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

Volkswagen's Customer Intuition

Have you seen the startling ads for the VW Jetta? The ones where you are riding along with the occupants when suddenly out of nowhere they have a collision. The ads are designed to highlight the “safety in light of the unexpected” aspect of the Volkswagen Jetta. Dave over at our sister blog BeTuitive call the ads risky but they connect with him as he has experienced an accident and can relate with the sudden impact of these commercials.

Seems to me to be an intuition moment on the part of Volkswagen or at least their ad agency. These ads are most likely the result of market research that shows that safety ranks high in customers and prospects minds, therefore commercials dramatically promoting the safety performance of their vehicles.

How are you responding to the discussions that your customers and prospects are having about your business or products? Are you responding in advertising? In your email newsletters? On your blog?

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May 23, 2006 in audio publication, award winning magazine, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Building Customer Community, bulk email marketing, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications | Permalink | Comments (0)

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

Sales Genius Helps You Track Customer Interactions with Your Website

Sure you can have excellent stats and behavior tracking with your email newsletters but what about the follow-up emails that your sales staff sends to hot prospects and potential customers? Ever wish you could see if your prospects are visiting the web pages you are referring them to? Now you can with a new service that will track customer and prospect behavior based on the emails that you are sending. Give Sales Genius a try during the free trial period to see if it's going to be worth paying a monthly expense for the service.

SalesGenius™ is the first personal web analytics service that lets sales professionals instantly qualify sales prospects by tracking individual visits to corporate web sites, without any programming or IT involvement. The real-time Genius Tracker™ gives you immediate feedback about which sales leads have opened your e-mails and clicked through to your web site, so you can tell at a glance who is most interested.

Sales Genius

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May 3, 2006 in award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogs, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, CMO | 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

Put These Entrepreneurial Proverbs on Your Radar

Screenshot 03-1Over at O'Reilly Radar as opposed to Radar O'Reilly, there's a great list of “Entrepreneurial Proverbs” that are intended for engineer types who want to start their own companies. Great bit size chunks for those looking to start a company or just wanting to shape some advice for someone who is.

Cool ideas are useless without great needs -- this is the classic engineers' entrepreneurial mistake (or at least I'd like to think so, since I've made it). Techies love tech, and a new technology can produce a lot of companies that don't really meet a need. Better to start with the need, and then see how what you know can produce a better answer to that need. (Marketers tend to have the opposite problem: real, pressing needs with completely unworkable solutions.)
Build the simplest thing possible -- engineers have the hardest time with this, with not overdesigning for the need they're addressing. Make the simplest possible product that makes a significant dent in that need, and you'll do far better than you would addressing two or three needs at once. Simplicity leads to clarity in everything you do.
Solve problems, not potential problems -- you can waste a lot of money implementing solutions for problems you don't have yet, and may never have. Work on the biggest, most pressing problems today, and put aside everything else.
Test everything with real people -- it's unbelievable how helpful this is. Go find civilians, real people who use computers because they have to and not because they love to. Find them in Starbucks, or at the library, or in a college computer lab. Give them $20 for 20 minutes, and you'll be paid back a hundred times over.

Read the rest of the list.

O'Reilly Radar: “Entrepreneurial Proverbs”

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March 9, 2006 in award winning newsletter, blog publish, Brand enhancement, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Boing Boing Reports on Two Disconnects Between Operations and the Customer Experience

Today Boing Boing reports on two stories that illustrate disconnects between operations departments and the revenue generating mission of an organization.

First it's airports. Cory Doctorow posts a report that airports are covering power outlets to deny power to travelers looking to recharge their laptops and cellphones. Many of these same airports sell access to WiFi internet access. Who can buy and use WiFi if their laptop batteries are depleted? This sounds like a disconnect between operations looking to curb electricity use and management that wants to generate more revenue and enhance travel customer experience.

Cory also points to a post on the Re-Imaginering blog that discusses maintenance problems at Walt Disney theme parks. Apparently, the operations budget is so tight that animatronics are deactivated instead of repaired, figures are repositioned to avoid excessive wear on costumes and entire new attractions are actively opposed by operations because they don't have the budget to maintain them. Again a disconnect between operations and the customer experience. Raving fans who are more than willing to evangelize the theme parks are noticing and the web is spreading the word.

How about your organization? Are you aware of any disconnects that are negatively effecting your customer experience? Maybe it's as simple as that incredibly cheap paper in your laser printer. That cheap stuff will save dome pennies but the client frowns at that cheap stuff their expensive reports and studies are printed on.

Where do you see disconnects that are sending mixed messages about your business to your customers? Is it time to realign your budgets and priorities?

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February 28, 2006 in award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Brand enhancement, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Weblogs | 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

Track Your Comments with coComment

coCommentI have been telling you for a long time now that you need to use the available Web Tools like Technorati, Feedster and PubSub to discover and track the conversations about your customers, your company and your products in the blogosphere. Beyond just discovering conversations you should join the conversations with constructive comments that add value to the conversations. Discovering blog posts good and bad about your product and responding in an authentic and transparent way is good for your business. It shows that you are listening and responsive to the needs of customers.

The problem comes when their are dozens of posts and you begin leaving comments all over the blogosphere. How do you know when others comment in response? You don't want to spend a lot of time manually checking each post to see if there are new comments. There's a new tool to help you track your commenting activity. coComment is a new service that helps you track your comments and see when others add comments to posts you have commented on. The service is in a private beta but go ahead and request and invitation. It seems they are sending them out within hours of your request. Not only can you track conversations you are participating you can get an RSS feed of your comments for your RSS reader. The service doesn't support all blogging platforms yet but is promising.

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February 9, 2006 in award winning design, award winning magazine, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

5 Tips for Promoting your Blog to Popular Bloggers

OK, so by now you are totally “tuned-in” to blogs and all the wonderful things they can do to help spread the word about you, your company and your ideas. You've seen the power of good blog PR. A mention or two on a prominent blog and traffic to your own blog soars. But their doesn't seem to be any formula for getting those mentions. You keep sending those press releases and you submit every post you write to the popular sites but still the results are hit and miss. You decide to try harder. You begin to email everything to everyone hoping to up the percentage of signal by producing more noise.

Wrong, wrong wrong. You're thinking broadcast in a relationship world. Bloggers, especially popular bloggers, can smell self promotion a mile away. They aren't the PR department for your business or blog. They want relevant value for their own audience. They want information that fits their blog and their voice. If you want their help promoting your ideas you need to know and understand their ideas. This is more complex then building a bigger email list of “marketing” bloggers to whom you can spew send your latest press release. This is about using all the tips and tools of customer intuition to build your blog PR Intuition.

Participate - You need to seriously read and participate in conversations on blogs. Leave relevant value adding comments. Use trackbacks where appropriate.

Link - If you want popular blogs to link to you be sure that you have already linked to them.

Explain Yourself - Don't just submit a URL or send a press release, talk to the blogger. Write a brief personal message explaining why you think a blogger and their audience will be interested in what you have to say.

Thank A Blogger - When a popular blog links to you and you see a good pop in your traffic and/or more inbound links send a brief thank you. Most bloggers are interested in the effects of their blogging. They'll be interested in brief accounts of what their blog does for others.

Be Human - When you are looking to spread your ideas treat others like humans not just email addresses. It's not about broadcasting it's about relationships.

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February 2, 2006 in award winning magazine, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack