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.

Employees Are Your Most Important Customers

I recently read “The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win” by Jeffrey Hollender and Bill Breen. The premise of the book is that companies are starting to (and should be) focused on the social aspect of their business rather than just selling more products.  The social aspect includes doing good for your community as well as the environment.  Throughout the book, case studies are given on companies such as Seventh Generation, Threadless.com, Southwest Airlines and Marks & Spencer to name a few. 

I found the book very interesting and it made me realize how important it is for companies (of all sizes) to be good to its employees, customers, community and environment.  So often companies are too worried about their bottom line.  Although it’s absolutely understandable, especially when you’re a public company and Wall Street is breathing down your neck, it’s still our responsibility to be good to all.

My favorite (and most relevant based on my customer reference and loyalty background) part of the book was chapter three which is called “Not a Company, but a Community – a Blueprint for Summoning People’s Potential”.  Former Southwest Airlines chairman Herb Kelleher is quoted saying “When you treat [your employees] right, they will treat your customers right. This has been a powerful competitive weapon for us.”  How powerful and true of a quote is that?!  If you have happy employees, it’ll be passed on to your customers.  Happy customers also lead to repeat business and increased referrals which then leads to increased profits and a reduced amount of spending on gaining new customers. 

Another section of the chapter refers to a 2008 Towers Perrin study which stated “71 percent of the respondents said they were ‘disengaged’ or ‘disenchanted’ at work.  The study reported that employees ‘care a lot about their work’ and they want to ‘learn and grow.'”  Eye opening huh?  What if we actually treated employees like our customers?  Not a bad idea.

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.

Pizza Anyone?

When someone tells you something that you don’t like, what do you do? Do you nod your head and say yes while internally say that they can kiss your @#$#$? Do you tell them that they’re wrong and fight back? Or, do you listen to what they say, take it in and use it as constructive criticism? 

I would love to say that I do the latter all the time, but realistically that doesn’t happen. Just this week I did a bit of all three. But when it comes to your business where bottom lines matter and competitors are chomping at your market share you have to think a bit differently.

Take Dominos’ new advertising campaign. In case you haven’t seen it, there’s a scene of a focus group and person after person says that Dominos’ pizza tastes awful. In between each bit of criticism Dominos shows footage of those in the focus group getting home delivery of Dominos’ new pizza and the focus group participants saying how great it is and how they now believe in the pizza. Such a simple advertising piece but it is brilliant! 

By these ads Dominos is showing that voice of the customer is important to them. Who would have thought that a large company would listen to its customers and then do something about it? Dominos is also doing something remarkable in that they are admitting to everyone that they messed up. Dominos realized that the pizza they had been making for years stunk and have made a commitment to their customers that the newer pizza will be much better.

There is little doubt that the bottom line and gaining market share is top of mind for Dominos but instead of doing it by pouncing on their competitors or lowering prices or some other cheap non voice of the customer change, Dominos decided to listen to its customers and make a dramatic move and change the way it is doing things. Simple idea but I wish that many more companies would do it. 

Don’t just listen to your customers, act!  It could be the easiest most cost effective Marketing campaign your company implements in order to improve customer loyalty.

How does your company deal with criticism?

The Voice Heard Around the World

There seems to be a lot of news lately about people getting fired from their jobs because of stuff they said on social networks. Here’s a video report by CNN today on two folks who used to work at Houston’s restaurant who got fired for ranting about a manager on a private group within MySpace. Then there was last week’s news where two employees of KFC got fired for well, doing things you don’t want done to your food. (the video is no longer available online)

We sometimes forget that the Internet is a powerful tool/vehicle for spreading our voice. If I make one comment online (good or bad), it can be easily and quickly spread to all parts of the world to people I don’t even know.

So what does this mean to me, the customer reference/loyalty professional? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, know what your customers are saying about you. Listen to them and help them solve problems rather than helping them become a problem. As businesses, we’re all online and so are your customers. Be aware of what folks are saying by searching for your company, product, brand online via tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Google. You can’t know too much about what your customers are saying. And worse case scenario, you stop a mess before it happens. Not only can you use these tools to reactively see what customers are saying about you, but you can use them proactively too. Ask questions and get answers before you make a mistake.

Remember a few months back the big blow up about the new Motrin ad for moms? (here’s the video if you forgot) Who would have thought that it would cause such a backlash? Motrin was aware of its customers (apparently they were a bit late) and they pulled the ad because there was such a forceful backlash to the commercial. (I personally liked it but the only thing I’m a mom to is a 24lb dog that I don’t carry around all day).

If you only get one thing out of this post, get this…know what your customers are saying and do something about it because no voice on the Internet goes unheard.

Pixar Knows Employee Loyalty

As a follow-up to one of my recent posts, I thought I’d give a good example of how a company is keeping its employees loyal.  We all know that you’re never going to have 100% employee satisfied, happy and loyal, but you can come close.

 

A few weeks ago my brother-in-law invited me up to Pixar. He has been working there for about two years (he’s still considered the new kid) and has always spoken highly of the company.  And, to reinforce what a cool company it is, my nieces are very very very proud to tell their friends and anyone who listens that their daddy works for Pixar.

 

Let me back up for a minute.  If you don’t know what/who Pixar is, think Steve Jobs, Toy Story, Cars, Ratatouille, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles…you get the picture (literally!) Okay, so now you’re with me.

 

My brother-in-law started his career at Pixar in the on campus theater. He was told to sit in the 6th row because that’s where all the directors sit.  He was told that he was a film maker (he’s in IT) along with everyone else at the company.  That’s everyone from the producer to the cafeteria person to the janitor to the graphics person. Everyone at the company is a film maker.  If that didn’t get him pumped up enough about his first day, Janeane Garofalo (the voice of Colette in Rataouille) was at the office. 

 

Sure, almost everyone likes their first day at the office, but Pixar has been able to keep employees happy and loyal for a lot longer than their first day.  As my brother-in-law was showing me around the office, I was surprised at the “un-office” feeling the company has.  Employees were zipping around on scooters, there were statues of characters from multiple films throughout the hallways, pictures of employees in the company dance, music, screen writing, fly fishing (yes, fly fishing) and art classes adorned one corner of the building.

 

In one section of the building I felt like I was back in college because some of the offices had a very dorm room feeling to them with two people per brightly painted, couch furnished room with the required lava lamp.

 

Three of my favorite aspects of Pixar are:

1) The conference rooms are almost like fish bowls with glass on at least two walls.  When you walk in the main door, look up and you’ll see conference rooms with the glass wall looking down to the “town hall” like square where people meet up and eat. This allows employees to literally see who they are making films for – talking about voice of the customer!

 

2) Being a movie production company, Pixar has access to lots of movies.  Their in house theater previews movies for employees and not always Pixar movies.  The day I visited, I was able to watch one of the movies up for an Oscar.  On a Friday night at 6pm, the theater was crowded!

 

3) Probably my favorite thing about Pixar is that children born during the production of a movie are listed at the end of the movie credits under “Production Babies”.  How cool is that? My youngest niece will be listed at the end of the next Pixar movie. 

 

There are so many different ways to make employees happy and loyal and Pixar seems to have captured it all.  From calling all employees film makers, to recognizing new babies born during production to offering free classes from movie writing to soccer to providing free cereal and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Pixar has captured the market on happiness. My brother-in-law being there two years is still one of the new kids.  That alone says a lot!

 

You can find Pixar jobs here but if you think you’ll have one interview and be hired, think again.  They carefully select only the top notch candidates to join their creative, talented, fun and energetic team.