Want to Grow Your Customer Intuition? Become A Customer Evangelist

The role in today's organizations most suited to developing great customer intuition and insight is increasingly the customer evangelist. The person designated to be the customer liaison, the face and voice of the company or product. The customer evangelist is the person(s) in your organization that advocates for the interests of your customers and the person with the most insight and intuition into the needs and wants of your customers.

The Church of the Customer Blog highlights great tips for being a Chief Evangelist:

Betsy Weber, the chief evangelist for software toolmaker TechSmith, has five solid tips for being an official company evangelist and helping create other evangelists just like yourself.

1. Be a power listener.
Listen as much as you talk (if not more). Then, bring those conversations with customers into your company so the user's voice is heard. Keep the conversations going. Relate the feedback you hear to product teams, be the voice of the customer, and fight for what they want at your company.

2. Get out of the marketing department.
This isn't a marketing job. This isn't to create sales. It's about customer care and customer relationships. Dump the marketing lingo. Be transparent, open and honest. You have to be an extrovert and people person. It's almost a way of life -- you're either suited for it or you're not.

3. Get your whole company onboard.
It takes more than a Chief Evangelist to create customer evangelists. Every area that the customers interact with must be on board with creating customer evangelists. If one department fails to give outstanding service or gives the customer a negative experience the whole company is affected.

4. Open the front door and be accessible.
Give out your direct phone number and real email address. If you hide behind voicemail and an email alias you might miss a great opportunity. Give VIP tours and arrange for customer meet-ups. Customers will appreciate it and it can be a competitive advantage.

5. Have passion.
You must love and believe in the products, and you have to be passionate about the people who use them. If you won't, who will?


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June 4, 2006 in award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Brand enhancement, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, CMO | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Customer Managed Relationships

Seth points out that Disney is thinking differently about CRM. They see it differently. Customer Managed Relationships. CMR replacing CRM. “...our guests invite us into their lives and ultimately manage our presence/relationship with them.” Now that's understanding permission marketing. Who among us enjoys it when a marketer manages our relationship. We'd much rather manage our relationship.

So what's a marketer to do?

Be on all the Channels
Think about the relationship you want your customers to have with you. That's slightly different than thinking about the relationship you want to have with your customers. What channels of communication do your customers want to hear from you? You probably don't know so maybe you need to use multiple channels and let customers choose what's most convenient for them. Some customers will like email newsletters, some will like direct mail, some will like an RSS feed from your blog, and some will like podcasts. The point is that it should be the customers choice. The choice you have as a marketer is to populate the available channels with your message.

Track, Tweak and Be Respectable
When you offer multiple channels respect the choices of your customers. Don't assume that those that listen and respond to one channel will want to hear from you on other channels. For example don't assume that email newsletter readers will want to hear your podcast. It's ok to let them know you have one but it's not OK to send the podcast file in an email. At every opportunity Test and Tweak your message so that you continually improve your use of each channel of communication.

Sounds like a lot of work doesn't it? That's why you should consider outsourcing your email newsletters and blogs to a provider like BeTuitive Marketing where all the Tracking and Tweaking are respectfully handled for you by experts in permission marketing.

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May 8, 2006 in award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, business credibility, Business editorial, business magazine, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, CMO, company blog, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Geographic Customer Intuition: Census/Google Maps Mashup

We're all about the Customer Intuition here at BeConnected. Learning about your customers, their needs, behaviors and desires is so important for any business. For those addressing specific geographic areas when developing new locations, products, services or experiences understanding Census data is critical. Here's a cool tool that allows you to analyze Census data based on a one, three and five mile radius from a given location or address.

AnalyGIS: Census/Map

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March 30, 2006 in award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter, CMO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Daily Candy to Sell at Auction for $100 Million

Here's a word from the B2C email newsletter world that will give you pause. Daily Candy a trend spotting shopping daily email newsletter service is poised to sell for $100 million. Wow! there is a lot of value in building a targeted permission based audience.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Daily Candy's business is a simple one: It produces urbane email newsletters that make daily recommendations on shopping, entertainment, food and media. Originally written for a clutch of trend-obsessed New York City women, the site produces 11 electronic newsletters, including editions for Chicago, San Francisco and London. Advertisers pay for access to the newsletter subscribers.

Wall Street Journal: Former AOL Official Pittman Puts Web Firm Daily Candy Up for Sale

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February 16, 2006 in audio publication, Award winning publications, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, CMO, company blog, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Free Wikis at PBWiki

PBwiki logoIf you are looking for an easy to use and free place to build a wiki for your personal use, your work team, your company outing, your school play or anything else you can think to organize with the direct input of others I highly recommend you check out PBwiki, its a very easy to use wiki platform. It's true what they say-- PBwiki makes creating a wiki as easy as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Uhmmmm Peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Now is the time to learn about all the uses for a wiki.

PBwiki: Get a free wiki at PBwiki.com.

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February 15, 2006 in award winning design, Award winning publications, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Two Things

This month's review for the BeTuitive Business Book Club is up over at the BeTuitive Blog. Another good review, Susan.

I also want to remind you to go ahead and add yourself to the map of BeConnected readers on Frappr.

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October 26, 2005 in award winning magazine, Award winning publications, Books, build credibility, Business newsletter, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What Should Casio Do in Response to Cory Doctorow's Post on Boing Boing

So what should Casio do now when the most widely linked and influential blog writes this just as they introduce a new product:

I'm an idiot. I bought another of these cameras, the S500, which is currently the top of Casio's line. It, too, has a screen that protrudes from the camera's body, and it, too, cracked within a month. The company is charging me another 90 pounds to fix this thing, and they've had it since October 4. No parts, you see.

So that's it for me and Casio -- it's a shame. The cameras are small, pretty and work well. But they suffer from flawed designs and a flawed manufacturer that treats repair customers like crap, and I can't think of a single good reason to go on giving them my business, no matter how cool this new six megapixel camera sounds.

Casio has a huge problem and they may not even know it. The above are the last two paragraphs of Cory Doctorow's post titled “Casio: cool cameras, terrible service -- buy something else” This is a full on crisis for Casio and their Exilim Digital Camera products as tens perhaps hundreds of thousands of potential customers have or will read this post. On any lessor blog this could be ignored but written by Cory on Boing Boing this is a problem.

What should Casio do in response?
They need to respond - Get a response put together within 24 hours and post-it somewhere where bloggers can link to it.
Engage Cory Doctorow in conversation - Send your response to Cory in hopes that he blogs about it. Apologize to him for his service problems and explain how you will fix the systemic problems. Don't send him a free camera! That will surely backfire. Bloggers want to be engaged in conversation not marketed to, spun or bought.
Solicit Feedback - Evaluate Cory's comments. Invite him and a small group of his expert friends (Cory has a lot of influential geek friends) to advise your company on how to make better products. You want to turn this negative into a positive and gain positive word of mouth in the blogosphere for future products.
Blog the entire process.

Companies large and small will increasingly face PR problems like these as bloggers and citizen reviewers build their following and influence. My best advice on how to be ready for this kind of very visible negative PR is to have already established a corporate blog that has already built a trusted communication channel and conversation with customers and prospects. If you aren't completely comfortable with the culture and practice of the blog world then consider outsourcing your blog to an experienced partner who can help you become an authentic voice in the blogosphere. As in any endeavor experience can mean the difference between a long painful DIY disaster or a much shortened learning curve and path to success.

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October 25, 2005 in award winning blog, award winning design, award winning magazine, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Current Affairs, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Newsletter Reader Maps with Frappr

Frappr-1Here's a nice tool for mapping customers, readers, vendor locations, retailers, etc. Frappr is a free tool that let's users set up groups and members can add themselves quickly and easily.

If you are publishing a blog or a e-newsletter consider setting up a map of your own and asking your readers to add themselves and give you a shout out on this google maps based tool. Very fun.

To see just how easy and fun this is click over and add yourself to the new map of BeConnected readers.

Why map your readers? Next time you travel to St. Louis, San Francisco or Sandusky you'll know you have friends there that might buy you a beer. They might also prove to be excellent local resources.

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October 25, 2005 in award winning design, award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Blogs, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, CMO, Travel, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What XM Satellite Radio Should Be Doing at the World Series

On the heals of my post yesterday about Story-crafting I can't resist commenting on XM Satellite Radio's plans to market to baseball fans by passing out coupons good for their portable receivers to all 40,000+ ticket holders to game one of the World Series in Chicago on Saturday.

This is old school marketing where the marketer tells the story and the consumer has to listen and respond in the narrow way as prescribed by the marketer. In fact fans who received the coupons have to buy at least three months of the $12.95/month service to get their radio. Way to build a nice barrier to entry XM. It's passive buy before you try marketing.

What XM Should Do

It's all about sampling the content not the hardware. By simply giving out coupons they don't allow potential customers to do either.

XM should:
-Develop special one station receivers to give to every fan on the way into the game.
-Partner with MLB and Fox to provide the best content possible.
-Do pre game and post game programming to cross promote XM content.
-Produce the game coverage with as much listener participation as possible. Use fan interviews, call-ins, contests, trivia quizzes, etc.
-Allow fans to trade in their receivers for discount coupons good for discounts on hardware and service.
-Consider broadcasting to those receivers that aren't turned in for a week following the game as further promotion of XM content.

A freebie that's got a hidden cost to it is doomed. You're bait and switching potential customers. Those prospects will feel cheated before they even hear the content. Pay per use media needs to be all about sampling. You don't buy a car without test driving it. You don't buy concert tickets to bands you've never heard before. What makes them think people will sign-up for audio content they have never heard before?

A single use sampling of the experience provides true motivation to buy. If customers feel that they can participate in the creation of the consuming experience they will take ownership and passionately evangelize the product, service or experience.

Bask in headlines like these, XM, because that's all you're likely to get out of this promotion.

Satellite Radio Outfit Outfits Baseball Fans

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October 20, 2005 in audio publication, Award winning publications, Brand enhancement, Current Affairs, Sports, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Storytelling vs. Story-crafting

These days marketing is all about the story. It's the story of the idea that lead to the creation of your business, the history of your company, the creative uses of your product, the experience of your service, the transformation that results from your experience. Whatever it is, it's all about the story and thus the storytelling. The storytelling techniques and venues are constantly changing. Just as mass communication grew through newspapers to radio to television the new media is evolving communication and storytelling. Electronics and internet connectivity are changing the game from mass communication and storytelling to individual communication and story-crafting.

Story-crafting is different than storytelling because the listener takes an active participatory role in how they consume the story. User generated content builds on the base framework created by marketers to create new narratives that are much more powerful and relevant to consumers. A forum or blog comment section that collects customer experiences, tips, recommendations, reviews, suggestions etc. is much more relevant to consumers than traditional marketing speak generated by the in-house copy writers. Trust has shifted. Consumers believe their fellow consumers perhaps more so than the company line.

Today customers or fans self organize into different levels of loyalty and devotion to your product, service or experience. In so doing they seek out different levels of connection to your brand. Some just buy your product, some refer you to friends and colleagues, some subscribe to your email newsletter, still others read and subscribe to your blog, a few subscribe to your podcast and somewhere out there somebody wants to tatoo your logo on their body. There's a hierarchy of brand loyalty and devotion. The examples are obvious and oft written about. Apple, Microsoft, Volkswagen, Disney, Harley-Davidson, Tom Peters, Starbucks, etc.

What's needed today is a comprehensive integrated approach to the use of the new tools and communication channels available to today's marketer. The tools keep coming. It's too easy to just grow haphazardly from email newsletters to blogs/RSS to audio podcasting to video pocasting with wikis, forums, chat rooms thrown in along the way. We're seeing some dazzling failures along the way as companies attempt to use these tools without understanding how best to integrate them into an overarching story-crafting strategy.

Today's marketers need to understand new media tools and just how they can and should be used to allow customers and prospects to enter into a participatory relationship with your brand that allows them to connect at a variety of levels with your ongoing stories. Not everyone will utilize all of your communication channels but their needs to be a strategy so that all the elements move the story forward and don't frustrate customers by simply duplicating messages across different media.

That's why it pays to consider outsourcing your customer communication like email newsletters and blogs to a company like BeTuitive Marketing, LLC because we bring a lot of experience and understanding of these new media tools and can help you craft overall strategies for building your relationships and sales with your existing and prospective customers.

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October 19, 2005 in audio publication, award winning blog, award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Blogs, Brand enhancement, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business editorial, business magazine, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, CMO, company blog, Television, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack