Stop Doing What Customers Hate and Discover What They Love

In this webinar, Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara discusses concepts from Mark Schaefer’s latest book, Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins.

Mark is a globally recognized blogger, author, speaker, and educator with one of the top marketing blogs in the world. He is the Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, specializing in marketing strategy and social media workshops for clients and start-ups around the world such as Adidas, Dell, AT&T, the air force, and the UK government.

Customers are in control

Two-thirds of our marketing is occurring without us. A brand is no longer what we’re saying it is. The brand is being defined by our customers, based on what consumers tell each other it is. The customers are the marketers, and we have to find a way to help them do their job.

Stop doing what customers hate

Get out there and find out what customers love and go do what customers love. In the field of medicine, we use technology to extend human life. In physics, we use technology to look into the origins of the universe. In marketing, we use technology to annoy people with robocalls or email spam.

In order to create a human-centered view of marketing, look at your own company and put yourself in the role of the consumer and ask yourself, Am I doing things that people hate?

An example of this self-examination is a woman in the UK who realized she was contributing to the problem and spamming potential customers. She ditched her system and started calling people and talking to them. It completely changed the course of her business. She gained two new customers on the first day, and 40 new sales leads by the end of the week.

Martin Lindstrom, a marketing anthropologist, wrote a book called Small Data. He gave a talk to 5,000 marketing leaders in New York and asked them to raise their hand if they had been out talking to their customers in the last year. Out of 5,000 customers, only 19 raised their hand. We have to stop over-relying on technology.

“The wisdom isn’t going to come through a social media dashboard, it’s going to come from connecting to people – online, in real life, in a phone call. Get out and hear your customers. That’s where the truth is, that’s where the wisdom is.”-Mark Schaefer

Technology should be invisible to your customer

Technology has become the enemy of great marketing. Not because technology is bad, but because it’s so good. It’s so easy and inexpensive to purchase an email list of a million names and email addresses. But how effective can that be?

Or think about robocalls you receive. That’s using technology to erect barriers between companies and customers. We need to use invisible technology that enables connections, and Nimble is a great example. Nimble doesn’t erect barriers, Nimble takes down barriers to allow you to connect in more authentic and human ways.

Technology should be used to help your company be more compassionate, receptive, fascinating and useful. We have become so obsessed with technology that we are losing sight of what marketing is supposed to be.

“Marketing is all things human. It’s about understanding the psychology, sociology, and anthropology of your customers and creating a human connection. The truth is in those customer conversations.”Mark Schaefer

You can’t own a customer’s journey

A McKinsey study shows that 87 percent of customers shop around, a dramatic change in just a few years. The study also indicates that the sales funnel is basically gone, and the customer journey is a tangled mess. In fact, Google created a series of whitepapers where they documented how every customer journey is completely different. There’s no way to map it.

So, what does this mean for you? It means today’s customer journey is a loop and you need to be top-of-mind as a trusted adviser in that loop. Earn their trust by giving your knowledge away on a daily basis. Stop being a salesperson and start becoming a trusted adviser so you’re top-of-mind when they need your products and services.

That top-of-mind awareness won’t come from advertising because your customers are watching television on Netflix and Amazon with no ads. They’re listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts with no ads. The ways that we used to try to connect don’t work anymore.

“In the past, businesses were built on advertising impressions. But today, those techniques don’t work like they used to. The future will be built on human impressions. The customers are going to win, so we need to listen to them. Turn your connections into conversations and create value every day with your customers. Conversations that are interesting, inspiring, helpful and entertaining will keep you top-of-mind.” – Mark Schaefer

Be a fan of your fans

To win today, you have to be fans of your fans. You have to put your customers at the center of your marketing story and make them the heroes.

A great example of this is a film created by North Face called Question Madness. They assembled user-generated content from their customers; videos from YouTube and Instagram of customers crying and laying in hospital rooms, bleeding and screaming in anguish. Then the music swells and the film shows them winning, achieving their goals. Words on the screen appear and change. ‘Obsessed” flips to ‘Devoted,’ and ‘Pain’ flips to ‘Perspective.’

This was not a paid ad. North Face put it on YouTube for people to discover and enjoy and share on their own. It has been seen more than 8 million times.

What made this film so effective? First, the customer is the hero. People don’t want to hear about heroes anymore. They want to be the hero. Second, the customer is the marketer. The customer is carrying their story forward. The customer is defining their brand. North Face used customer stories to connect in an amazing, uplifting, inspiring and emotional way.

Third, North Face helped people belong. This is a group of people that are typically considered misfits. They spend all of their time in tents, traveling around the country trying to find the best weather and the next rock to climb or the next trail to run. People see them as being obsessed and crazy, so North Face did something unexpected in this film. They said, “You’re okay, you do belong. And, specifically, you belong to us.” As a result, this film was incredibly powerful.

“We have a belonging crisis in our world today. We think we’re connected. We think you just go on social media and you can find a friend and become a part of a community. But the research shows that the more time people spend on the web or social media, the more alone and isolated and depressed they are. And yet, there is a role for companies to help people belong.” – Mark Schaefer

Be relevant, consistent, and superior

It’s extremely hard to rise above the noise and be the signal today. To do that, you’ve got to be relevant, interesting and connected to your customers. You’ve got to be consistent. You have to be out there continually creating value and being part of that consideration cycle all the time. Finally, you have to be superior by creating value, content, an idea, or a connection that’s better than your competitors.

Build trust in everything you do, because customers are naturally mistrustful of companies and brands. Increasingly, the personal brand is the brand. It’s those human connections that will create brands today.

“As individuals and companies, we have to stop talking about our products and services because nobody cares. We need to start talking about how we can help other people become better, smarter, faster because people buy better versions of themselves. They don’t buy great products.

“Share a little bit of your soul because people connect on the five F’s of life—family, friends, food, fun, and fellowship. Find those commonalities with your customers to earn that intimacy and trust, so they open up to you about their business issues, which as a professional, you can then solve.” – Jon Ferrara

Turn that business relationship into a human relationship, which means shifting it from a LinkedIn connection or email interaction to an online or face-to-face meeting. Listen and learn about that person so you can find ways to add value. If you do that at scale, you can build a goldmine.