When devising marketing strategies for your business, it is always a good idea to take a look at all the tools available. In a recent Phoenix Business Journal article, guest blogger Meredith Munger highlighted the sometimes overlooked value in phones, predicting a revival of personalized customer service.


"While everyone clamors about the power of the internet, I see the pendulum swinging back to a new balance between cost and customer service," Munger wrote. "Certainly my own focus group of one person (me) indicates a level of frustration with internet-based customer service. I hate downloading user manuals from the computer. I hate trolling through that ironically labeled 'knowledge base' only to find questions that don't fit my questions, much less the answers I need. Finally, I admit, I like my hand to be held when I'm putting together my children's toys the night before their birthday party."


Munger makes an excellent point and it's worth noting. Especially in recent times, there has been a significant trend toward automated customer service, which, while typically effective in cutting business costs, can produce a fair amount of disconnect with the customer as well as frustration. In industries that are particularly consumer-focused, it could make sense to ramp up more personalized marketing initiatives.


One idea that Munger noted is to implement a vanity phone number for your business, like 1-800-BUILD-IT (Fonality’s is 1 877 FONALITY), so that customers can easily remember phone numbers and connect on a more personalized level. Vanity phone numbers that begin with 1-800 are free to customers, so they are more likely to contact a business. This can provide businesses with valuable opportunities to interact on a personal level with customers. In addition, vanity phone numbers can be excellent means for tracking marketing campaigns or sales leads and the data can be integrated into a business’s CRM system.


"This allows small businesses to see whether the people they've been targeting actually make the phone call to buy, or even whether they are good leads," Munger wrote. "With phone tracking, you're validating the quality of leads by readiness, and you're reeling the customer in with personalized interaction. That's value worth calling for."


While the phone can be extremely valuable for marketing, that doesn't negate the value in other tools. Smart businesses will use all available tools to their advantage. A recent article for The Blackpool Gazette explained that many small businesses operate solely online, using their website to, for example, sell and provide additional information about products.


While using phone can be an excellent way to set a business apart from those using strictly web-based marketing strategies, the smart marketer will understand that it all comes down to placing the right resources in the right places. A company can optimize its website to provide the best possible content, use SEO to drive visits to its site, promote its brand through a company blog and a variety of social media initiatives and collect data from the internet to perform analytics and integrate with its CRM system. Using a variety of platforms to reach the consumer is a smart way to cover the bases and make business resources available in many forms. This will likely translate to a broader customer base and increased business success.