Your First Point of Contact for a Customer Needs Analysis

Steve Errico is co-owner of Riverworks Marketing and he brings his extensive expertise to the table each and every day when it comes to developing strategies for Riverworks clients. Anyone who’s worked with him can see how Steve’s comprehensive understanding of general business and marketing can help any company reach its objectives quickly and effectively.

With a diverse background in finance, human resources, marketing, operations and sales management, his wealth of experience gives him a solid base for understanding most business circumstances. Clients are typically pleased with how quickly we can understand the fundamentals of their business and then turn the positive features of their business into marketing messages and content that can be used to connect with the needs of their clients.

Steve is a valuable resource for any business reviewing their marketing landscape in pursuit of enhanced success. He understands that marketing plans must be customized and designed around the individual circumstances of a business, aided by the latest advances in technology and marketing tactics.

Most clients meet Steve at their initial consultation.

The first step in the Riverworks Process is an initial consultation to better understand the client’s overall business, budget and goals.

“Most new clients call or email Riverworks with a specific need or a deficit that needs to be addressed. Being a boutique marketing agency, we aren’t confined to a set list of products or services that we are compelled to sell. We tailor solutions to clients’ budgets and specific needs. For new businesses especially, cash is king. The budget for a new business is a limited resource, they need to make every dollar count, especially those first few years.”

The in-person consultation that follows a client’s initial phone call or email is sometimes referred to as a customer needs analysis (CNA). It is a critical step in our marketing process, and we don’t start executing strategies for customers until we have a solid understanding of their business.

“We talk until I’m confident we understand the business. I can’t help a business if I don’t understand what they do and what makes them successful. Once I understand the important leverage points in the business, I focus on the client’s goals. Sometimes they aren’t perfectly clear on what might take them to the next level, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Reviewing your business and determining your next goals and strategies can be very difficult because you are so close to it. I try to give them objective feedback and an outside perspective that can help generate actionable ideas and carve a path forward.”

What suggestions might come from the customer needs analysis?

A preliminary step in a customer needs analysis is to determine the obstacles that are impeding the business. They may not feel their website is properly reflecting the true value proposition of the company. Or, they have a service that they believe is valuable but haven’t determined how to generate leads for that service. They might also feel that they just aren’t being found online by enough people who can use their services or products.

“Regardless of the problems they present, we attempt to explore those issues and validate their thoughts through data, if it is available. We will often review their current web activity in Google Analytics to see if their feelings are validated by the web traffic.”

The target audience is also an important variable to consider when evaluating a marketing plan.. This involves understanding the demographics, behaviors, and psychographics of the audience that a new client is trying to reach. We also need to understand the perceived value they are bringing to this target audience and what pain points they are attempting to eliminate.

“We focus on the most important benefits the service or product brings to their customers and how that differentiates them in the competitive environment. These are the source of the key marketing messages we develop and exploit on their website and through the numerous types of campaigns we execute on the various platforms.”

Clients end that initial consultation with a modified perspective of their business and some new thoughts about how to engage their target audience. Within a week we develop a proposal with a proposed marketing strategy for the next few months along with estimated costs.

“All of our strategies are customized for the specific circumstances of the business. We take all their unique variables into consideration and prioritize their strategies so that their budget is dedicated to the campaigns we believe are most likely to result in the best return on investment and accomplish their stated goals.”

How did Steve come to Riverworks Marketing Group?

Steve began his professional career in clinical and counseling psychology, receiving a Master’s Degree from Texas Tech University. He practiced in a mostly outpatient setting for several years before returning to school for 30 hours of accounting and working in public accounting and then in the finance department of Southwest Coca-Cola as a Controller and VP of Finance. Because of his background in psychology and his reputation as a strong personnel supervisor, he was asked to move laterally in his company and became the VP of Human Resources.

His advancement of the TQM movement in the company and internal business consulting landed him the job of President of Automated and Custom Food Services, the affiliated foodservice company of Southwest Coca-Cola, headquartered in Dallas Texas. He operated successfully for several years growing revenue from $22MM to $36MM over 5 years. After the sale of Southwest Coca-Cola, the company decided to grow the food service portion of the business through acquisitions and grew to over $115MM in a 6 State area over 12 months.

Steve left Custom Food Service in 2000 to become the COO of Five Star Food Service, a $145MM company headquartered in Dalton Georgia. He later became the CEO and Chairman of the Board. He left the business in 2008 after a large transaction and joined his wife’s design firm to expand into the growing digital marketing sector. They have steadily grown the business since that time serving hundreds of customers in the Chattanooga area and across the country.

Today, Steve leads RWM as a collaborative strategist and an empowering mentor.

There are many benefits to working with Steve as a client, but we would be remiss if we didn’t share what it’s like to work for Steve. There isn’t an at-work Steve, a training Steve, or a personal-life Steve, there is just Steve. He is authentically himself in every environment. That honesty allows us, as his employees, to feel safe in being ourselves as well. Each day he inspires and empowers us to achieve excellence, not just for Riverworks but also for our own personal development.