Inside the Industry

Insights from the vendors behind MarketingSherpa Summit 2017

Learn more about the technology solution providers exhibiting at #SHERPA17. View all sponsors >>

At MarketingSherpa Summit 2017, attendees will hear from brand-side marketers, high-profile featured speakers and industry professionals to learn how to improve the effectiveness of their marketing programs.

Customer satisfaction is a key factor in the effectiveness of these campaigns, which is why we’re excited to gather some of the top players in the digital marketing industry in Las Vegas to share their marketing solutions with the MarketingSherpa audience.

In our "Inside the Industry" series, we'll speak with industry professionals representing some of these vendors and get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the customer-focused efforts and trends you can expect to learn more about at #SHERPA17.

The following is sponsored content from PACIFIC. The opinions expressed do not represent those of MarketingSherpa.




MarketingSherpa: What are some arguments marketers can use to push for customer-centricity in their organizations? 

Jamey Bainer, PACIFIC: The best argument is objective reality: We live in an era where customers have complete control over their own purchase journeys, and about a million different touchpoints where they can choose (or choose not) to interact with brands that provide the products and services they are seeking out. The days of shouting consumers down an inverted funnel are long gone. Now, you need to be present in the precise moments when the consumer needs you, when they have a question you can answer, when you can demonstrate relevance and value through the interaction. Taking that into consideration, it would be career suicide NOT to develop a customer-centric strategy within your organization.
Still, people choose to deny reality in favor of their own warped perceptions every day, so here are a couple tricks to use if you need to make the case for customer-centricity:

  • Call expert witnesses to the stand. There is a mountain of evidence, produced by the best industry reporters and thought leaders in the business (including here at MarketingSherpa), that proves out my thesis of our brave new customer-centric world. If you need it, there are reams of quantitative, statistically relevant case studies that detail how the most successful brands, regardless of industry, are leveraging customer-centric thinking to drive their growth.
  • Find the smoking gun in your own house. Rally your teams and channel managers together in a room, and have everyone hit re-set on what they think they know about your customer’s purchase journey. Map it all out again from scratch, channel by channel, touchpoint by touchpoint. Isolate the touchpoints where consumers are falling off, and identify what’s driving the drop-offs: Are you serving the wrong message in the wrong place? Did you have enough understanding of what questions the consumer wanted answered, and where you fell short? Are you invisible in a crucial touchpoint where you most need to be discoverable? If done well, you should end up with a clear map of the places where you didn’t consider the customer enough, along with a more concrete picture of how much money that cost you. Together, those two things will make a great case for customer-centricity.

MarketingSherpa: How far must brands and marketers go to satisfy customers?

Jamey Bainer, PACIFIC: This is best answered with another question: How far are your competitors willing to go to satisfy your customers? It doesn’t take an industry-shattering moment of innovation to quickly de-throne a market leader. Does a competitor’s check-out process have one less step than yours? Does their mobile site run a second faster? Do they accept one more online payment option than you do? Is the threshold for free shipping $5 cheaper than your own? Was their sales associate just a little bit more sincere and proactive when the customer had a problem?

Even these seemingly small touches can cause massive shifts in the competitive landscape of any industry. That’s because they all speak to providing customers with a flawless experience.  The only real benchmark here is the customer’s own expectations: How far do THEY think you should go to satisfy them? They experience “flawless” every day, from a variety of brands, technologies and apps. They expect the same from you.

Without venturing outside the world of sanity and scalability, you need to be willing to go as far as it takes to meet your customer’s expectations. If you don’t, your competitors will.

MarketingSherpa: In building a customer relationship, what are some possible missteps? 

Jamey Bainer, PACIFIC: Retargeting and remarketing, despite being incredibly effective marketing tactics, can also be relationship killers when done poorly. This often occurs because the retargeting kicks off before the relationship has really been established. Suddenly, your brand becomes the creepy stalker following someone around the internet. Perhaps more annoyingly, people who actually bought from you can remain stuck in your retargeting bucket for weeks or even months after the purchase. There are many annoying forms of advertising in the world, but that’s one of the worst.

Making assumptions is never healthy for a relationship. Do you really know your customer’s needs, questions, aspirations and pain points, or are you just assuming that knowledge without doing the heavy lifting in the research process? Take the time to learn and to listen. Don’t decide on a strategy and then attempt to map it to your assumptions about the consumer. Everything should be reverse-engineered from the consumer’s perspective. Learn what they need first, and give it to them. 

MarketingSherpa: Why wouldn’t companies practice customer-first marketing?

Jamey Bainer, PACIFIC: There are two main drivers for this: siloed organizational structures and misinterpretation of the “it’s all about conversions” line of thinking. In the first case, many organizations maintain such strict silos between their internal teams that it becomes impossible to do customer-first marketing, as no one in the organization has a complete 360-degree view of the customer, and the data that would inform this view is splintered across a dozen or more different teams who aren’t communicating or sharing with one another.

The second case, which often goes hand-in-hand with the first, will occur when organizations start to think they are smarter than they actually are by preaching the “it’s all about conversions, dummies” orthodoxy. This is a popular philosophy because it’s impossible to argue against. Who wants to make case against selling and profiting? But in reality, it’s a classic case of missing the forest for the trees. Conversion-first thinking fosters complacency: It allows too many organizations to escape accountability for the lost revenue that is always a bi-product of focusing all your attention on only users in what would be considered the bottom of a traditional sales funnel. Things that conversion-first thinkers will dismiss as “upper-funnel” or “long-tail” will ultimately be the gaps your competitors take advantage of to steal your market share.

Ultimately, a “conversion” is a person, a person who chooses to purchase from you based on how well you understood their needs along the entirety of their complex purchase journey. Too many companies forget that. Don’t let yours be one of them.

MarketingSherpa: How can marketers fight against inward, or company-centric thinking? 

Jamey Bainer, PACIFIC: Again, make the case for a customer-centric approach by mapping the touchpoints where a specific lack of customer-first thinking is making you lose customers (and helping competitors gain them). Data and research are your friends, so gather as much as you can from your internal teams, from competitive analysis, and from industry thought leaders to help make your case. If you have the power within your organization to tear down silos and institute customer-centric collaborations, do so, and if you don’t have the power, start bending the ear of the person who does. Utilize social listening tools to augment your existing customer data with a broader picture of trends, sentiment and conversations across the digital sphere. Track and monitor your competitors like a hawk (you can never put too many resources towards this effort). 

Finally, don’t forget: It’s the question that counts. If you’re not answering your customers’ questions, your competitors will.

PACIFIC is a Bronze Sponsor of MarketingSherpa Summit 2017. To learn more about their solution, visit their website.




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