As consumer behaviors have changed, it is our job to evolve to deliver the customer experience that our customers expect. In this podcast, we outline the four ways we can meet this new challenge and discuss how it affects marketing and advertising at large.
Consumers Have Changed:
- Many consumers are connected 24/7 to the Internet through their smartphone and are inundated with information via news, social apps, text messages and push notifications.
- Information is available instantaneously from a variety of different technologies.
‘What’ Matters More Than ‘Where’:
- Consumers no longer seek authorities for information, they seek aggregators.
- Aggregators, like Facebook and Netflix for example, filter the information and entertainment consumers care about and cut through clutter.
- To adapt, marketers should place advertising on publications that aggregate information and attract consumer attention. We are no longer focused on placing ads based on the authority of the publication.
- Programmatic media buying is meeting this need and is trumping direct buys in publications.
- Marketers should no longer think of their blog as a destination, but rather a bucket of information to distribute to other channels.
Personalization & ‘The Amazon Effect’:
- One of the greatest examples of personalization comes from Amazon, which makes intelligent recommendations of what we might need or want based on past purchase behavior. We call this “The Amazon Effect.”
- Consumers know personalization technology exists and they expect their favorite brands to deliver on that.
- Marketers should provide experiences to the prospect or customer based on the signals they show us. We can do this by segmenting our content to cater to our audience’s needs or place in the customer journey.
On-Demand v. Full-Service:
- Consumers have grown accustomed to servicing themselves digitally and on their own time, rather than the schedule of a customer service or sales representative.
- Many consumers will read and research online before interacting with a sales person at all.
- We can meet this need by giving consumers the content they need to learn about our product or service on their own time.
- We should strive to humanize the content so that, even digitally, consumers can make an emotional connection with our brand.
Word-of-Mouth is Amplified:
- Digital has amplified word-of-mouth and increased its frequency. We call this the Ultimate Moment of Truth, that moment when a prospect converts and has the opportunity to share their experience with others.
- Word-of-mouth is seen in product reviews and dark social. Dark social is the untrackable conversations that occur about our brand.
- Negative reviews aren’t always bad for brands. We should use negative reviews as a chance to show consumers how we have resolved the issue moving forward. Southwest Airlines is great at this.
- We can influence dark social conversations by giving customers the words to use to talk about our brand through brand advertising.
- We need to reinforce the attributes we want our prospects and customers to talk about as brand advocates.
Charity of the Week:
We hope you want to join us on our journey. Find us on IterativeMarketing.net, the hub for the methodology and community. Email us at [email protected], follow us on twitter at @iter8ive or join The Iterative Marketing Community LinkedIn group.
The Iterative Marketing Podcast is a production of Brilliant Metrics, a consultancy helping brands and agencies rid the world of marketing waste.
Onward and upward!
Steve Robinson: Hello, Iterative marketers! Welcome to the Iterative Marketing podcast, where each week, we give marketers and entrepreneurs actionable ideas, techniques and examples to improve your marketing results. If you want notes and links to the resources discussed on the show, sign up to get them emailed to you each week at iterativemarketing.net. There, you’ll also find the Iterative Marketing blog and our community LinkedIn group, where you can share ideas and ask questions of your fellow Iterative Marketers. Now, let’s dive into the show.
Hello everyone! And welcome to the Iterative Marketing podcast. I am your host, Steve Robinson, and with me as always is the smart and savvy Elizabeth Earin. How are you doing, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth Earin: I am good, Steve. How are you?
Steve Robinson: I’m doing all right. I’m a little bummed.
Elizabeth Earin: Why?
Steve Robinson: Well, so my family has season tickets to the Green Bay Packers.
Elizabeth Earin: Okay, nice, very nice.
Steve Robinson: Not our proper family but like the greater family, right? So up a generation or two and we can’t use any of them this season because –
Elizabeth Earin: Why not?
Steve Robinson: Well, the Green Bay Packers seems to have decided to pick on the Milwaukee folks. We live in Milwaukee. Green Bay is in Green Bay. It’s about two-and-a-half-hour drive on a Packer game day because of traffic and the Green Bay Packers have given night games to all the Milwaukee ticket holders.
Elizabeth Earin: Oooh! That would be rough.
Steve Robinson: Yeah. So that means that you get home around 2:30 in the morning and as a new parent…
Elizabeth Earin: Doesn’t seem like it would work for you.
Steve Robinson: I just can’t do that. Like it’s not fun to have to be up then at 6 AM with three little children and yeah, so yeah, so we are selling our tickets this season and we are going to watch the games on TV because we just can’t pull it off.
Elizabeth Earin: Well, there are some benefits to watching the games on TV. You get to wear your pajamas and you get to make some fabulous appetizers. So family snuggles on the couch with football. That sounds pretty nice.
Steve Robinson: It does, it does. So we are not mourning on Green Bay Packers tickets. What are we actually talking about today?
Elizabeth Earin: Today, we are talking about how consumer habits have changed. And this is something where a lot of times we sit down and we talk about how we market to generations and we talk about the different types of generations and how their habits are different, but I think that a lot of times as marketers we forget to take a step back and look at overall consumers’ behavior have changed. And because of that, our marketing efforts have to change and that’s really what we are going to talk about today.
Steve Robinson: And this isn’t really directly related to Iterative Marketing. Ihis applies to any kind of marketing or advertising you would be doing, but it’s definitely a recurring conversation that we are having with our clients and so we thought it would be a great topic for our podcast today.
Elizabeth Earin: So specifically I am talking about the fact that consumers have changed. They are no longer the same and what that means specifically for our marketing efforts.
Steve Robinson: Yeah. And I think there are four areas that I think we should touch on today. The first is how we as consumers — and the nice thing about this is I think everybody in our audience will be able to relate at least somewhat to most of these points, right? Because again, it’s not a generational thing. We are all changing our media consumption habits on an ongoing basis, so… The four points are the “what” matters a lot more than the “where,” and we’ll get into the ideas of we no longer seek authorities for information. Instead, we seek aggregators because we are over-inundated with information. We will talk about personalization and what I have been referring to as the Amazon effect and how we are all addicted to personalization to some extent. We’ll talk about how on-demand versus self-service has changed the way that we approach getting information and buying. And then finally, we’ll talk about how word-of-mouth has really been amplified by this continuously connected digital world that we live in, right?
Elizabeth Earin: And together, the four of those really force us to take a step back and look at our marketing and see if we really are delivering on the customer experience that our customers are looking for.
Steve Robinson: So each point will dive into how this changes, what we need to do. Let’s take a step back and talk about why all of this has happened. Why have all of us totally changed our consumption habits?
Elizabeth Earin: I blame it on the internet.
Steve Robinson: Well, that’s a great place to start. Everything is the internet’s fault, right?
Elizabeth Earin: It’s all the internet’s fault.
Steve Robinson: But it’s not just the internet, right? So we are all connected now but not only are we connected but we are connected in our pockets. I mean, it’s an always-on internet connection that most of us are carrying with us at all times. I don’t know how many people I know that don’t have smartphones today but the percentage is pretty small.
Elizabeth Earin: When I took my son to school this morning, I got in the car and I don’t text while I drive. I don’t talk on the phone while I drive but I realized I was like Oh! Do I have my phone? And I looked down and realized I didn’t have it and it’s a 5- to 7-minute drive to school but I felt naked. I felt like my gosh, I don’t have – what if someone calls? What if something happens? What if I need to reach out to someone? Again, I don’t do this while I am driving, but not having it there, kind of broke out into a cold sweat a little bit.
Steve Robinson: I think there’s another component to all of this too is that it’s also this 24/7 connectedness has created a glut of information too. So not only is information on demand for us whenever we need it and we don’t even have to think about where we are going to get that information, but we are inundated with a steady stream of stuff on Facebook, on Twitter, on our news apps or news sites that we follow. It’s push notifications and text messages and I mean it’s just a continuous stream of content and information and its overload for most of us.
Elizabeth Earin: Well, and it’s interesting because we are so connected, we typically have our phone right next to us or our tablet right next to us or in a lot of cases your phone and your tablet right next to you that we can have information whenever we want it and it’s sort of changed the way that we interact. I remember when we had phone books. We actually would use the phone book. We would look things up and we were talking about this the other day. We still get phone books in our town, big fat phone books which are helpful because that’s what my son’s booster seat is at the dinner table, but that’s all we use it for. I can’t tell you the last time I actually used a phone book to look something up.
Steve Robinson: I know in our town, I mean the phone books have gotten thinner and thinner and thinner and now I’m not sure they are useful for those few people that actually still use them because they just aren’t what they used to be, so…
Elizabeth Earin: Yeah, it’s just, I mean, overall technology, both internet and the access to our mobile phones and mobile devices, it has fundamentally changed how we get information.
Steve Robinson: So let’s talk about those changes because I had outlined four of them earlier on the podcast. Let’s break down each one of those one at a time. Why don’t you start, Elizabeth, with what matters more than where?
Elizabeth Earin: So it used to be that you had your trusted sources of information that you went to. You had certain people that you would go to. You had a phone book. You had a dictionary. You had Thesaurus, encyclopedias. I remember growing up, we had the most beautiful set of encyclopedias. Those don’t really work anymore. They’re — within becoming printed, they are already outdated and so a lot of the things that we used to use is these sort of expert pieces of advice or places we would go for reference. That’s changed.
Steve Robinson: Yeah. Today, you don’t look at a map. You go to Google maps, your GPS, right? And everything’s updated in real-time. You don’t need a dictionary or Thesaurus. Your computer or smartphone will tell you the definition of any word and now you don’t even have to type anything. You just say, “Hey, Siri what’s the definition of such-and-such?” I probably just made everybody’s phones go beep. That’s on the reference side. But there’s also a habit change on the unexpected, I just want to be entertained or get information or learn something new side as well. How has that changed?
Elizabeth Earin: Well, it’s not just reference material that our relationship has changed with. It’s what we are looking for, for entertainment. It used to be that we watch TV, kind of flip through the channels, like I said earlier, but now we interact. We get our information from and we look to entertainment for places from our social media channels like Facebook and Twitter and we don’t browse like we used to. We don’t flip through the channels. We instead go through our stream and see what has popped up and it’s not necessarily even something that’s by our choice. There’s one stream on that page and it’s whatever that next story is and it’s that next story and we keep following that stream until we are not engaged anymore. Same with our DVRs. We are able to record what it is we want. So we have what we are looking for at the exact time that we were looking for it. In our family, we really don’t watch – we watch TV but we don’t ever watch live TV unless it’s the news in the morning because we have shows that we like to watch and we have a limited amount of time and want to watch what we want to watch when we want to watch it and so that has really changed too in that we are looking for that on-demand service.
Steve Robinson: And so it’s sort of two opposing forces, right? On the consumer side, we are looking to watch what we want to watch when we want to watch it or engage with the content that we want to engage with when we want to engage with it. And at the same time, we are sort of beholden to these aggregators, these sources of entertainment or information like Facebook and Twitter and your Netflix recommendations or whatever else might come up in your troughs that you keep going back to for entertainment to filter and aggregate some of this stuff. Because along with the choice and the ability to control also came just a glut of options. And the number of new shows that come on the air these days, number of books that are published, just the amount of stuff that our friends publish on Facebook, I mean it’s overwhelming if we had to process all of it. So we rely on these platforms to some extent to also filter out the noise.
Elizabeth Earin: Yeah, they do the work for me. So when I am looking to either be entertained and relaxed or I am looking for information, someone’s already taken some of those steps out for me and they have made it easier on me. And now that I have experienced that, I have that expectation going forward. So if I’m in a scenario where that isn’t the case, it feels off, it doesn’t feel right.
Steve Robinson: So what does this mean to us as marketers?
Elizabeth Earin: So I think it means two things. One, we are no longer focused on placing ads or getting mentions in publications based on the authority of that publication. Instead, we are — we are really looking at it based on its ability to aggregate information into one source and to be that go-to one place that people go when they are looking for an answer because they know that there’s going to be a wealth of the answers for them.
Steve Robinson: Yeah. You see this in the practice of — instead of focusing on content on your blog, getting that content out to the edge of the networks. So making sure that you are showing up in Facebook feeds and maybe not even getting people to click back to your website, getting them to engage there because that’s where people’s eyeballs are. And you see this in the idea of advertising and moving into programmatic, and not so much focused on the direct buy from the publication because people aren’t coming back to those trusted sources of information on a regular basis like they used to. Instead, we are getting whatever pops up in our feeds and that’s what we are going to read more of. So attaching your brand to a trade publication or a particular consumer publication because you think that brand or cache is going to wear off and your brand isn’t as true today as it used to be because we don’t think about those publications that way anymore.
Elizabeth Earin: We don’t. I think that the other thing that kind of — what this means for us as marketers is that it has sort of changed what we are doing with our content. When we first started blogging, when we first had websites, we know when we were creating content, we were really looking to be a go-to resource for our prospects and our customers and that isn’t necessarily the case anymore. Our blog is no longer a destination. Instead, it’s simply a bucket of content that is — we use to distribute to other channels where people are going to as their resource center, their aggregator.
Steve Robinson: And it’s funny because even today, you’ll hear content marketing proponents talk about the idea of setting up your blog as a destination. That really isn’t the way that people consume information anymore and so it’s amazing how fast we went from that being best practice to now that being a dated concept and we’re still all trying to catch up.
Elizabeth Earin: Well, I think I might disagree with you a little bit. I think it’s true to an extent. I have a blog that I follow. I love it. It’s Scary Mommy. I have talked about this before, but just Scary Mommy, it resonates with me and so I do. I go to her blog and like I have got some free time. What new is going on there? At the same time, I don’t have to do that often because it’s popping up in my news feed. It’s popping up in my stories. She’s got phenomenal coverage across the internet and so even if I am not going directly to her blog, I am still getting it and thanks to first-party data and the technology that we have, I am getting it everywhere I go. So it has changed but I do think that there may be some exceptions to that where we still do have a few blogs or a few people that are those resources for us and they are those people that we seek out, but I think that’s few and far between.
Steve Robinson: Yeah. It’s much harder to capture that spot, that position with any given consumer today because that slice of time for I am going to actually seek out this publication has gotten so much smaller because of the other options, so… I’ll give you that. So with that, I think now is a great time for us to take a quick break. When we get back, we’ll talk about the three other areas that we have observed media consumption habits changing significantly and what that means to us as marketers.
Elizabeth Earin: Before we continue, I would like to take a quick moment to ask you Iterative Marketers a small but meaningful favor, and ask that you give a few dollars to a charity that’s important to one of our own. This week’s charitable cause was sent in by an anonymous listener who asks that you make a donation to the Autism Society of America. The Autism Society of America is the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization dedicated to increasing awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services and providing the latest information on treatment, education, research and advocacy. Learn more at autism-society.org or visit the link in the show notes. If you would like to submit your cause for consideration for our next podcast, please visit iterativemarketing.net/podcast and click the “Share a Cause” button. We love sharing causes that are important to you.
Steve Robinson: And we are back. So before the break, we talked about people changing, all of us changing and how we interact with media changing and we talked about the first point of not being as concerned about the destination and more being concerned about the content. But there are three other areas that things are changing. What’s next on our radar, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth Earin: So the next is personalization and I know you are going to give your favorite example of personalization which is one of my favorite places to shop.
Steve Robinson: Yes. I think that the greatest example of personalization comes from Amazon and it’s to the point that I have kind of labeled this the “Amazon effect.” And it’s changed the way that we expect brands to interact with us. We interact with Amazon. We go shopping there. We buy stuff and then based on that, Amazon seems to understand a little bit better about what we actually need and want and starts making more and more intelligent recommendations. And I’ll tell you a secret that most e-commerce organizations and most really truly data-driven digital entities have the ability to make recommendations better than they are making. They have actually had to dial them back. I know Target has done this. I have read that Amazon has done this as well in that they throw noise into their recommendations, extra things that they don’t necessarily think that you want, not because they want you to venture outside of what they are recommending but simply because at some point it gets creepy when these brands know what you want more than what you know what want.
Elizabeth Earin: There is a thin line between making my life easier and then knowing me better than I know myself. And if you cross that line, then yes, I think I might want to take a step back, but it’s interesting when we talk about this because once we have been exposed to it, once we have experienced this and we have experienced the ease of I login and it’s oh yeah, I do need to order more detergent, thanks for the reminder. We want that ease in every other aspect of our life and so we have this expectation, we know the technology is out there and so now we want our favorite brands, all of our favorite brands to be able to deliver on that.
Steve Robinson: Yeah. And we don’t want incongruent experiences where we have signaled to the brand that we don’t want something or we don’t need something or that we have already bought something and here they are marketing it to us. It feels wrong and off like we know the technology exists for you to be smarter about this and connect the dots. This is especially true for brands that will maintain one presence digitally and then you go and interact with them in person and it’s like you are a completely different person when you show up.
Elizabeth Earin: So what does this mean to us as marketers?
Steve Robinson: Well, I think it means that we need to make sure that we are taking the information, the signals that our prospects and our customers are giving us and we are using that information in smart ways to make sure that we are creating the best experience back for them. So that means if they have told us on what type of customer they are, what segments they are in, we need to make sure that we are personalizing that content or segmenting our content that we are giving them to cater to their needs. If we know where they are in the sales cycle, we should be providing and promoting relevant content to them for where they are in that sales cycle and not treating everybody the same because we have all come to expect better than that.
Elizabeth Earin: So another way that consumers have changed is sort of this idea of self-service versus full-service. Do you want to talk a little bit about what this means?
Steve Robinson: Yeah. So I don’t know if any of you have ever driven in a state where they don’t let you pump your own gas, but I remember the first time I drove in New Jersey which is one of these states, it drove me nuts because where I live in Milwaukee, pretty much every gas station requires you to pump your own gas and I have gotten accustomed to being able to pull up to a gas station, hop out, fill up my tank, not have to wait for someone, not have to deal with some tipping moment and some other stuff and just be able to do this myself on my own time. I expect to be able to pump gas at 2 o’clock in the morning without having to find a gas station that’s open, right? Because it’s self-service. It’s on-demand. It’s on my time, my schedule and what I want to do. When I’m forced to let somebody else pump my gas, it’s uncomfortable for me and I think we as consumers have grown accustomed to being able to service ourselves digitally and we have also grown accustomed to be able to do things on our own time and not necessarily on the time or schedule of the salesperson or customer service rep or whoever is going to answer the phone eventually while we set on hold, etc., etc.
Elizabeth Earin: I am kind of chuckling to myself because I moved a couple years ago from California to Idaho, to Northern Idaho where I now reside, and it’s a small town and I remember the first time I got off work at about 5:30 and then went to go run an errand and the place was closed. It was 5:30 and it was closed. Like, who closes at 5:30? And it was just so different than what my expectation was and it kind of threw me for a loop, but you are right, we want to do things on our own time when we are ready to do it and the internet has made that so possible for us that when we go out into the real world and we don’t have that same experience, it feels off.
Steve Robinson: Yeah. And so you think about when you are making a major purchase like a car or dishwasher or washer dryer or a house, you are going to do a ton of research and a ton of reading online before you go and make that purchase. And if it weren’t for the fact that we had to interact with these things, like test drive a car, we probably wouldn’t interact with the salesperson at all in the process, right? We would probably just do this on our own time with our own abilities and not interact with people. I think it also extends to how we interact with people on just a day-to-day basis even with our friends. I don’t know about you, Elizabeth, but I don’t call people like I used to.
Elizabeth Earin: As you are saying this, I am thinking, I am wondering if it’s a generational thing or not. Like I have got a sister who’s 23 and that girl never picks up the phone. I only ever get text messages from her. But yeah, I think even thinking back to my own behaviors, I don’t call people as much as I used to. It’s easier to text them.
Steve Robinson: If it’s short and it’s transactional, I don’t want to inconvenience the person on the other line. I don’t want to have to hope that I can connect with them because how often does somebody answer their phone anymore? And it’s just I’ll send them a message on my time. They’ll receive it and respond on their time. I’ll be able to deal with the response on my time and it’s just more convenient. And in the end, it means I don’t end up talking to as many people as I used to.
Elizabeth Earin: I think it comes back to as well we are more interconnected because typically if I am texting someone, I am probably doing two or three other things at the same time and so if I am going to pick up the phone and actually call them, I may have to stop my other things, right? And I am like the laziest texter in the world. I use voice to text and so I don’t even type it. I just hit my little button, say what I want to say and the text is on its way.
Steve Robinson: I guess that’s true also of my shopping habits. I will shop in little micro spurts in between conversations with people or as I’m waiting in line at the grocery store. I will be shopping for something on Amazon or researching cars or whatever it might be because it’s convenient to be able to multitask and I think that’s a great point. I didn’t think about the multitasking component, but what does all this mean to us as marketers?
Elizabeth Earin: So we want to make sure that we are focusing on giving our prospects the best experience we can as they engage with our brand in these different ways and learn about our product or services on their own time. And the key to that is making sure that we are delivering and we have available the content that they need.
Elizabeth Earin: And we want to also make sure that that content is on-brand. As a matter of fact, we want to infuse that content with as much brand as possible because one of the things that’s lost in doing this in short spurts on people’s own time without talking to people is you don’t have a chance to really — the consumer doesn’t really have a chance to fall in love with your brand because it’s not a human emotional connection. It’s a machine connection and it’s cold so you want to make it as warm as possible and make it as branded an experience as possible as they are doing that.
Elizabeth Earin: And when you tie that back, when you think about what we talked about last, the personalization piece, people like feeling known. And so if you are able to deliver on that personalized experience and you are able to say, “I know what it is you want and I have it for you here and let me help you,” that helps to get over that barrier of not having that human interaction. You are making the brand human by connecting with what the person is looking for.
Steve Robinson: You also want to make sure that that same human brand that you have given them digitally is the same human brand that they get when they do finally have to talk to a person, right? Because otherwise, you are just going to create an incongruence and the two sort of cancel each other out. Whatever brand experience you had on the front end is now canceled out by whatever brand experience you have in the back end and vice versa.
Elizabeth Earin: It has to be consistent. So what’s our fourth and final item?
Steve Robinson: So our fourth and final item is word-of-mouth. This is nothing new. We have always had word of mouth and word-of-mouth marketing when it comes to how brands have engaged with consumers. We have all been talking about brands behind their back since the creation of companies. The thing is that digital really amplifies this. It really takes that opportunity to praise or badmouth the brand and gives it more legs. It makes it semi-permanent and increases the frequency with which it can occur.
Elizabeth Earin: Brian Solis calls it the ultimate moment of truth and that’s what happens after your customer has become a customer and now they have a choice to share their experience with other people. What are they going to say about you?
Steve Robinson: And this really comes in two forms, primarily when we look at it as marketers. The first is product reviews and those are pretty straightforward. They have been around for a while, but the other, the one that I think that we all seem to forget/ignore because it never shows up in our analytics is something called Dark Social. You want to tell everybody what Dark Social is?
Elizabeth Earin: Yeah. Dark Social is the conversation that’s occurring online that isn’t necessarily public so you can’t track it. It’s when a friend messages me and asks me my opinion on a restaurant that I just went to. It’s when I am using WeChat or WhatsApp or it’s just a text message from my sister saying, hey, what do you think of this dress that I want to buy at Gap?
Steve Robinson: And it’s all of Snapchat because Snapchat doesn’t show up in analytics. It’s all of or a lot of Facebook because unless your feed is public, that’s not showing up in analytics. Even referral links don’t even work right half the time off of mobile sites. So you are not seeing this. There’s no way to measure this. You can’t see it but you know it’s happening because we are all social creatures and we like to talk about each other behind our backs. It’s kind of what we do and we do the same thing with brands and we ask people for opinions because we value them more than random reviews. So what does this mean to us as marketers?
Elizabeth Earin: Yeah. So it means that we need to be keeping track of sort of where this word of mouth is happening and how it’s changed and how that impacts us. And I want to talk about the product reviews specifically first. We mentioned them, but having worked for brands before and having had clients and customers who have responded to and reviewed reviews about them and seeing how the different way they handle it, I have seen two different sort of schools of thought on that. And one is to just ignore it and the other one is to try and make them be all positive. And I have seen brands get really, really concerned when there’s a negative review but I think we need to take a step back and realize that consumers are savvy. They are smart and they know that not every brand is perfect and that there are going to be opportunities or times when a brand falls short of delivering on something and it’s actually a great opportunity to then show your customers and anyone who’s paying attention to that feed how you have corrected the problem. So a negative review isn’t necessarily always bad for your brand.
Steve Robinson: But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be taking some opportunity to maximize the opportunity for positive reviews either. I mean, if you can encourage your consumers to give you reviews as a natural part of doing business with them, you absolutely should and if you can put a stop gap in there where if they have had a negative experience instead of being asked to provide a review, they are instead asked to talk to somebody in customer service. You have an opportunity to make it right before they ever get there. You should be doing that as well.
Elizabeth Earin: Southwest does a really great job of this where they will identify a situation that necessarily wasn’t handled in the best possible way and their customer service agents are able to turn that out and they do a great job of the turning that into viral content that gets shared. There’s a number of stories out there where someone had a bad experience and they were able to, thanks to customer service stepping in, correct that problem.
Steve Robinson: Yeah, that’s wonderful. Now, dark social, that’s a different animal. That’s a different problem. How do we go about solving that one?
Elizabeth Earin: So here as a marketer, our goal is to influence the way that our fans promote us. And one of the ways we can do that is we hope to give them the right words to use when they are talking about us. What points do we want them to mention? What are sort of those words that we want them to use when they are talking about us to other people, when they are talking about our brand to other people? Brand ads are a great way to do this and we have talked about this before where by putting our brand ads out there, we are kind of giving them the words to use. We are giving them that key message and reinforcing it and even if they may not realize that, it’s something that is still on their radar so when someone asks them about it, they are sort of our proved way that we want to be talked about.
Steve Robinson: Yeah I know that it’s funny how many brands that we work with where we say, okay, so at this point in the customer journey, we should flip and we should be giving our customers now some advertising. Why are we advertising to our customers? They already bought. Isn’t that a waste of money? The reality is no, those people then become your advocates if they have had to go to brand experience and you need to continuously to reinforce those attributes that you want them talking about. And it’s not necessarily intuitive. It’s not the first thing you think of, but it can be very effective although highly challenging to measure, right?
Elizabeth Earin: It is definitely.
Steve Robinson: So let’s summarize what we talked about today because we are running a bit long here.
Elizabeth Earin: So I think the first thing we talked about is “what” matters more than the “where.” We want to make sure that our content is getting out to aggregators where people are able to consume it. So don’t necessarily focus on building up your blog content. Instead, we are focusing on building up that blog content and then getting it out to those places where more eyeballs are going to see it.
Steve Robinson: The second point is personalization is really important. Our consumers have grown to really expect us to provide a relevant experience to them at all points in their journey, whether that’s digitally and also traditionally and it has to match all the way through. So take the information you know about them and apply it to create that relevant experience.
Elizabeth Earin: Consumers have learned to expect that. Our consumers have been able to interact with brands on their own time and now that they have done that, they have an expectation that they are going to be able to keep doing that moving forward, and so we need to make sure that we are giving them the opportunity to interact with our brand when they are ready and in the way that they want to, but we also want to make sure that we are creating an on-brand experience that extends across all channels.
Steve Robinson: And finally, we talked about word-of-mouth and how word of mouth is more important than ever because it’s amplified, because it’s semi-permanent with digital but that it’s also very hard to measure in the case of the dark social content that’s going on. So it’s very important to manage your reviews, manage your brand, but then also give your fans the tools and the words to talk about you in the best light. I think that’s the end. I want to thank everybody again for making time for us this week. If you haven’t already, I won’t remind you next week but I am going to plug it again. If you haven’t already, please pop out to iTunes and give us a quick review. We need that in order to build up the audience and share this wonderful podcast with others. And in the meantime, I want to thank everyone again for their time. And until next week, onward and upward.
Elizabeth Earin: If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to the podcast on YouTube or your favorite podcast directory. If you want notes and links to resources discussed on the show, sign up to get them emailed to you each week at iterativemarketing.net. There, you will also find the Iterative Marketing blog in our community LinkedIn group, where you can share ideas and ask questions of your fellow Iterative Marketers. You can also follow us on Twitter, our username is @iter8ive or email us at [email protected]. The Iterative Marketing podcast is a production of Brilliant Metrics, a consultancy helping brands and agencies rid the world of marketing waste. Our producer is Heather Ohlman with transcription assistance from Emily Bechtel. Our music is by Seastock Audio music production and sound design. You can check them out at Seastockaudio.com. We will see you next week! Until then, onward and upward.