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Uh-Oh…Looks Like We Might Have Lost the Customer

  |  June 20, 2014   |  Comments

Unless you are thinking about the entire buying experience through the eyes of the customer, you are missing key opportunities to sell, engage, and retain your most important asset: your customer.

Over the past year I have had the opportunity to work with companies that have a staff size ranging from one to 3,000. All of them are focused on driving success through some sort of content publishing effort.

Each company has had their own unique challenges. From funding to finding resources, budget size to budget effectiveness, reporting and tracking, and, of course sales. Yet, through it all, the focus continues to be on the primary business need: driving revenue.

Driving revenue is important. We can all agree on that. Without it, companies can't survive. But, somehow, most companies these days have gotten so wrapped up in deploying tactics to reach a bottom line, they have forgotten the most important aspect of success - which is, the customer.

In today's socially powered, conversational world, customer and context are the two things your business cannot live without. And I am not the only one on this soapbox. My friend Brian Solis had the opportunity to sit down with the brilliant Zach Nelson, chief executive (CEO) of NetSuite, and discuss the why and how technology, and more importantly, cloud computing, is making it easier to move the customer back to the forefront of the conversation. You can watch this inspiring video here

**Spoiler alert: In case you don't have the 15 minutes to watch this video, here is arguably the best quote from the interview.**

"I'm about to give you money and you don't know who I am," Nelson shared in the voice of a customer. His answer is to consider the balance between "internal automation versus external learning and engagement." Customers expect you to know who they are, where they are, and not to have to conform to your old models in place today. They'll simply move on if they have to. - Zach Nelson

Unless you are thinking about the entire buying experience through the eyes of the customer/journey, you are missing key opportunities to sell, engage, and retain your most important asset: your customer. If you are not sure where or how to start migrating to a customer-centric organization, versus a product-centric organization, ask yourself these key questions:

  1. WHY? When your customer is looking for a new product or service from your company, why are they buying it? What is the emotional driver and is the location they land on meeting their emotional needs?
  2. HOW? What channels are the most effective in attracting new customers? And, for those channels, are you starting a conversation with them, or are you simply yelling about product that you have for them to buy or read? (The focus should be on establishing the first.)
  3. WHEN? How long is it taking you to start a dialogue with the customer? In some cases, when customers reach out via the website, they get a website confirmation, but not an email. This is a big no, no for customers. Send them something immediately (within 24 hours) so they have a brand reminder at the very least. Chances are after they left your site, they checked three to five others as well. You need to break through the clutter.

Migrating to a customer-centric process and model is not fast or simple. It requires patience and commitment. But, it's worth it Those who have rebuilt marketing plans along these lines have seen revenue quadruple. With technology advancing at rapid speeds, the opportunity to take advantage of real-time, content-driven, customer-focused initiatives could not be better.

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Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition.

Prior to her role at NOOKTM Jeanniey launched a wearables fashion technology company called Ringblingz. Before getting into the wearables business, Jeanniey was the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Zinio, where she grew the business by more than 427 percent, into one of the largest global digital newsstands. Other notable roles in her career include her involvement as the executive director and senior partner at OgilvyOne, where she led the digital Dialogue business and worked with Fortune 50 brands including IBM, Unilever, and American Express, and being a general manager at Grey Direct. At Grey Direct Jeanniey launched the first email marketing division of a global advertising agency. Prior to her time in advertising, Jeanniey spent seven years in retail leading a variety of groups from Consumer Relations and Operations, to Collections and Digital at JCPenney.

One of Jeanniey's favorite times in her career was when she founded the Email Experience Council (which was acquired by the Direct Marketing Association). Jeanniey is a recognized "Women in Business," a frequent keynote speaker, and has authored three books and launched a number of companies ranging from entertainment to technology and fashion.

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