Science vs. Art…or both

I recently spoke to a few members of a Marketing team and although they had great Marketing ideas, they had trouble getting adoption from their Field and Channel Marketing teams. They couldn’t figure out why – great ideas, great team members, great product, great corporate revenue…

As I started asking questions, I quickly realized that they considered Marketing to Field and Channel a science. You do A and B and C will automatically happen. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Marketing to Sales people and Channel partners isn’t a math equation, it’s a lot more than that…I’d say they have half the equation down pat. But, the other half is completely missing and in 2015 it’s a shame to say they are definitely not the only Marketing teams that have this problem.

So what’s the problem? The “art” is missing. Marketing to Sales and Channel partners is also an art. You cannot have a team focused on creating Marketing programs that just push those programs out. You absolutely absolutely absolutely must have a relationship with those folks to whom you are giving the programs. I can’t emphasize this enough!!! You have to understand their goals, what motivates them, get their input and feedback and just know them. Believe it or not, it sounds easier than it really is.

I’ve been at many companies where the Marketing team has no idea who the Sales teams are and couldn’t name four Sales people. Marketing teams where they haven’t spoken to anyone on the Sales or Channel team in months, yet are focused on helping them sell more. Does that make any sense to you? I really hope not!

I don’t care who you are, where you work or what you do for work, if you don’t have a connection with people, your fantastic ideas will fail! It’s that simple! Anyone remember “new Coke“? This example might be a radical one, but you get the point. If you’re goal is help people, talk to them.

Field and Channel Marketing is both a science and an art. Metrics are important but you also have to have a relationship with the stakeholders. Doesn’t matter how fantastic your program is, if you don’t have end user buy in, it’ll flop.

What I Have Learned from the U.S. Court System

I spent a few days last week  in jury selection and it was a very eye-opening experience for me.  I had never been brought into the courtroom for the selection process before so it was all new to me and I had no idea what to expect.  Below are some things that I learned while sitting in the galley for hours upon hours without talking or reading.  Some of the things the court did very well and others needed a lot of improvement.  I’m not going to tell you which ones they did well and those which needed help.  I’ll let you hypothesize. Overall, they all related to how to treat customers so below I share my thoughts with you.

In no particular order…

– Thank your customers. Who doesn’t like a nice “Thank you!” Just make sure that it’s sincere.

– Be nice to your customers. There are many other places they would like to be or other vendors they’d rather be working with so treat them as you’d like to be treated.

– There’s never an excuse to yell at customers. Don’t yell at anyone for that matter.  That’s it!

– A friendly smile and hello never hurt anyone. It could be the best part of someone’s day.

– Be courteous of time. When you say a meeting will start at 9, have it start at 9.

– Don’t break the pace. If things are going well during a call and you have more allotted time, don’t stop to schedule another call.  Take advantage of the time you’re given and make the most out of it.

– Encourage feedback. It might not all be good but if your customers are talking about you, you should want to know what they’re saying.

– Don’t say one thing and do another.

– If there are rules to be followed, explain them. Don’t cheat your customers by penalizing them for things that aren’t in writing or they are not aware of.

What have you learned from the court system that would translate over to customers?

I Love You, but I’m Not IN LOVE With You!

We’ve all seen the movie where the girl or guy turns to their significant other and says “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” Sometimes it’s hard to believe while other times you want to yell at the TV and say “Duh!!!!!” Shouldn’t the recipient of the news have known? You can tell when someone loves you compared to being in love with you right?! Most of the time I think it’s pretty obvious.

Companies often fall into the same situation when you change the first “love” to “satisfaction” and the second to “loyal”. Companies tend to think that satisfied customers are enough, but it’s not. You want loyal customers! Companies also tend to think that satisfaction and loyalty are the same.  They are very different!

To read more, please visit my guest blog for The Insight Advantage.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp WOMM can be as powerful as your sales team.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a weekly blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp.

Are You Tattoo Worthy?

Who doesn’t know the “Intel Inside” slogan or the Jack in the Box little cone heads on the antennas of lots of cars. It’s not too rare that you find people driving cars with license plates thanking their company (clearly an IPO situation when the person made a ton of money and is now driving a snazzy car – welcome to Silicon Valley!) or people wearing clothes with names on it – isn’t that how women flaunt designer handbags, clothes or shoes? Branding is everywhere and you can’t escape it.

Type in “John Deere tattoo” into your search engine and there are an overwhelming number of pictures of folks flaunting their green tattoo. A friend has her name tattooed on the back of her neck. Is a tattoo the ultimate form of a successful brand?

This past weekend I flew back from Denver, CO to San Jose, CA and on the flight back I read “Tattoos:  The Ultimate Proof of a Successful Brand” by Denise Wymore.  Denise was generous enough to send me a copy of her book. I love to read and was very excited to read her book knowing that she knows customer loyalty!

The book is a fun, funny and an easy read. But, I think I’m selling it short. It’s a great example of 9 brands that Wymore would tattoo on her body – one on her left shoulder, one on her neck, one on her upper right arm…

Throughout the book she goes through nine brands that she would tattoo on her body because she believes in them. Not only is she a satisfied “customer” but she’s loyal to them. It would probably take a huge earth shattering event for her to change her mind about the “companies” she’d tattoo on her body.

At the end of each chapter Wymore has five bullet points that she answers about each “company” she’d get a tattoo for:

–         the target audience

–         talking to the target

–         knowing the competition

–         making them irrelevant

–         staying loyal to their brand

If you don’t read the book (which would be a shame) at least look at the five bullet points and ask yourself those questions about the brand you’re trying to build whether it be you or your company.

Getting a tattoo is more than saying you like a brand. It’s saying that you believe in them and that when you’re 90 and your skin is saggy, you will still feel the same way (sorry for the bad visual).

Is your brand tattoo worthy?

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp Have you seen customer loyalty changes after a merger or acquisition?

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a weekly blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp.

Customer Reference Blogs Worth Reading

In my last #crlp post I said to talk to other folks who are focused on customer references.  To give you a head start, below is a list of some other blogs that are definitely worth a read!  Thanks to the Customer Reference Knowledge Sharing Network for collecting this list of blogs.  Happy reading!

Converational Chaos by Lisa Hosel: http://conversationalchaos.blogspot.com/

Cubed Consulting Blog by Umang Shaw: www.cubedconsulting.com/blog/

Marketing Musings by Anika Lehde, Corey Mahoney, Eric Larson (Projectline): www.projectlineinc.com/blog

Reference Geeks by Melissa Talbot and Robin Hamilton: www.referencegeeks.com/

Reference Management Insider by Barbara Krasner: http://referencemanagementinsider.blogspot.com/

Reference Point by Bill Lee: http://blog.customerreferenceforum.com/

Reference Success by Josh Horowitz (Boulder Logic): http://referencesuccess.com/

Stories that Sell by Casey Hibbard: www.storiesthatsellguide.com/blog/

WriteSpark Case Study Insights by Janice King: http://writinghightech.typepad.com/writespark/case-studies/

Customer Reference Insights by David Sroka and Darren Smith (Point of Reference): www.customerreferenceinsights.com