Four Outside-the-Box Ideas to Better Understand Customer Experience

by Linda Ireland  |  May 21, 2013

Spotlight Marketing | St. PaulYou’ve seen the show “Undercover Boss” by now, right? The premise is simple, but brilliant: Ask senior executives to go “undercover” within their own companies as frontline employees to investigate how their company is really doing and how they might improve and better satisfy their customers.

The executives get an up-close-and-personal look at how their company does business with customers—and what that customer experience looks like. From tip to toe.

As I watch the show, I’m constantly thinking: All CMOs (and Marketing Managers/Directors) should go through this experience. Why? So they can get a better handle on the customer experience their company fosters—from the eyes of the frontlines.

Here are four outside-the-box ideas to get a better handle on your company’s customer experience.

1. Ask your product managers to answer one simple question

What are your customers able to do differently or better because of your product/service?

Simple question, right? What you’re after here is a frontline understanding of what your staff is solving for customers, not what you’re selling.

Because customers buy absence of pain or a desire fulfilled rather than products or services, all of your operating decisions (and your performance outcomes) flow from focused execution on the answer to this key question.

If your product managers can’t answer this question fairly quickly, the chances that your company will exceed your performance goals are very low.

2. Be a customer all the way through the customer experience

Many CMOs go through this process from time to time—with the goal of trying to get a better feel for what their customers go through when purchasing from the company. Too many CMOs and marketing leaders get stuck in the “trial and purchase” phases and never bother to look at the whole experience. Don’t fall into that trap.


Read more at MarketingProfs…


Why the Bible is the only content marketing guide you’ll ever need

saintIt’s amazing how the best resources are right under your nose! Dale Lovell, guest blogger for eConsultancy, shows how the structure of the Bible provides a stunningly comprehensive roadmap to modern content marketing…

There are 773,692 words in the Bible. It is one of the most read books of all time. The content message in the Bible is everywhere. We all know it, even if we think we don’t. 

As content marketing strategies go there is a lot to admire. Dale Lovell illustrates just how much content marketers can learn from the Bible.

In this post I want to illustrate just how much content marketers can learn from the Bible.

Don’t believe me? Let me explain…

Develop a brand narrative 

At the core of the Bible is a strong narrative voice. It’s this narrative voice that gets the message of Christianity across so clearly. How does it do this? It tells a story that’s how.

Isn’t this what every blog post about content marketing you’ve ever read tells you to do? Of course it is. Engage with your customers by sharing an interesting story with them? This is what the Bible does in bucket loads.

Think of all the Biblical stories that you know: Adam and Eve. Noah, Moses, Jesus, to name but a few: these are very powerful stories that have been remembered for generations.

It is these stories that have helped spread Christianity and made it one of the world’s leading religions.

How does the Bible tell this story?

At the heart of the Bible and Christianity are the 10 Commandments. These 10 rules are the key set of laws that govern all Christians. It is a framework from which all of the Bible and other Christian teachings and writings stem from. This is what all content strategies need. You need to have your own set of brand rules, establishing tone of voice, target audience and story.

Before any content is created brands and their agencies need to work out what their core beliefs and core outcomes are. As we outlined in our Content Marketing Guide 2013 there are many questions that content marketers need to ask before creating any content at all.

What story do you want to tell? Who do you want to tell it to? What is your ideal outcome? 

The Bible has a creative core of ideas behind it that speaks out to a reader on every single page. How many content marketing campaigns have this creative forethought behind them? Red Bull does and so do Coca-Cola and Amex. More brands need to.

Read the full article at eConsultancy…


This Is Why You Can’t Market Yourself

Marketing | Spotlight Marketing SolutionsBased on no research other than existing, I feel it’s safe to say that most people are terrible at marketing, especially when it comes to marketing themselves.

By marketing I mean: understanding how to sell something.

Of course, it’s no surprise that the majority of people are terrible at marketing themselves. Not everyone is good at marketing, and marketing oneself relies not upon understanding oneself but understanding how others perceive you. Or can be manipulated into perceiving you.

Self-marketing requires an odd mix of objectivity and empathy. It asks you to be objective in relationship to yourself. (Think about that for a moment and see if your head explodes.) And it demands you be enough of a skilled empathizer that you can inhabit the minds of others and generate a deep, ideally intuitive sense of how they experience you consciously and unconsciously.

Read the full post from Susannah Breslin at…


The Most Powerful Content Marketing Lesson Learned

Spotlight Marketing Solutions | St. Paul MNJeff Molander hits the nail on the head here…

In the last few years, of what’s being called online content marketing, what have we learned? When all the blogs, whitepapers, ebooks, podcasts and YouTube videos have been produced, what can we say we learned, took action on and improved?

The single most important lesson learned for me, and in my research, has been how engaging customers should never be the goal. Instead, engagement is the starting point. It’s an open door to get customers to respond to you, your brand.

Engagement has so many of us so wrapped up that we’re failing to realize a key point: Engaging is merely a chance to enter into a journey with a prospect; a trip toward whatever it is they need, desire, hope for or need to avoid.

Read the full article at Target Marketing…


6 Habits of Remarkably Likeable People

clintonmandelaDo people remember you in a positive way after a networking event? Do you sincerely want to get to know people and what makes them tick? Or are you really just looking for the next sale.

This article by Jeff Haden published in offers great tips on making a lasting impression when you first meet someone new…

6 Habits of Remarkably Likeable People

When you meet someone, after, “What do you do?” you’re out of things to say. You suck at small talk, and those first five minutes are tough because you’re a little shy and a little insecure.

But you want to make a good impression. You want people to genuinely like you.

Here’s how remarkably likeable people do it:

They lose the power pose.

I know: Your parents taught you to stand tall, square your shoulders, stride purposefully forward, drop your voice a couple of registers, and shake hands with a firm grip.

It’s great to display nonverbal self-confidence, but go too far and it seems like you’re trying to establish your importance. That makes the “meeting” seem like it’s more about you than it is the other person–and no one likes that.

No matter how big a deal you are you pale in comparison to say, oh, Nelson Mandela. So take a cue from him. Watch how he greets Bill Clinton, no slouch at this either.

Clinton takes a step forward (avoiding the “you must come to me” power move); Mandela steps forward with a smile and bends slightly forward as if, ever so slightly, to bow (a clear sign of deference and respect in nearly every culture); Clinton does the same. What you have are two important people who put aside all sense of self-importance or status.

They’re genuine.

Next time you meet someone, relax, step forward, tilt your head towards them slightly, smile, and show that you’re the one who is honored by the introduction–not them.

We all like people who like us. If I show you I’m genuinely happy to meet you, you’ll instantly start to like me. (And you’ll show that you do, which will help calm my nerves and let me be myself.)

They embrace the power of touch.

Nonsexual touch can be very powerful. (Yes, I’m aware that sexual touch can be powerful too.) Touch can influence behavior, increase the chances of compliance, make the person doing the touching seem more attractive and friendly.

Go easy, of course: Pat the other person lightly on the upper arm or shoulder. Make it casual and nonthreatening.

Check out Clinton’s right-hand-shakes-hands-left-hand-touches-Mandela’s-forearm-a-second-later handshake in the link above and tell me, combined with his posture and smile, that it doesn’t come across as genuine and sincere.

Think the same won’t work for you? Try this: The next time you walk up behind a person you know, touch them lightly on the shoulder as you go by. I guarantee you’ll feel like a more genuine greeting was exchanged.

Touch breaks down natural barriers and decreases the real and perceived distance between you and the other person–a key component in liking and in being liked.

Read the rest at…