By Lilian Raji
Lilian Raji is a strategic communications and PR adviser who helps companies understand their marketing problems, then designs and executes strategies to solve them.
Happy holidays, dear readers!

We’re breaking from our usual Q&A format to dedicate 2019’s final column to those who’ve shared with me their business-crippling challenges of this year.

Those that know me well know I’m a 20-plus year student of astrology and will happily interpret your personal astrology chart, if you ask me nicely.

No, I’m not talking about those silly horoscopes that give astrology a bad name. I mean a real, mathematics-driven chart, composed of numbers, formulas and calculations.

While I don’t believe we’re governed by the stars, I do believe the stars can decipher the energy and environment around us.

For instance, those born in the ‘70s and early ‘80s have been riddled with obstacles for the past two years because the astrological numerical values of that era conflict with the values of this era. (This also applies to some born outside these years based on the mathematics of their personal chart, but that’s a different discussion.)

Anyway, the two astronomical figures representing the energies of chaos and discipline have been warring with each other, leaving us 1970s babies (with our conflicting numerical charts) to endure one disappointment after another.

A battle between chaos and discipline only ends one of two ways: either by complete destruction, never to rise again, or by total transformation, bursting through ash and rubble like a phoenix.

Me personally? I prefer the latter.

This month’s column is for those who’d like to join me in rising from the ashes of the shellshock that was 2019 to transform your business as we leave this decade behind.

I’ve spoken with many business owners enduring this year’s chaos vs. discipline battle.

Each company wanted discipline to maintain things, yet were being antagonized by chaos demanding change.

I had only one recommendation—focus on your e-commerce strategy.

This is true whether you’re a brand or retailer. Retailers especially have been hit by the online shopping phenomenon because they’ve ignored for too long the data that customers increasingly prefer shopping online.

Consumers are spoiled by home delivery of everything.

Why put on pants, drive through traffic and wade through a mall when anything can be delivered as you watch Netflix in your underwear?

Ignoring this has caught up to retailers, with this costly mistake affecting brands that once depended on these retailers for orders they can no longer place because store traffic is down.

“But Lilian,” you’re thinking, “no one’s going buy expensive jewelry without touching it first!”

To this, I say malarkey! (Sorry, I’m utterly amused by Joe Biden’s campaign slogan.)

But back to the malarkey.

Having been that young, scrappy Tourneau salesperson in the early aughts who had a loyal client spend over $300,000 with me exclusively by phone, I can tell you firsthand this isn’t true.

If a customer is familiar with a brand because that brand has made itself and its stellar reputation consistently visible to the customer, that customer will happily drop $10,000 online because the brand has earned her or his trust.

I speak often to companies that’ve disregarded PR for years, then turn to me to produce a pair of ruby slippers that transport them back to a time of easily swiped AmExes and Visas and Mastercards, oh my!

The thing about Dorothy’s adventures in Oz, however, is that while she’d always possessed the power to go home, she had to follow the yellow brick road for miles before she learned this truth.

Ladies and gentlemen, that yellow brick road is the customer journey.

The PR Adviser is Glenda the Good Witch teaching you the value you already possess via the Emerald City of

In 2019’s final days, reflect on what you’ve accomplished, where you’ve failed and what obstacles derailed your best laid plans.

Now tell me: What are you willing to give up to transform your business?

Will you give up the belief that customers won’t buy from you online?

Will you stop ignoring the extensive data on consumer behavior?

Are you ready for a complete transformation of how you’ve always done business, given how this year has shown you those ways no longer work?

Let’s talk briefly about the customer journey.

Simply put, the customer journey is the many touchpoints a customer has with your company before, during and after she or he makes a purchase.

How does a customer first learn about you? How does she feel upon this discovery? What entices her to want to learn more?

Where does she go for this information—your website, your store, social media?

What does she do when she gets there? What do you want her to do when she gets there?

These are some of the questions that, answered correctly, help create trust between customers and your brand.

Trust is the only thing required to get a customer to spend $40,000 online without thinking twice.

We spent much of this year on influencer marketing.

Next year, I’ll show you how it and other strategies play an important role in helping integrate an e-commerce website into the customer journey.

In the meantime, grab a free copy of my e-book, “Influencer Fraud: Weeding Out the Fakers, Liars and the Delusional.” The appendix includes the indispensable Influencer Marketing Toolkit, which you’ll need next year.

To those who’ve had a rough year, know that chaos can only disrupt something that wasn’t originally stable.

Arise from the rubble and begin building a stronger foundation.

I’m here in 2020 to help you build something greater, whether through my answering your questions in this column or through a complimentary consulting call.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Happy Festivus or Happy Whatever You Celebrate! See you next year!

Lilian Raji is a strategic communications and public relations adviser who helps companies understand their marketing problems, then designs and executes strategies to solve them. Learn more at Submit questions for Lilian to answer here and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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