Your Customer Service Sucks, But I’m Still A Customer

Last week, my commute home was interrupted. I was frustrated when my train was behind schedule, and then taken out of service.

Not in Service Yellow Line trainMy reaction was similar to the reaction of those around me. “We are all late because your trains are running behind schedule, and your response is to kick us off the train and tell us to wait for the next one? Seriously, TriMet?”

The next day, it happened again. This time we were told there were too many trains. However, our train was nearly shoulder to shoulder. Saying there were too many trains, to those of us on the train, didn’t ring true. And it underlined that TriMet didn’t care about us, a train full of riders.

Over two days, we had an awful customer experience. The first time, we felt disregarded. The second time, we felt lied to.

But today, I am drafting this post on the train, living proof not every aspect of the customer experience matters. Read more of this post

3 Questions For When Mobile is the First Screen

my iPhone family pileMobile devices are expected to be the primary mode of internet access in the next three years. This is worth saying again: Your company’s digital experience will be primarily via mobile devices.

The current response from marketing falls woefully short of where they need to be in a few short months.

Discussions of mobile marketing quickly turn to apps, mobile sites and how to make content mobile-friendly. Even when embraced, this response is eerily similar to early websites, which extended brochures to the web by merely converting to HTML and adding hyperlinks. Read more of this post

Thought Leadership Marketing is an Oxymoron

Thought leadership is a common marketing topic, but unfortunately thought leadership is not a common outcome of marketing. Part of the problem is that thought leadership marketing has lost all notions of actual thought leadership.

Gartner defines thought leadership marketing as “the giving — for free or at a nominal charge — of information or advice that a client will value so as to create awareness of the outcome that a company’s product or service can deliver, in order to position and differentiate that offering and stimulate demand for it.”

The problem is, knowledge of what a product or service can deliver or its differentiation does not establish real thought leadership. Read more of this post

Online Media Needs Innovation, Not a TV Standard

This is my opinion about the recent IAB, ANA and 4A’s principles for online measurement. If you don’t like rants, or think the advertising associations can do no wrong, stop reading and go back to Lycos. Otherwise, read on and share your reactions in the comments below.

The IAB, ANA and 4A’s recently outlined five measurement principles as part of Making Measurement Make Sense. The objectives, outlined below, are admirable:

  • Define transparent, standardized and consistent metrics and measurement systems to simplify the planning, buying and selling of digital media in a cross-platform environment.
  • Drive industry consensus around a solution.
  • Establish a governance model to support ongoing standards development, manage change and ensure compliance.

The problem is, as someone that has spent the last ten years (gulp) in this industry, the principles and their intended impact are mostly nonsense. Read more of this post

Three Reasons To Stop Calling Customers “Assets”

Customers Drive Your Business, They Are Not Your Assets

Yesterday’s #IMCchat (Integrated Marketing Communications) on Twitter included a conversation about customers as assets. I don’t believe customers should be called assets, and I found myself in a very lonely minority. As always, conversation refines and clarifies perspective, and the following tweet from Anna Barcelos was key in refining this perspective.

Customers are incredibly valuable, and the things that are valuable in business are assets. Your marketing analytics or financial analysis group even tracks the exact value of your customer, and it is a metric you should cherish. That is reasonable, but I still will not start labeling customers “assets.” Here’s why. Read more of this post

Is Free Costing You Your Social Media Reputation?

Advertised Price: Free. Real Price: Your Reputation and Influence.

How much will you pay for a service that saves you time in social media? Judging by the $1 to $10 per month price tags for a number of tools, outside of business accounts, it isn’t very much. However, increasingly companies are asking us to pay by promoting their products and services to our connections.

A number of tools and services are available for the cost of social promotion. I can imagine the mindset of those creating these tools:

  • Create word of mouth support for our offering.
  • Drive traffic and increase our advertising revenue.
  • Expand our user base and increase opportunity for a big cash out.

The challenge is, required sharing does not create credible word of mouth. Paper.li and TrueTwit are both illustrations of the problems that arise when companies require promotion to your connections. Read more of this post

Five Keys to Creating Content that Drives Awareness

StartCurrent marketing wisdom says content should be mapped to buying cycles. Yet according to a study from MarketingProfs and Junta42, 78% of B2B marketers say awareness is an objective of content marketing.

Question: Where is awareness most valuable in the buying cycle?
Answer: Early stage research and creation of a consideration set.

Question: Would it be better if prospects where aware of your company when they started the research process?
Answer: “Well, DUH!”

It is time to step back from planning content for the buying cycle and focus on Stage Zero Content. Read more of this post

Social Media Is Not Like Selling Used Cars

What makes you think you have a solution?

MustacheLast week I overheard a conversation about a technical roadblock between colleagues. I immediately jumped in with a solution. Big #FAIL. They did not want a solution from me, and as it turned out, I didn’t actually have a solution. The problem was way over my head.

Luckily, we are friends, or at least colleagues. This wasn’t my first conversation with them. But if we didn’t already know each other, this would be one of the worst ways to introduce myself. Yet this is exactly what social media marketers do every day.

Read more of this post

Is Marketing Strategy Out of Favor?

wooden wagon wheelDoes this sound familiar? “We know our budget doesn’t let us do this right, but we need to do what we can.” No wonder marketing doesn’t have respect in so many organizations! You can’t meet your goal, so you “do what you can”? For any other group in your company, this would be completely unacceptable. For marketing in many organizations, it is almost expected.

The result too often is a series of random acts of marketing. One marketing activity that makes sense on the surface, but without complementary components, simply doesn’t deliver what it could. A single solitary activity (or even two or three) that do not surround the audience, that do not deliver and reinforce your message, that are not part of a larger cohesive story, are just random acts of marketing. Read more of this post

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