Autospeak-Straight Talk contains articles covering digital and social media marketing social communities and events marketing

Customer Experience vs Enterprise Interest

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(Posted on Jun 20, 2015 at 05:47AM by William Cosgrove)



Here I am with another edition of “Straight Talk Saturday”- That’s right I am coining a phrase. But in my defense, I have been publishing “Straight Talk” for over two years now at OneBigBroadcast (OBB) thanks to an invitation from Steve and Mimi Arsenault two very talented and visionary people who have Webcasters of which OBB is a division.

Until last week when I published A Business Model That Is Just Plain Bad For Business, which you may want to check out to get a snapshot of how the automobile franchise is structured, I was absent for about a month because as I was busy doing things that actually allow me to buy groceries.

In college I studied creative writing (fiction) and even had visions of becoming a writer until I realized that sooner or later I would need to buy groceries and writing these posts has given me an outlet to satisfy that vision-at least for now.

Money often gets in the way of doing things that you may want to do and the desire to make lots of it often gets in the way of doing the right things. This article is an attempt to explain an unfortunate contradiction that has been occurring in our digital ecosystem that you may have thought about, even realized or like many find it hard to keep up with the pace of change. I wanted to put it in Black and white because this a serious subject that must be discussed an thought about because-

-The tide is turning and “If you think that you shouldn’t be looking for viable alternatives to current marketing methods you are MISTAKEN.”

"And I have a special gift for those of you who actually finish reading this post at the end"

The Push Back

 More and more people blocking ads of all forms, the spreading of the dreadful banner blindness disease and the government  passing stricter regulations in the name of privacy, the push back is real and gaining momentum and the effectiveness of  many outbound marketing tactics are and will continue to diminish.

 Verizon has finally given in to letting consumers opt out of its supercookie on fears of lawsuits and government intervention.

The supercookie is used to track everything you do on your phone including your email, everything you browse including everything you click on. Others were experimenting with these like AT&T but they abandoned their project-I wonder why?

 By the way if you want to opt out just visit this “Supercookie” link to find out how “How to Opt Out Of Verizon’s Supercookie

 The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday passed a proposal from chairman Tom Wheeler, supporting consumers' ability to opt out of robocalling through their wireless carriers. FCC rules for carrier robocall blocking.

 However as long as agencies can realize recurring revenue streams with this type of marketing it will continue and the cost for you will to reach fewer people will rise.

 Is this Customer Experience or Smart Marketing?

 But advancements have also provided us with effective low cost alternatives that would diminish the need for such tactics as you will read. But because they not as profitable they are ignored by agencies and in turn ignored by the companies that are being conditioned by them to keep spending $$$$$$$.

 This push back will eventually make going after fewer consumers more expensive. Figures show that these new forms of push marketing are successful but fail to point out how many people that are offended by it are lost by the companies using these methods.

 Studies also show that many consumers are fed up with these invasions on their privacy. Even Google is testing a fee based opt out of being exposed to ads-This should tell you something.

 If these are thing that consumers want, Why are so many opting out?

 The Tide Is Turning

Again, the tide is turning and “If you think that you

shouldn’t be looking for viable alternatives to current marketing methods you are MISTAKEN” and you:

* Are losing potential customers who are offended by retargeting and geolocating

*Going to be paying more to reach fewer consumers.

Ad Blocking in a Big Way

Ad blocking software is working hard to help users avoid viewing online advertising, writes David Glance, director of UWA Centre for Software Practice at University of Western Australia according to David Glance in his article “Will ad blocking deal the final death blow to already failing online advertising?

Apple said last week that it will introduce an ad-blocking feature to the Safari mobile browser for iOS 9. Apple tries to kill mobile Web advertising

Google launches tool to keep you opted out of personalized ads on the Web.  Keep My Opt Outs is a Google Chrome extension that is being introduced as a response to a problem with existing opt-out programs – they’re reset whenever you delete your cookies. By running permanently within the browser, not as a cookie, you’re opted out permanently.

And What About Privacy Issues?

 In this article by Sharing Data-But Not Happily by NATASHA SINGER  Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, voiced doubts about data mining. Many Americans share those concerns, a new poll shows.

“You might like these so-called free services,” Mr. Cook said during the event held by EPIC, a nonprofit research center. “But we don’t think they’re worth having your email or your search history or now even your family photos data-mined and sold off for God knows what advertising purpose.”

“Now a study from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania has come to a similar conclusion: Many Americans do not think the trade-off of their data for personalized services, giveaways or discounts is a fair deal either. The findings are likely to fuel the debate among tech executives and federal regulators over whether companies should give consumers more control over the information collected about them.

In the survey, which is scheduled to be made public on Friday, 55 percent of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that “it’s O.K. if a store where I shop uses information it has about me to create a picture of me that improves the services they provide for me.”

About seven in 10 people also disagreed that it was fair for a store to monitor their online activities in exchange for free Wi-Fi while at the store. And 91 percent of respondents disagreed that it was fair for companies to collect information about them without their knowledge in exchange for a discount.”

However as long as there are technology companies developing applications that they can realize recurring revenue streams with and then disguise these push marketing tactics with terms like retargeting and geolocating it will continue. “

But Wait

Advancements have also provided us with effective low cost ways that would diminish the need for such tactics that are not as profitable for marketing agencies and therefore ignored by them and ignored by the companies that are being conditioned by them to spend more $$$$.

This push back will eventually make going after fewer consumers more expensive. Figures show that these new forms of push marketing are successful but fail to point out how many people who are offended by it and lost by the companies using these methods.

Studies also show as you have seen here that many consumers are fed up with these types of advertising. Even Google is testing a fee based opt out of being exposed to ads-This should tell you something.

If you adjust for people who are blocking, ignoring or business that you may be losing using these methods-the adjusted cost would be staggering. And ad blocking is growing at an increasing rate. There is an alternative, non-intrusive and low cost way to reach your audience and that is through onsite communities.

 Growth Hacking Through Community

Remember that paid advertising is fleeting in that it is only there as long as you are paying$$$$$. Communities are a permanent addition to your marketing strategy that will PAY YOU $$$$$ benefits now and into the future.

Growth hacking through onsite social communities has been providing a lot of success and gaining a lot of attention lately and for good reason. They are an inexpensive and non-intrusive way to maintain relationships with existing as well as potential customers to engage with and nurture from one central platform-your website. The versatility and economy that these communities can offer cannot be matched in any other way especially when you consider the long term benefits that they provide. Actually a recurring revenue stream that reflects on your bottom line not on someone else’s bottom line. .

Also, onsite social communities, if structured properly, offer an effective way for you to communicate and nurture in ways that they will welcome your contact by engaging with them in ways that do not intrude on their privacy which as you have just read is becoming a legitimate concern.

Onsite social communities are an inbound marketing, customer service and support concept that not very long ago was the recommended way to market until new technology brought us new forms of push technology for big enterprises to generate huge new recurring revenue streams with and all of the sudden pull or inbound marketing was no longer trending.

Using your own social channel (community) on your website to connect with your offsite social channels and (key word here) “our”digital ecosystem can make for a winning addition to your marketing strategy while at the same time reducing your overall costs and increasing your revenue. What a novel concept!

Not only can it provide a multitude of benefits that cannot be realized through any other marketing initiative, you will not be subject or impacted as much by the constant flux of others' changing marketing policies and popularity that are in a constant flux of change.

There is no more transparent way of connecting with your existing and potential customers and employees than having an onsite social community. An onsite social community allows you to partner with your customers and employees to bolster your marketing initiatives and project your customer and employee centric culture through organic search and across all your paid and social channels.

By building your own branded community of fans and followers you will have a central location with an organic reach of 100 percent on your real estate (your website) with which to form lasting relationships and a community of fans and followers who can help you broadcast your message across the digital spectrum.

Although it is important to maintain a presence on other social networks an onsite social network gives you the opportunity to market better, smarter, more economically and more secure.

Your onsite community provides the means for Socialcasting of which community plays a key role that in its many forms can boost page ranking and drive traffic in ways that no other form of media can. This can provide a base from which to launch all of your marketing efforts to positively impact your overall marketing efforts. Technology is constantly providing us with new and creative ways of centralizing our marketing to make it more efficient, beneficial and cost effective.

Maybe others who more concern about their own bottom(s)-lines $$$$[no pun intended] don’t want you realizing this-but you should and now you need to.

By taking advantage of your existing customer and employee base you can easily and cost effectively have a powerful platform of brand advocates from which to build on. New customers can automatically become members of the community as part of the benefit of doing business with your company and site visitors can be invited to join to enjoy member benefits as a way of nurturing new business.

Depending on your type of business you can give community members permanent savings on products and/or services, discounts on warranties, maintenance Contracts et. and have drawings and special offers to keep them engaged. This is how you will foster an army of devoted customers who will help you broadcast your customer centric culture and drive more traffic to draw many more devoted customers to your business.

All of this will have many positive effects including bolstering your SERP and feed on itself to give you a platform from which to launch all your marketing initiatives.

“While the idea is still new and new ideas often take time to be fully shaped inside organizations, in the future it is quite likely that consumer-facing companies will no longer outsource social platforms, but rather look to integrate, partner, and build their own niched platforms that are tailored specifically to what their consumers want.”Jennifer Wolfe stated in this article Think It’s Too Costly to Build Your Own Social Platform? Think Again

Recently, Nate Elliot, vice president and principal analyst serving B2C Marketing Professionals speaking at the Lithium Technologies LiNC conference in San Francisco told the audience that you don’t build a community on social or have any meaningful customer relationships on Facebook. Elliott’s advice to brands looking for real, measurable results through social media: integrate social aspects into a platform you own, such as your company’s website.

Although I didn’t agree with everything he said I do believe that having an onsite social community is a viable and cost effective alternative that will benefit you, your existing and potential customers in the short as well as over the long term in many different ways and overall at a fraction of the cost of other forms of online marketing.

We have been and continue to develop new ways of pulling people in for years through onsite social communities that can take many forms, instead of pushing your marketing on consumers at the risk of alienating them.

Also read 11 Ways To Score Customer Relationship Touchdowns for a more in-depth look at how an onsite social communities might be structured AND for those of you who actually read this far I would like to leave you with this Customer Experience Infographic courtesy of Direct Marketing.

Growth hacking image courtesy of Positionly. Privacy image courtesy of Privacy

The-customer-experience-wakeup-callThe Wake Up Call For Customer Experience

Being that it is Saturday morning there are some of you who are fortunate not to have to wake up early to go to work, an event or meeting, but I am sure that all of you have stayed in a hotel for an important business meeting or event at one time or another and have called the front desk to ask for a wakeup call because you were worried about being on time for that important meeting and did not want to trust that alarm clock on the nightstand not being sure if you knew how to set it properly or if it worked at all.

Or maybe you set the alarm clock or in today’s world your cell phone but used the wakeup service as a backup to insure that one or the other would get you up on time. Talk about being nervous but I think most of us have been there at some point on some level.

Well, I am hoping that this post will make you aware of the alarms being sounded today and:

  1. Serve as a “reality” wakeup call to bring you up to date on the need of providing a great customer experience.
  2. Remind you what you should be focusing on in today’s customer relationship focused marketing environment.
  3. Explain the reality of the consequences you face if you do not provide a great customer experience
  4. And make you a bit nervous about getting it right by doing the right things.

Let us remember that creating and retaining customers is what always has been at the core of any business and without them there would be no business-And today those who provide the better customer experience will be the leaders.

What has changed is how we need to communicate and interact with customers and the need to provide a genuine customer friendly experience. The marketing environment today is too transparent to rely on “outdated” or “good enough” practices or worse- none at all. 
 

Customer Experience

Do you really understand what customer experience is? Customer experience is instilling trust and confidence.  The customer must know that you will live up to their expectations by making them feel comfortable in doing business with you. It also entails staying engaged with them after the sale by showing that you value them as a customer by giving them good service and rewarding them for no other reason than just being your customer.

How you accomplish and fulfill these expectations is critical and according to all the information available the methods being prescribed and used in many cases today are debatable at the least and at worst- downright self-serving.

All of us are customers and as such you must first think of how you as a customer want to be treated.

First Some Realities

According to this article in the Harvard business review the value of the customer relationship now exceeds brand value by a wide margin as “Acquirers have decisively moved from investing into businesses with strong brands to businesses with strong customer relationships.”

Furthermore

In an effort to show business leaders in a way that would hit home and make them sit up and take notice Watermark Consulting, a customer experience advisory firm, did a Customer Experience ROI Study posted at Marketingsherpa to validate its importance through showing the impact it had on stock market values which we all know directly correlates to performance .

So not only is it affecting how potential buyers value your company but also how it is affecting your bottom line.

These findings and developments strengthen the need to find ways to interact with consumers on their grounds. Trying to compete on price and brand today is a losing proposition. It is simply not enough in this ““consumer controlled” environment. In order to compete effectively in this environment companies must provide an exceptional customer experience that will make them stand out above their competitors.

 The Opportunity is Now For

Gaining Market Share through the customer experience

According to this recent post at Business to Business Community written by Gregory Yankelovich there has never been a better time to make giant strides to gain market share over many of your competitors.

Recent studies found that 90 percent of executives say that customer experience is central to their strategies, and 80 percent want to use it as a form of differentiation. The problem is that 86 percent of these executives do not expect to see a significant uplift in business resulting from it. As long as this is the case, nothing will change, and the customer experience mantra will remain just empty words, while their companies continue to compete on price on the race to the bottom.”

Just ask Victor Milligan who said that “Customer experience (CX) has rapidly moved from an ideal to an operational mandate. As Forrester’s CMO, customer experience is one of my four strategic priorities. It’s also tied to my compensation. How’s that for focusing the mind?”

Customer experience management must concentrate on interacting with the consumer and influencing their behavior in ways that communicate with them on their terms. By communicating with consumers in non-intrusive ways these interactions will positively affect how customers feel about your company and their willingness to do business with you and be advocates of your brand.

To succeed in providing an excellent customer experience you must understand how to deal most effectively with them in how you communicate and interact with them.

And The Answer is not More “Push Marketing”

If you are not making customer relationships a priority in your overall marketing strategy or just relying on push marketing practices cleverly disguised today by marketing and technology companies as remarketing and geo-fencing you may not only be offending some consumers-but alienating them .

Granted statistics are showing that these tactics have increased sales but where are the statistics that show how many consumers have turned away from companies practicing this type of marketing-and there are plenty.

Back in 2002, and still relevant today, there was an article published in the Harvard Business Review called: Avoid the Four Perils of CRM written by Darrell Rigby, Fred Reichheld and Phil Schefter. In it, they quoted a Gartnerstatistic which said that:

“55% of all CRM projects don’t produce results”

WHY?

They said that after following ten years of research they had identified four pitfalls that brands fall into when trying to implement CRM (Customer Relationship Management). They were:

Pitfall 1: Implementing CRM Before Creating a Customer Strategy
Pitfall 2: Rolling Out CRM Before Changing Your Organization to Match
Pitfall 3: Assuming that More CRM Technology Is Better
Pitfall 4: Stalking, Not Wooing, Customers

Consumers are inundated with all the ways that exist today to get in front of them and others are developing technology to counter this with technology like ad blockers that according to a very recent article at Chief Marketer by Zach Schapira, “In the long-term if pervasive ad blocking shrinks the supply of sellable inventory (which is already occurring), publishers may try to make up for the lost revenue by raising CPMs for advertisers.”

If consumers are opting out and avoiding the ways in which you are marketing it is time to find other ways that will encourage interaction in a way that they will welcome your contact and become advocates of your brand.

A more recent article published at Entrepreneur magazine which represents how many people feel today entitled “Your Marketing Is Chasing Customers Away! Here's Why” by Jurgen Appelo CEO of the business network Happy Melly. In the article he lists his Three Rules of Marketing:

  1. Pull, don't push. Make sure that people can find you using Google, social networks and/or market places. Attract them with great content. 
  2. Show, don't tell. Make sure people can see with their own eyes that you are awesome. Those who are cool and remarkable don't need to say it. 
  3. Share, don't beg. Don't annoy everyone with 20th-century marketing tactics. Thanks to transparency, when you behave like a beggar, everyone will know. 

Not convinced?

The consumer push back keeps gaining momentum and they are blocking and opting out of receiving ads. Google has just announced that it will be offering a subscription ad blocking service where the consumer can choose the amount of ads they see.

 In the mobile area the current push marketing tactics are facing challenges from privacy groups and now possibly from the FCC that will diminish the effectiveness of this tracking technology and  increase the costs for advertisers to use tactics that are offending consumers. 

There are also other technologies and more being developed that are helping disgruntled consumers who do not want to be tracked and fed all this advertising. Faced with Congressional pressure, Verizon said in February that it would revise its program and allow people to opt out of tracking headers. And now the Federal Communications Commission could still step in and tell Verizon that they need to obtain users' explicit consent before engaging in this kind of tracking.

All this tracking and retargeting has shown to be effective but they cannot measure the amount of consumers that are being alienated by this resulting in lost customers that may not patronize these businesses again.

It is time to start finding alternative customer friendly solutions and provide a-

 Positive Customer Experience

The cost effectiveness and benefit of having a customer or potential customer on your site as a community member is immeasurable when comparing it to the cost of campaigns to reach them.

Communities humanize you in ways no other marketing medium can to show customers that you value them and offers you a way to insure against offending consumers with push marketing tactics to interact with them consistently on their terms and provide them with a great customer experience.

Marketing From Ground Zero starts by having a community member platform on your website that you can utilize and adapt to all prevailing winds and turn an existing company resource- your website- your existing customer base - your site visitors and your employees into advocates and influencers as an anchor for your online marketing strategies.

An onsite community can be the jewel in the crown of your online marketing and act as “ground zero” to fuel your overall marketing initiatives. Unlike paid advertising that is fleeting and exits only as long as you are paying, and which consumers are avoiding at an increasing rate, an onsite community is an asset that endures and can provide a solid foundation to continually produce benefits to both you and your existing and potential customers.

No matter what industry you are in an onsite community can create a customer centric culture and provide consistency that will resonate across all your paid, social and owned media channels. And no matter what direction social media marketing takes these communities will act as conduits to reach and attract an audience that can know and understand you and will result in increased brand perception and engagement.

Communities also become data centers for learning the needs, concerns and actions of its customer base through diverse interaction creating a virtual ecosystem that feeds on itself.

There are many different forms that an onsite community can take and each one can be customized to fit each businesses particular needs. In lieu of or in addition to paying professional market influencers you can create ways to make your own customers advocates and influencers by rewarding them with special discounts, offers, drawings and contests for community members along with content and a forum for communication that will keep members (customers) engaged and informed that will pay big dividends in retaining existing customers and attracting new ones for your business.

With social organic reach fast becoming a distant memory as social networks and online advertisers seek to profit from their platforms “ It is time to Look Within” to seek alternative ways in which to effectively reach and draw audiences to build a permanent customer experience friendly foundation that can provide extremely cost- effective ways to control your own destiny and solidify your place for the long term in the online marketing industry.

 A new Forrester Research report released last Monday found that 73 percent of businesses surveyed stated that customer experience is a strategic priority but only 1 percent of companies currently deliver an excellent experience.

That’s a problem, Forrester says, because customer experience (sometimes called CX) has become a more strategic imperative than ever. “Making customers feel valued is the holy grail of CX emotions,” said Megan Burns, a principal analyst with Forrester.

As stated at the beginning of this article there has never been a better time to make giant strides to gain market share over many of your competitors so the time is “Now” to take the lead to improve you own value as a company by showing your customers how much you value them by enhancing their customer experience with an onsite community.

 

Community word image compliments of Kate Evangelista