlighting the multiple uses of Dettol.

Passive activities are where the brand expects consumers to initiate a connection. Having a toll free number printed on the back of the pack is a passive after-marketing activity while running a contest for consumers to call the company and suggest ideas is an active effort.

After-marketing activities also is aimed at providing a complete experience to the consumers about the product. The success of a product lies in how well the consumer is able to derive maximum from the product. So the marketer should ensure that the consumer use the product completely and thus gains maximum utility from the product.

Take the example of a mobile phone. Now mobile phones are loaded with applications and features and it is often found that consumer seldom uses the many applications in their phones. Unless the consumer fully uses the features, a complete product experience cannot be guaranteed. After-Marketing activities can be planned to equip the consumer to fully use their product. Easy to read manuals, education of consumers by the sales people on the features, web based support etc can be initiated so that the consumer gains the maximum usage from the product.

After –Marketing is not trying to sell more. The frequent SMS’ that is sent to the subscribers by the cellular service providers announcing various offers and schemes often creates irritation because the intention is to sell more. The timely delivery of bills, reminders,acknowledgement of payment received act as good after-marketing activities because the intention is to help the consumer.

Create Loyalty by Sharing

Consumers want solutions not products and marketers have to rise above the products to solve the consumer’s problems. A soap marketer can be a solution provider for hygiene /skin care related problems by sharing information about hygiene and skin care. A toothpaste marketer can be a solution provider of dental related issues and problems through information sharing. Colgate through its website is offering lot of information about dental care and dental hygiene.

In this era where competitors can copy every possible product/service features, after-marketing activities provide an opportunity to create a meaningful differentiation for the marketers. Although these activities require investment of resources , in the long term ,after-marketing activities will define the extent of consumer loyalty commanded by the brand.