By Heather Moery
Special to The Sun
Kelly McDonald, national best-selling author and marketing and advertising expert, was honored as a keynote speaker at Friday’s Edmond Chamber of Commerce 2013 Women’s Power Luncheon.
McDonald, who is considered one of the nation’s top experts in multicultural marketing and consumer trends, spoke about diversity marketing and customer experiences at the luncheon at the Quail Creek Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City.
McDonald said diversity, from gender to values, can alter our customer experiences. She explained the “purchase funnel,” in which all consumers go through starting with awareness of the product or service to preference to advocacy.
“We want them to be a rabid advocate,” McDonald said. “We are always striving for advocacy. Every stage of the funnel matters.”
McDonald said larger companies can fail at this sometimes. She gave an example of an older gentleman who went into an Apple store to purchase the new iPhone 5 and it took 22 minutes for him to be waited on, which he accredited to his age.
“Even Apple with a magic product can fail,” she said. “He loves his phone, but all he talks about is his purchase process.”
McDonald then spoke about how different types of consumers care about different things. For instance, she said women want security, such as how Safelite emails pictures of the repair man to the customer before going to the residence to repair a broken windshield. She added that men hate ironing, which resulted in Omni Hotels offering free ironing of two garments for select guest members.
McDonald also spoke about how products differ by region, including Macy’s, which sells larger pans in areas like Salt Lake City that have larger family sizes and sells white clothing and women’s church hats in Atlanta that has an increased churchgoer population.
McDonald said in order to figure out what people want is to do three things: ask them, hire diversity and pay attention to trends.
Simply by asking, McDonald gave an example of how a Florida pastor was trying to build his congregation and, after asking people, he discovered most responses were that people didn’t have anything nice to wear. The pastor then opened a church at the gym, which has been a success. The same pastor will also be opening a church next to a tattoo parlor as well.
McDonald said hiring diversity also can help your product or service. McDonald said hiring those who are younger and know how to utilize social media, text messaging and email, as well as hiring the right person, not the résumé, and those with empathy, who pick up on subtleties and are resourceful and gracious, can boost your business.
The last item to help figure out what people want is to pay attention to trends. McDonald gave an example of how Pepsi Social now offers a vending machine that will ask you if you want to send a drink to your friend.
McDonald also said businesses also need to communicate in “their” language, such as women who want the truth and men who want choices simplified.
McDonald said businesses must also respond to every issue and complaint no matter how small.
“They may seem small and petty, but if someone contacts you, then it’s a big deal,” she said.
In her conclusion, McDonald said customer experiences sets businesses apart and is “100 percent in your control.”
McDonald has written two books, “How to Market to People Not Like You” and “Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You.”
Keynote speaker Professor Victoria McKee also spoke about the history of women in leadership at the event.
Morgan Boswell, coordinator of Programs and Special Events with the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce, said 122 women members from the chamber, as well as a good number of non-members, registered for the luncheon. Boswell said changing the format of the event from a half-day conference to a three-hour conference helped increase their numbers.
Committee chairwoman Angie Johnson, one of the founders of the conference, said this year’s turnout exceeded expectations.
“We are creating more value in a shorter amount of time,” Johnson said. “We are excited that for our fifth anniversary, we were able to grow, alter and strengthen the value of the event and we look forward to many years to come.”
Those who attended the event visited exhibitor booths, as well as attended an organized networking session Friday morning.
The Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for the Woman of the Year Award. To make a nomination, call the chamber at 341-2808.