Not too long ago marketers were given a grace period when responding to a prospect or customer. Depending on the nature of the inquiry the grace period could range from a few hours to 1-2 business days. The tools were still evolving, it was expensive to respond quickly and quite honestly, no one was expecting it. Not anymore.
If you’re looking for auto insurance, you can visit the GEICO website for a near-instant 15-minute quote. That’s still (far) better than many sites which ask for that same 15 minutes for you to complete a form and then inform you that an agent will call you. Who knows when. GEICO’s “15-minutes could save you 15 percent or more” promise speaks volumes compared to the “an agent will call” promise.
Today, consumers expect to get information in real-time because their actual buying cycle has become more compressed. Once they’re past the consideration threshold they want the actual buying process to be quick and painless.
Staying on the insurance theme, agents need quality leads to support their pipeline. That often means getting that lead delivered in real-time so he/she can respond in real-time. Leads that are a few days old are not nearly as valuable compared to leads that are an hour old.
Despite the ubiquity of Marketing Automation platforms and service providers and the low implementation costs some companies can’t or won’t restructure their operations to deliver a real time response. Unless these companies change their behavior, they risk being outpaced, outshined and outlived by their competition. Events are occurring in real-time on your website, blogs, etc. and the time to engage your market and connect with customers in real-time is now.
In this customer-centric world, the real-time response paradigm has shifted from “nice to have” to “must have.” It’s time to engage with the customer in real-time. The only question is, what’s this new “measure” of real-time? If you were to be contacted within 5 minutes, 30 minutes or 2 hours, would you consider that to be a real-time response?
So, I just finished reading Guy Kawasaki’s book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions (available on Amazon). It’s one of the best books I’ve read. A one that provides meaningful and actionable insights into cultivating and managing strong customer relationships.
I wanted to reflect on how one creates Enchantment, whether at a personal level or in their professional life. Now, we all Enchant in our own ways in our personal lives. So, I won’t speak to personal Enchantment, however, as a business we could share some common knowledge and BKMs of Enchantment.
Here’s how we do it here at Digital Wavefront.
Building and Curating Trust
We believe relationships are built and curated on trust. After all, you are doing business with another company based on having built and developed some level of trust with company. As the trust builds, so does your relationship with that company over time. The first step in the Enchantment process begins with trust.
No really. I find there’s nothing more annoying than over-promising and under-delivering. At Digital Wavefront, we go above and beyond (just ask some of our Amazed Customers!) to ensure our customer experience is nothing short of “wow”. We believe Enchantment can be created at every touch point, from face-to-face meetings to follow-up emails.
Tip: Change Orders don’t Enchant. Please scope projects based on experience.
Providing Expert Advice without Expectations
Whether you sell toys or solar panels or offer digital marketing services like we do, provide them with relevant, timely and valuable information, whether you possess that intrinsically or have to spend some time researching, and you’ll Enchant.
Creating Simple Solutions that Deliver Results
We believe in designing and creating solutions that are simple, yet effective in meeting or exceeding the program’s or company’s goals and objectives. No one complained when Apple made the iPhone so ridiculously easy to use. Everyone, including myself, was Enchanted. A lot of companies, including Nokia and Ericcsson had tried, but failed to create something simple and easy to use. The project may be complicated, but the solution doesn’t have to. Think of micro-blogging services like Twitter, or a social juggernaut like Facebook and how they solved complex challenges with easy-to-use solutions.
We create harmony between marketing and technology. Very few companies would agree to upgrade their infrastructure, systems, even their behavior to accommodate a custom micro-site or a portal you created for them. We create solutions that are non-disruptive and just work! And, that’s Enchanting.
Disclaimer: Startups trying to create new products should not follow this rule. In fact, in their case, the exact opposite is true. The more disruptive the solution, the more reasons to enchant VCs and customers!
Making Customers Shine
Basically, everyone (well, most everyone) at every level within the organization is trying to do best to serve their organization’s goals and objectives. If you are working with such an individual, your job is to make him/her shine with the organization. The more they shine, the more Enchanted they become. This can be achieved by delivering results, through your approach, providing subject matter expertise when requested, etc.
What are some Enchantment techniques that you’ve come to rely on? Please share with your comments.
Justification is the name of the game when it comes to determining budget for a demand generation or lead nurture program using an integrated multi-channel contact strategy. The CFO wants to know what the ROI will be before funds are released and in many cases wants metrics by each of the channel components.
But many marketers harm themselves by engaging in “magical thinking” i.e. they come up with unrealistic metrics to justify the investment.
A variety of factors ranging from lack of response history to changing purchasing behavior cause estimates on response and conversion to become suspect. Nevertheless, proforma metrics need to be calculated.
So what can one do? Well, the first choice is to test and learn.
Pilot programs and rapid prototyping can be built for a fraction of the cost that will provide statistically reliable data that can be used to build a realistic view of the ROI. However, real world issues such as “time to market” and/or impending competitive threats may not allow enough bandwidth to test.
As a fallback marketers rely on secondary sources of information such as industry norms, previous campaigns or previous tests done for the product or service. Using a combination of these results a marketer can then create a range of data points (high, middle and low) and apply a weighting factor to each point in the range.
Sometimes the marketer is handed a pre-determined budget and sales goal and asked to “work within it.” In this situation, the task is to develop a strategy and supporting tactics that fit. The trap, however, is that unrealistic response and conversion metrics will be built that map to the predetermined ROI. This often leads to results that fall short of management’s expectations and the marketing team is then held to task. The answer under these conditions is to push back (as hard as it may be) at the outset and look at longer time horizon that allows for a break-even point between revenue and cost.
Regardless of the conditions it is important to avoid “magical thinking’ when it comes to ROI. The key to success is being realistic, educated and transparent when it comes to projecting results.