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Founder & CEO of TRANCE Marketing Group www.trancemarketinggroup.com Partner & VP of Brand Development for Corvina Capital Consultants www.corvinacapital.com Advisory Board Member of Experiential Marketing Forum www.experientialforum.com Certified partner with Ecordia www.ecordia.com HubSpot Certified Inbound Marketer www.inboundmarketing.com/partners Contributing Author - The Power of Leadership (Being the Leader Producing Results) www.powerofleadershipbooks.com Troy L. Scheer Follow Me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/TroyScheerTMG Ecademy Profile : http://www.ecademy.com/user/troyscheer TRANCE Blog: http://trancemarketinggroup.com/blog
People Buy Experiences. Many marketers get so caught up in digital advertising, lead generation, etc., that they forget about the ultimate destination for the traffic: their Web site. Companies that focus too much on what is going on outside of their sites risk neglecting the centerpiece of their experience.
Too many sites deliver experiences that fail to attract repeat users.
Brands focused on designing experiences are far outpacing those focused on advertising.
Thomas Power – Ecademy www.ecademy.com yourBusinessChannel www.yourbusinesschannel.com
Inbound marketing focused businesses have a 61% lower cost per lead.
The State of Inbound Marketing Study conducted by:
#1 Inbound marketing channels deliver a dramatically lower cost-per-sales lead than outbound channels. #2 Blogs lead other social media categories in terms of importance to business. #3 Small businesses are most aggressively allocating lead generation budgets to blogging, social media and search engine optimization. HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing study offers three key findings:
Lead Generation Budget Spend PPC (paid search / AdWords), 15% Other, 23% Email Marketing, 10% Direct Mail, 8% Trade Shows, 11% Telemarketing, 11% Blogs/ Social Media, 10% SEO (organic / natural search), 12%
32% 42% 25% PPC Estimated Relative Cost/Lead/Channel SEO Blogs/Social Media Telemarketing Email Marketing Trade Shows Direct Mail Below Your Average Near Your Average Above Your Average 48% 38% 14% 55% 34% 11% 11% 29% 48% 22% 49% 40% 18% 26% 55% 24% 34% 41%
Percent of Leads from Each Source PPC (paid search / AdWords), 13% Other, 25% Email Marketing, 14% Direct Mail, 7% Telemarketing, 9% Blogs/Social Media, 8% SEO (organic / natural search), 16% Trade Shows,8%
Contextual advertising is a form of targeted advertising for advertisements appearing on websites or other media, such as content displayed in mobile browsers . The advertisements themselves are selected and served by automated systems based on the content displayed to the user. How contextual advertising works A contextual advertising system scans the text of a website for keywords and returns advertisements to the webpage based on what the user is viewing.  The advertisements may be displayed on the webpage or as pop-up ads . For example, if the user is viewing a website pertaining to sports and that website uses contextual advertising, the user may see advertisements for sports-related companies, such as memorabilia dealers or ticket sellers. Contextual advertising is also used by search engines to display advertisements on their search results pages based on the keywords in the user's query. Impact Contextual advertising has made a major impact on earnings of many websites. Because the advertisements are more targeted, they are more likely to be clicked, thus generating revenue for the owner of the website (and the server of the advertisement). A large part of Google's earnings is from its share of the contextual advertisements served on the millions of webpages running the AdSense program. . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contextual_advertising
Be professional in Email . No one will know how ‘Small’ of your business will be via Email, whether you’re a start up or a worldwide brand, build your brand image to be the best.
2. Hire a contractor to create a Email template. Hire a professional designer to help you to create a trim, clean, organized, professional Email template. The investment you make here will definitely show a return.
3. Keep your Email subject consistent. If you want people to develop an awareness of your Brand name. Keep it in-front of each eNewsletter. such as, XDXY eMarketing Tips: best email marketing tool
4. Leverage big company’s brand. Since you may still be small, sometimes you need to leverage big company’s brand as Partner of Google, Reseller of IBM to get people’s trust.
5. Don’t SPAM! Even though you may have a lack of e-mail addresses at the beginning of Email Marketing, please keep in mind that you NEVER SPAM. It will ruin your reputation.
6. Offer Valuable information to your subscriber. Don’t just spread your product information. Provide something your subscriber might like. Otherwise they will start to unsubscribe from your list soon.
7. Use efficient Email Marketing Tools. It’s very important to get a good one at the beginning. If not, you will waste much time in the future to move one Email Marketing Tool to another. That will be a TOUGH job!
E-Mail Marketing Open and Click-Through Rates JULY 6, 2009 Please open. According to the “Email Marketing Metrics Report” by MailerMailer , 12.5% of unique marketing e-mails were opened in the second half of 2008. Spectacular Return on Investment (ROI) $1 spent = $45.06 ROI According to the Direct Marketing Association, every $1 you spend on email marketing generates a $45.06 return on investment – the highest response rate for all direct response methods.
How often e-mails were opened and clicked varied with the industry of the sender—and the size of the list. Messages delivered to small and medium lists had higher open and click-through rates than messages delivered to lists of 1,000 or more subscribers. Religious and spiritual organizations had the highest open rates among large lists, followed by telecommunications and travel companies. http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007158
Five Steps to Effective Keyword Research The keyword research process can be broken down into the following phases: Phase 0 - Demolish Misconceptions Phase 1 – Create List of Short and Long Tail keywords Phase 2 - Value the keyword research tool Phase 3 - Finalize your list Phase 4 – Implement what you have Phase 5 – Analyze, analyze, test, and test some more
Phase 1 - Create List of Short and Long Tail keywords
Create a list of potential keywords.
Brainstorm all the words you think a customer would type into their search box when trying to find you.
This includes thinking of phrases that are broad and targeted, buying and research-oriented, and single and multi-word. What is your site hoping to do or promote? Come up with enough words to cover all the services your site offers. Ask friends, colleagues or past customers for help. Sometimes they are able to see your site differently than the way you yourself see it.
Avoid overly generic terms like 'shoes' or 'clothes'.
These words are incredibly difficult to rank for and won't drive qualified traffic to your site.
Focus on words that are relevant, but not overly used.
Also, don't be afraid to take a peek at your competitor's Meta Keyword tag.
What words are they targeting?
How can you expand on their keyword list to make yours better?
SEO and PPC have some fundamentally different characteristics:
PPC is faster – You can set up a campaign and launch quickly. No waiting for content creation, relationship building, or domain authority.
SEO can scale more cheaply – While SEO isn’t really “free”, you can generally find a means of ranking for a broader set of keywords without paying for each individual click.
PPC & SEO can benefit from the complete data set – You can finally get an idea of how a keyword performs in one or both channels, and apply that knowledge to both PPC and SEO in order to refine your keyword targeting for both.
So for new sites or in the event that you’re targeting new keyword verticals, the process looks something like this:
Understand that this three step process is never as simple as it looks in bulleted form or handy graphics.
The PPC to SEO to PPC Keyword Targeting Cycle
Your own keyword analytics data is the most valuable marketing asset of your company. The data contained in the keyword report from your Web-analytics application—which tells you how people are finding your site through paid and organic search—is much more valuable than traditional marketing data, such as customer surveys and demographics. Surveys and customer personas still have a place in online marketing, but keywords are a far more effective targeting vehicle, for several reasons: They're more accurate: Keywords are the precise way that customers use to look for the products and services in your industry; as such, they reveal specific desires and pain points. They provide more insight: With accurate data, you can calculate the return on investment for different keyword niches, which, in turn, provides insight into many other areas, such as determining which customer segmentations to pursue and in what order. They're usable: Your keyword taxonomy is a gold mine of data that you can directly rely on to build and optimize your pay-per-click (PPC) and search-engine-optimization (SEO) efforts. The truth is that you've probably heard a lot of this before. You already know that search marketing is important. What's frustrating is that most businesses, even those that embrace search as a marketing channel, fail to place the proper value on their keywords. The Value of YOUR Keywords
Traditional Keyword Tools Find Fool's Gold The Google Keyword Tool and other basic third-party keyword tools can help you build a starter keyword list, but overreliance on them puts you at a marked disadvantage in the competitive worlds of paid and organic search. Those tools provide the same generic, public data to everyone who uses them, including your competitors. They tell you nothing about which keywords are or could be profitable for your specific business, and their volume estimates are usually off by an order of magnitude. Strategy-wise, they're close to worthless. Turning Keyword Reports Into Profits You can use traditional tools to seed your keyword list, but the biggest mistake search marketers make is in failing to migrate away from this initial list by refactoring new keyword opportunities, as well as actual click and performance data derived from your keyword report. Tools such as HubSpot, Ecordia, Google Analytics or WordStream reveal exactly which keywords are driving traffic and conversions—decidedly more-valuable data. Continually leverage your newfound understanding of keywords by acting on it: Publish content optimized for the keywords that are currently converting and variations of those keywords. Bid more aggressively on keywords that convert, and hunt for long-tail variations of those terms to expand your paid-search efforts. * * * The more you grow your proprietary keyword list, and apply what you learn from the data, the more benefits you'll reap from search marketing. It's like investing all that cash you earned and collecting compound interest! When you recognize the importance of keywords and can react to the way potential customers respond to your site, your keyword data is that much more powerful, giving you a competitive edge and the opportunity to continually improve on your search-marketing results.
It can end arguments. You'll get your page live faster, and end the argument sooner.
Multivariate testing reduces uncertainty. Done right, it can help you zoom in on the most effective page layout.
Multivariate testing saves money. It reduces design cycles. It improves conversion rates. It avoids some of the catastrophic failures you might otherwise see, especially in landing page design.
It improves conversion rates. Think about it: Say you get 1,000 conversions a month now, and those earn you $20 each (a total of $20,000). You do a multivariate testing run and improve your conversion rate 10%. Big deal? Well that's 100 more customers, worth another $2,000. That's worth something, I'm sure. If you're a bigger organization, multiply that by 100x or so. You get the idea.
Multivariate testing adds a little science to the art of internet marketing. It also brings incremental improvements to your campaigns that add up fast.
In internet marketing, multivariate testing is a process by which more than one component of a website may be tested in a live environment. It can be thought of in simple terms as numerous A/B tests performed on one page at the same time. A/B tests are usually performed to determine the better of two content variations, multivariate testing can theoretically test the effectiveness of limitless combinations. The only limits on the number of combinations and the number of variables in a multivariate test are the amount of time it will take to get a statistically valid sample of visitors and computational power.
Multivariate testing is usually employed in order to ascertain which content or creative variation produces the best improvement in the defined goals of a website, whether that be user registrations or successful completion of a checkout process (that is, conversion rate ). Dramatic increases can be seen through testing different copy text, form layouts and even landing page images and background colours. However, not all elements produce the same increase in conversions, and by looking at the results from different tests, it is possible to identify those elements that consistently tend to produce the greatest increase in conversions.  1 WilsonWeb.com , Conversion/Testing: 10 Factors to Test that Could Increase the Conversion Rate of your Landing Pages , by Sumantra Roy, 06/05/2007
Multivariate testing is currently an area of high growth in internet marketing as it helps website owners to ensure that they are getting the most from the visitors arriving at their site. Areas such as search engine optimization and pay per click advertising bring visitors to a site and have been extensively used by many organizations but multivariate testing allows internet marketers to ensure that visitors are being effectively exploited (i.e. Serviced) once they arrive at the website.
Consumers become impatient when pages take longer than 2 seconds to load. Forty-seven percent of consumers expect to wait no more than 2 seconds for a Web page to render. Online shopper loyalty is contingent upon quick page loading, especially for high-spending shoppers. Fifty-two percent of online shoppers said that quick page loading is important to their site loyalty. Sixty-one percent of online shoppers who spend more than $1,500 online per year insist on pages loading quickly.
Poor site performance leads to shopper dissatisfaction and site abandonment more than ever before. Twenty-three percent of dissatisfied online shoppers attributed their dissatisfaction to the Web site being too slow or taking too long to render. Another 17% reported dissatisfaction due to site crashes or error messages they received. One-third of shoppers who abandoned a recent shopping session were dissatisfied with a retail site‟s performance.
The consequences for online retailers with underperforming sites are lost sales, and the impact reaches beyond the Web. Seventy-nine percent of online shoppers who experience a dissatisfying visit are likely to no longer buy from that site. Also, 46% of dissatisfied online shoppers are more likely to develop a negative perception of the company, and 44% will tell their friends and family about the experience. With 87% of consumers shopping in both online and retail channels, the impact of a bad online experience reaches beyond the Web.
Mobile is a nascent but emerging shopping channel, and performance is key to consumer adoption. Sixteen percent of consumers have shopped via mobile phones or smartphones, but 27% of them report that it is dissatisfying due to the mobile shopping experience being too slow. One-third of consumers report wanting to shop via their smartphones in the future, with 5% indicating that this will be an important aspect of their loyalty to online retailers.
Does the Web site meet the customer where they are, by reflecting their perceived needs and wants? (e.g., catering for both expert and novice visitors)
Does it let the customer specify their preferences and help them make sound selections if they’re unsure or unclear?
Does it help them evaluate the best choice of solution from the repertoire of possible products or services on Does it effectively and easily allow the customer to set up an account, pay, log in, check their order, receive a receipt, etc.?
Blog Readership Source: e-Marketer In 2008, 45% of the US internet population read blogs on a monthly basis. In 2013, 58% of the US internet population is projected to be reading blogs on a monthly basis.
In 2008, 13% of the US internet population created or maintained a blog. By 2013, 17% of the US internet population will be blogging . Source: e-Marketer, blogs updated at least once every 3 months Blog Creation
128 million people in the US will be reading blogs on a monthly basis. 38 million people in the US will be blogging. Both stats reflect a 50% increase over current levels. By 2013… Source: e-Marketer
So, what IS a blog? A tool that allows you to quickly and easily create and publish new content. Allows readers to leave feedback on that content, as well as react to feedback from other readers.
Google loves blogs, which can be good, or bad Wal-Mart Blog Results Posts from other bloggers about Wal-Mart Blog
A podcast is a series of digital media files , either audio or video , that is released episodically and downloaded through web syndication . The mode of delivery is what differentiates podcasts from other ways of accessing media files over the Internet , such as simple download or streamed webcasts : special client software applications known as podcatchers (like iTunes , Zune , Juice or Winamp ) are used to automatically identify and download new files in the series when they are released, by accessing a centrally-maintained web feed that lists all files currently associated with that particular series. New files can thus be downloaded automatically by the podcatcher and stored locally on the user's computer or other device for offline use, making it simpler for a user to access episodic content. Like the term broadcast , podcast can refer either to an ongoing series of episodes of particular program or to the method by which they are syndicated; the latter is also called podcasting . A podcaster is the person who creates the content.
Russia has World’s Most Engaged Social Networking Audience Vkontakte.ru Ranks as Most Popular Social Networking Site in Russia with 14 Million Visitors Two-Thirds of Global Internet Users Access Social Networking Sites Of the 1.1 billion people age 15 and older worldwide who accessed the Internet from a home or work location in May 2009, 734.2 million visited at least one social networking site during the month, representing a penetration of 65 percent of the worldwide Internet audience.
Of the 31.9 million people who accessed the Internet in Russia in April, 18.9 million visited at least one social networking site, representing a reach of 59 percent of the total online population. The most popular of these sites was Russian-based Vkontakte.ru with 14.3 million visitors, followed by Odnoklassniki.ru (7.8 million visitors), Mail.ru – My World (6.3 million visitors) and Fotostrana.ru (1.6 million visitors). Facebook.com attracted 616,000 Russian visitors, up 277 percent versus year ago.
Brand Marketers Embrace Social Media Adoption of social media as a marketing tactic is well past critical mass. Brand marketers are getting involved with multiple tools and tactics, and shifting even more spending to the area.
Despite reporting trouble with measurement, marketers do track various social media metrics. More than six in 10 brand and agency respondents reported tracking Website hits—rudimentary, perhaps, but a start. Marketers also monitored feedback, links and mentions on other sites, and sales. Just 14% of brand marketers and 12% of agency marketers reported not measuring social media efforts at all.
1. Read Company Profiles - Do you want to target specific companies within a niche industry? To find these companies, simply use LinkedIn's "Search Companies" function. (Look for the search tool at the top of each LinkedIn page.) You can learn quite a bit reading Company Profiles: how large the company is, its specialties, locations and the number of employees at each location, and its previous years revenues. Even better, you can quickly see which employees are in your network, new hires, employees recently promoted, former employees, and those employees who have "popular profiles." Even better, you can find people with the job titles you're trying to target for marketing campaigns. 2. Study individuals' profiles - Once you have a list of individuals you'd like to target, go to each person's profile and see what you can learn. Some people keep their entire profile "open" for viewing, and for those who do, you can learn quite a bit: the person's connections, the Groups they belong to, the events they're attending and even the books they're reading. Also look to see if people have links to a corporate or personal blog or Twitter or Facebook profiles - if they do, be sure to follow them and/or add their blog to your blog reader. 3. Search "Groups" - You can also find people within your targeted industry by using LinkedIn's Search Groups function. Find specific Groups by using industry keywords in your search (i.e. B2B social media). Look for Groups that seem to have a good fit with the industry you're targeting and see if they match them up with the Groups the prospects on your list belong to. Then, join those Groups. Why? So you can begin networking and getting to know people!
4. Join Groups - Now that you have an idea of who some of the experts are in your industry, which companies they work for, and which Groups they belong to, it's time to join a few (2 - 3 at the max) Groups. The reason I limit this number to two or three is because to do this step well, you really need to devote time to getting to know people within the Group and how the Group operates, and answering questions when you can (without being self-serving). If you join too many Groups, you'll spread yourself to thin. (Trust me, I belong to too many Groups and have time for only one - my own B2B Social Media Group.) 5. Search "Answers" - Again, do a search using your industry terms and you'll find questions (and answers) people have posted relating to your query. Read those Answers that pertain to your industry and analyze who is answering them - do these people match any of the names on your prospect list? Who are the experts? Yes, doing all of this "grassroots research" (as one of my clients calls it) does take some time and effort. But the result is worth it: over time, you get to know industry players, you begin to add them to your network, and eventually they'll begin clicking through to your Website, downloading content, and then doing business with you. In effect, you're targeting real people on a one-to-one basis versus hoping unknown people with "job titles" notice your ad in a print publication or respond to your direct mail letter. About the author: Dianna Huff, Principal of DH Communications, Inc., specializes in B2B marketing communications consulting and copywriting.
Social Media’s Place in the Elite Marketing Trio
1. Optimize Your Video for the Web 2. Recruit Your Email List 3. Get It On Your Site 4. Create Relevant Tags 5. Don’t Stop at YouTube 6. Reach Out to Bloggers 7. Talk About it Offline 8. Run Online Ads 9. Link Link Link Distributing and promoting your video online.
Put Your Brand in Motion. Engage customers online with compelling video and interactive events, while improving the security, control and distribution of brand-related content.
Pulte Homes Seeking to convert Web site views into secured home sales, Pulte Homes brought Web video into the mix, allowing potential buyers to view homes and explore neighborhoods online. Monsanto Committed to technology and innovation that enables farmers produce more while reducing environmental impact, Monsanto does the same in its marketing and PR efforts with online video. Best Buy With a corporate mission to “make technology deliver on its promises,” Best Buy turned to The FeedRoom’s proven, online video platform to help the retailer connect with customers and employees around the globe. The Pentagon Designed to broadcast military news and information to members of the armed services 24x7, The Pentagon Channel includes Web simulcasts featuring live and on-demand video.
TAC CaseStudy TAC Deploys ActiveMedia® for Global Marketing Agility Challenge TAC, a world leader in building automation systems, needed the sales and marketing infrastructure to support rapid global growth. Solution ActiveMedia®, a digital asset management system, provided a centralized approach to storing, managing, and rapidly distributing global marketing materials. Results TAC gained the business agility – in terms of time, money, and brand control – to enable rapid, corporate-sanctioned, regional response around the world. TAC achieved this agility without the expense and personnel resources typically associated with deploying sophisticated enterprise software on a global scale. The company calculates that ActiveMedia resulted in a savings of $250,000 in the first year alone.
Challenge General Motors global business requires an “always-on” 24/7 internet webcasting network for delivery of live and on-demand programming. Solution The Feed Room not only manages a complex archive of online video content, but it also enables live webcasts to the media, consumers, and business partners. Results By creating a 24/7 distribution channel for video assets, General Motors has significantly increased audience reach while maintaining a modest cost structure. GM CaseStudy Version 200812-CS-GM Online Video Engages Automaker’s Media and Consumer Audiences Cost-Effectively
Reputation management: The process of tracking an entity's actions and other entities' opinions about those actions; reporting on those actions and opinions; and reacting to that report creating a feedback loop. All entities involved are generally people, but that need not always be the case. Other examples of entities include animals, businesses, or even locations or materials. The tracking and reporting may range from word-of-mouth to statistical analysis of thousands of data points.
Search Engine Reputation Management Search Engine Reputation Management (or SERM) tactics are often employed by companies and increasingly by individuals who seek to proactively shield their brands or reputations from damaging content brought to light through search engine queries. Some use these same tactics reactively, in attempts to minimize damage inflicted by inflammatory websites and blogs launched by consumers and, as some believe, competitors. Given the increasing popularity and development of search engines, these tactics have become more important than ever. Consumer Generated Media (like blogs, social media, podcasts, video, etc.) has amplified the public's voice, making points of view - good or bad - easily expressed. Search Engine Reputation Management strategies include Search engine optimization (SEO) and Online Content Management. Because search engines are dynamic and in constant states of change and revision, it is essential that results are constantly monitored. Social networking giant Facebook has been known to practice this form of reputation management. When they released their Polls service in Spring 2007, the popular blog TechCrunch found that it could not use competitors' names in Polls. Due largely to TechCrunch's authority in Google's algorithms, its post ranked for Facebook polls. A Facebook rep joined the comments, explained the situation and that the bugs in the old code had been updated so that it was now possible.
Affiliate programs. You pay affiliates for showing your ads only when a customer clicks-through and makes a purchase from you. Can be effective, but good affiliates are difficult to find and motivate to create adequate volume.
Viral marketing campaigns. You promote your site by creating a "creative" (video, text message, photo, animation, etc.) so compelling, interesting, bizarre, funny, or helpful, that people pass it on to their friends -- with your URL or marketing message. Wildly successful for the fortunate few who stumble upon a compelling creative.
6 Fundamental Truths Of Customer Experience 1) Every interaction creates a personal reaction. 2) People are instinctively self-centered. 3) Customer familiarity breeds alignment. 4) Unengaged employees don't create engaged customers. 5) Employees do what is measured, incented, and celebrated. 6) You can't fake it.
Experience-Based Differentiation is 100% compliant!
#1: Every Interaction Creates A Personal Reaction Experiences need to be designed for individuals . While it may not be possible to individualize every interaction, focusing on narrow segments (like Personas) is critical. • Customer segments must be prioritized . Since you need to design for specific types of people, experiences will be optimized for a set of customers. That will require companies to have a very clear picture of their important (and not so important) customers. • Customer feedback needs to be the key metric . Internal measurements may provide a sense of how the business operates, but they don't give a true evaluation of customer experience. That's why companies need to establish a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program; letting customer input drive priorities, decisions, and investments. • Employees need to be empowered . Since every situation can be somewhat different, the needs of customers can vary across interactions. That's why front-line employees need to have the latitude to accommodate the needs of key customers. THE BOTTOM LINE: YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS, PERSONALLY.
#2: People Are Instinctively Self-Centered You know more than your customers; deal with it . You can't eliminate your biases, but it helps to acknowledge them. Recognize that customers may not understand things like product names, acronyms, and process steps that you regularly discuss at work. So there's a natural bias for making experiences too complicated for customers. Get in the habit of asking yourself: "Would our target customers fully understand this?" • Don't sell things, help customers buy them . Whenever you're thinking about a customer experience, always try and frame it from the customer's point of view. Look at all interactions as an opportunity to help customers to do something. How can you institutionalize this? Infuse the voice of the customer within your processes. • Don't let company organization drive experiences . Just because you have separate organizations running your Website, retail stores, and call center does not permit you to make customers jump through hoops. Customers shouldn't have to know (and they certainly don't care) how you are organized. Here's a key symptom to look for: Any front-line employee that needs to explains to a customer how your company is organized. THE BOTTOM LINE: MAKE THE SHIFT FROM SELFCENTEREDNESS TO CUSTOMER-CENTEREDNESS.
#3: Customer Familiarity Breeds Alignment Don't wait for organizational alignment . No organizational structure is perfect; they all have some flaws. And it takes a long time to make major organizational changes. So rather than waiting for a structural change to create alignment, use a clear focus on customer needs as a way to align the decisions and actions of individuals -- even if the organizations remain out of alignment. • Broadly share customer insight . While we all know that front-line employees affect customer experience, almost everyone in the company also has some impact on how customers are treated. Think of your company as a large production crew making the stars (front-line employees) shine on stage (during customer interactions). Since many of the decisions that impact customers aren't debated or discussed, they just happen, it helps for as many people as possible to understand customers. Think of this as a silent alignment process. • Talk about customer needs, not personal preferences . Disagreements are somewhat natural when people debate things from their own points of view. Instead of discussing what you like or think, re-frame discussions to be about customers. If you find that you don't really know enough about customers to solve the disagreement, then stop arguing and go get more information about your customers. THE BOTTOM LINE: AN EXTERNAL FOCUS IS AN ANTIDOTE TO INTERNAL POLITICS .
#4: Unengaged Employees Don't Create Engaged Customers Don't under-spend on training . You can't just change some business rules and processes and hope that customers will be treated better. Just about any change to customer experience requires some employees to change what they do and how they do it. So don't skimp on the training effort. • Make it easy to do the right thing . If it's hard for employees to do something, then they are less likely to do it -- and more likely to get frustrated. That's why enabling technologies need to be designed for employees to easily accomplish tasks that help customers. • Communicate, communicate, communicate . If you want to have employees feel like they're a part of something, then you need to tell them what's going on. So develop a robust communications plan that not only tells employees what the company is doing, but also explains why you're doing it. And it helps if you sincerely solicit feedback! • Find ways to celebrate . If employees do things that help customers, then find a way to celebrate those actions. These celebrations can take many different forms: a handwritten note from the president, acknowledgement in a company newsletter, or an on-the-spot bonus. Look for opportunities to catch people doing the right thing. • Measure employee engagement . Firms need to put the same rigor in monitoring employee relationships that they do in monitoring customer relationships. So they need to develop a relationship tracking measure like "likelihood to recommend <firm> as a place to work" that is used to gauge progress and to identify corrective measures. THE BOTTOM LINE: CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE DEPENDS ON EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE .
#5: Employees Do What Is Measured, Incented, and Celebrated Don't "expect" people to do the right thing . While employees may want to treat customers well, you can't just expect them to do it. Why not? Because companies want their employees to do a lot of things. But organizations often hone their measurements, incentives, and celebrations to achieve short-term growth and profitability targets. So without any explicit intervention on behalf of customer experience, the environment will push employees to focus on just about anything except customer experience. • Clearly define good behavior . Before you just adjust the environment, it's important that you define/describe the type of behavior that you want from people in every role. Do you want customer service reps to spend whatever time they need to on the phone to solve a problem or do you want them to cut down the average handle time on each call? The measurements, incentives, and celebrations should be adjusted to reinforce those behaviors. • Watch out for mixed messages . You can only get consistent behaviors from employees when all three levers (measurements, incentives, and celebrations) are working together. If you celebrate things that are different than what you measure, for instance, then employees aren't sure which signals to follow. THE BOTTOM LINE: DON'T BLAME EMPLOYEES, FIX THE ENVIRONMENT .
#6: You Can’t Fake It Don’t hide behind a 4th priority . While it’s possible to come up with a long list of priorities, there’s no way that many will get a great deal of attention. A good rule of thumb: Anything below your 3rd priority is not a priority at all. So make customer experience one of your top 3 priorities. Sometimes it’s better not to start . If you’re not committed to customer experience, then don’t start a major initiative; it’s a lot of hard work. And if customer experience isn’t a top priority, then the effort will likely fail. The result: Frustrated employees who are increasingly reluctant to re-engage in these types of efforts in the future. Advertise to reinforce, not create positioning . Since customers ultimately know how you treat them, the best you can do with marketing is to reinforce the truth. If you want to change how you are perceived, then start by treating customers better; and then use advertising to reinforce the new way that they’re being treated. THE BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU’RE NOT COMMITTED TO CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, YOU CAN ONLY FOOL YOURSELF .
Don’t Break The 6 Laws Treat them as sacred . While it may be possible to find isolated exceptions to all of these laws, they accurately describe the basic behavior of people and organizations. So don’t spend your time rationalizing why they don’t apply to you. Instead, figure out how to capitalize on the laws. Make sure you’re not breaking them . Look at these laws regularly, especially when you are starting a new initiative. And ask yourself: Is this effort breaking any of the 6 laws of customer experience? If the answer is yes, don’t go ahead. Find some other approach that conforms to these laws. Share them with others . The 6 laws will have the largest impact when they are widely understood across your organization. So share this document with as many people as possible. THE BOTTOM LINE: UNDERSTAND THE SIX LAWS, FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS’ SAKE .
Rohit Bhargava reminds us that most business owners or execs don't go through the buying process.
He uses the example of General Motors executives who drive company cars. "They didn't research the car online," he says. "They didn't shop around and talk to several dealers about it. They didn't have to trade off something else in their budget to afford the car and figure out how to finance it." Furthermore, they don't have to worry about day-to-day ownership issues such as paying for maintenance or gas.
In other words, our hypothetical executive might know what it's like to use a Cadillac, but he might not know what it's like to buy and own a Cadillac. And that is why Rohit Bhargava advises businesses to:
Research your product or service online, just as your prospect would.
Go into a retail store and discuss the pros and cons with a salesperson.
Place an order online to see how soon it arrives, how the packaging looks and whether anyone from your company follows up.
The Po!nt: "You need to experience the entire process around buying it to really understand your customers," says Bhargava.