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July Column - Atlanta Tribune: Living at the Intersection of the Last Mile and Last Millisecond


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July Column - Atlanta Tribune: Living at the Intersection of the Last Mile and Last Millisecond

  1. 1. In his keynote speech at this year’s Adobe Digital Summit Brad Rencher, SVP & GM of Digital Marketing, spoke in terms of making sure companies focus their efforts all the way up to the very last millisecond before an interaction with a customer or prospect takes place. It’s too important not to blow it at that instant of engagement — whether the company or the consumer initiates it. Rencher says digital marketers are tasked with delivering experiences in milliseconds, and that we have 300 milliseconds to connect actions to experiences. I would expand on Rencher’s thought to say it goes beyond just the digital marketers in the organization who have to think and operate in this way. In order to find, catch and keep good customers today, it takes the entire company working in a collaborative manner to pull this off — whether that company is 2,000 people or just two. It takes marketing and sales working together like HubSpot is doing. But even if you’re a one- or two-person operation, you have partners that help you and customers who will do the same if they like you. Even the vendors you buy from can play a role in you building your business. So you need to efficiently collaborate with many people if you want to succeed in today’s business world. It takes valuing customers for more than what’s in their wallet, but also for what’s in By Brent Leary About the Author: Brent Leary is a partner of CRM Essentials. He is co-author of "Barack 2.0: Social Media Lessons for Small Business." You can follow him on Twitter at their minds and hearts to take advantage of their collective voice. And it means understanding that social tools and strategies work best when they are integrated into your business culture — not viewed as standalone gimmicks for short-term promotional gain. It’s still natural for us to focus on what is perceived to be the biggest issues we face. Customer acquisition is always near the top of every business challenge, year in and year out. Marketing budgets are driven by activities focused on this. In fact, Adobe recently put out a study that found 86 percent of the 1,800 companies they surveyed spent less than 15 percent of their budget on website optimization activities. So it probably comes as no surprise that website conversion rates are below 1 percent for 35 percent of the companies surveyed. But the companies who use 25 percent of their marketing budget on site conversions were twice as likely to enjoy conversion rates of at least 9 percent. And that’s important because, even in the age of social, you need a home that you have full control of. Your website is still that place, and most of the important conversions (email list sign ups, sales transactions, etc.) take place on your home turf. Every second counts when it comes to meeting customer expectations. With your website still needing to be at the center of your relationship building activities, you have to continually make it as appealing as possible to customers and prospects alike. That means providing a consistent flow of relevant information to keep them coming back. It also means making sure the site is fast. A study by Kissmetrics found that 47 percent of consumers expect a Web page to load in two seconds or less, and just a one-second delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16 percent. According to a recent University of LivingattheIntersectionofthe LastMileandLastMillisecond Massachusetts study, if a video hasn’t started streaming in five seconds, about 25 percent of potential viewers will bail before viewing, and if it doesn’t start in 10 seconds, that jumps to almost 50 percent. To put it into a few words, when it comes to people and their expectations — speed thrills, and the lack of it kills. And as Travelocity founder Terry Jones recently told me, has made life for all businesses a little harder now because people expect every website to be as good as theirs. Now we all know that will not ever be the case, but that doesn’t mean you can’t consistently be looking for ways to improve things like better content and better speed. In fact you can go to sites like and to find tools to help with that if you have a WordPress site. The above illustrates the importance of understanding that processes must be connected throughout lifecycles, and people must collaborate across lifecycles in order to turn content into clicks, clicks into conversations, and conversations into customers — and customers into loyalist and advocates. Every interaction with customers and prospects does matter — with your relationship being only as good as your last interaction. So don’t make your last interaction with them, your last interaction with them … because you blew it. Think about the processes that go into creating each interaction right up to the last millisecond before it takes place. All of the heavy lifting done by getting the more complex areas addressed could all be for naught if you overlook things that may look to be small, or easy to deal with. In many ways it’s the little things that make customers out of prospects. Business today is all about connecting data and culture. That really seems to be the last mile of customer relationship management. But you have to keep working up to the last millisecond to get there. AT WWW.ATLANTATRIBUNE.COM46 TECHSUITE