Signature of Approval!

Freud.pngWe just returned from the Cyber Defense Summit 2017 in Las Vegas.  Leading up to the Summit we worked with customers to create videos and quotes that were used throughout the event.  Our trip to Australia to film customers resulted in such great content we expedited processes and went from filming in one country to showing our videos on the main stage of the event 12 days later!

Love this photo, Freud Alexandre, the Enterprise Architect and Security Manager for the City of New Orleans, was so happy to be featured he autographed his banner.  That is the signature of approval! What we like to see with all our customer deliverables.

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Longer attention span: your target audience or a goldfish?

Longer attention span: your target audience or a goldfish? Hard to believe but the average person’s attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish! An article in Time Health quotes a Microsoft study which shows a human will pay attention for 8 seconds and a goldfish for 9!

Our digital lifestyle may make us better multitaskers but we’re also easily distracted. There is a lot of content out there, coupled with short attention spans, it’s not easy to stand out from the crowd.

This  post from RO Innovation makes the case that video can be the way to go instead of the case study format. Our brains actually process video faster than text.

Think about how video might work for you as you share stories of your customers and your brand. Our clients have a clear need for written content but we’re seeing an increase in the desire for video. Often times our interviews will become both short and compelling video pieces and a complimentary case study with greater detail. We’re about to send a team to Australia for a second time this year to create video and written case studies for our clients. There are a lot of interesting customer stories among Australian businesses! Whether your customer is in Australia or right next door, think about the format which will tell their story best.

IDC Research: The Role of Marketing in Customer Advocacy

Our partner, Influitive, has a variety of great resources for those in the customer advocacy field.  One is recent research from IDC, The Role of Marketing in Customer Advocacy which you can download here.  

The world has changed, how buying decisions are made has changed, and customer advocacy is more crucial than ever for continued business success. The report has interesting commentary and charts about how advocate marketing staff splits their time among their many responsibilities and which advocate marketing tactics are most common.  There is also discussion of common barriers and suggestions for key success metrics.  The research concludes with recommendations for success. 

This is worth a read.  Let us know if the content resonates with you.  Is this is what you are seeing in your industry, with your clients?  Interested in your thoughts!

Create Win-Wins with Your Customer Advocacy Program

We all know that a huge part of the sales cycle can happen well before a prospect even contacts you.  Our potential customers often look to their peers, friends, and those that are respected in their field for input and advice.  This is where a strong community of advocates comes in.  Your advocates are a very important part of your story, of your sales cycle.

In working with our clients and their advocacy programs we are always looking to create win-win situations.  We advise against asking advocates to do favors.  We caution our clients not to incent advocates with discounts. Instead, we encourage framing the discussion as one of presenting advocates with opportunities to network, to speak with analysts, to show thought leadership, or to influence product direction.   Rather than ask them to do a case study about your products, offer to showcase their success and leadership.  Advocacy activities can offer wonderful opportunities for increased company and personal awareness or for professional development.   Create situations where both you and your advocates win!

Sometimes you find a gem!

Many of us subscribe to newsletters, probably lots and lots of newsletters.  The chances of reading through them all each time they arrive is pretty low but sometimes as you skim through you find a gem.  I recently received the July issue of the newsletter from 4imprint, a vendor we’ve used for branded materials for trade show giveaways to client holiday gifts.  This issue focused on social customer service.  Of course they did weave in ways their products could help, but with a relevant and ‘non-intrusive’ approach.  The newsletter had highlights of an article with much more detail, a ‘blue paper’ as they are called by 4imprint.  Those highlights were interesting enough that I decided to look at the original article.

One statistic in particular was surprising:  “Those customers who use live chat for service report a satisfaction rate of 92 percent. This satisfaction rate is higher than that for service via phone, web form, email and social media.”  Live chat was followed pretty closely by voice which received an 88% satisfaction level.

The full article is here and quite interesting.  There are examples of how well known companies are approaching customer service, research findings, and recommendations as to how you might improve service to your customers.   And the sources are well documented!  How often have you wanted to use a stat you’ve seen somewhere but couldn’t trace it back to an original source?  The accompanying Infographic is a great summary.  Well done 4imprint!

Check what you already have first!

We’re helping a new client get a more formalized customer advocacy program off and running.  We’re contacting customers that have given high NPS scores recently, that have been part of early adopter or beta testing programs, or that were ‘known’ to product marketing.  But there are other treasure troves of advocates out there!  Stories on our client’s web site and quotes in press releases are just two examples of advocacy in action.

In the zeal to get new advocates you need to be careful to not overlook the ones you already have!  Make sure they are welcomed into any new program.  It’s a great opportunity to reconnect and understand the activities they are now interested in.  They have been there for you in the past, make sure they are a central part of your program moving forward.

Languages, Languages

English, French, German, Spanish, and Japanese.  We just finished program documentation for one of our clients in all of those languages.  Language expertise has been a priority for our recent hires and they’re busy translating program documentation, speaking with our clients’ sales reps in local language, and working directly with their end customers.  We prioritized languages after discussions with our clients and analysis of their customer base.  Our hires are a mix of native speakers and folks who learned primarily in school, but who coupled that book learning with significant time abroad.  We have found that even native speakers don’t necessarily know the complete suite of business terms we need but that’s been fairly easy to address.  We have our next priority languages set and are actively recruiting now.  Our languages list will be longer shortly!