5 Ways to Earn Customer Trust and Create Demand

I recently hosted a conversation with Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, the CMO of MindJet in San Francisco, CA. My private CMO community participated in this call. We discussed The Future of Demand Creation.

In this session, Jascha and I shared our insights on:

  • 5 Major Shifts affecting your demand creation strategy
  • Advice for CMOs to thrive in this new reality
  • Our favorite demand creation resources

Jascha kaykas-wolffJascha shares his wisdom from his years of driving agile marketing innovation at Microsoft, Webtrends, and now MindJet. He spent the past several years refining the agile marketing process, and his success with driving demand and growth. During our discussion, we learned that, for less than $10,000, Jascha and his marketing team generated millions in qualified leads for sales.

These are the 5 major trends that could be sabotaging your demand creation strategies:

    1. Sales and marketing over-invest in business processes at the expense of connecting with their customers. In other words, marketing often defines demand creation as “creating materials to help foster leads, and to help salespeople have conversations with the leads.” But what they’re forgetting is the second part of that—what people should actually say when they engage a prospect. Tim Riesterer, CMO of Corporate Visions, says “when people talk about sales and marketing alignment, they usually start with demand generation and qualified leads. The real value lies in the message and the story.” Today’s modern marketers teach sales professionals how to ask permission to debate, expand their thinking, and show them the short- and long-term implications of conducting business as usual.
    2. Internal systems are not keeping up with changing customer behaviors. Michael Ni, CMO and Senior VP of Marketing and Products at Avangate, says that “customers have become savvier – they transact via more touch points (online, social, mobile, in-app, call center, direct sales, and resellers) than ever before, and they do far more research. Sometimes, they are better informed than a vendor’s sales teams. Today, B2C and B2B customer behavior have converged into what we call B2i (Business to individual). B2i customers expect pricing transparency and purchasing on their own terms.”
    3. Consensus decision-making is becoming de rigeur with buyers for big-ticket purchases. I have noticed, particularly over the past five years, that senior corporate executives are unwilling to make as many bold moves without conferring with their teams. They seek buy-in before they will announce a strategic initiative, often causing unnecessary delays and missed opportunities to be first to market.
    4. Sales teams have less influence than they did five years ago. In most instances, sales teams are responsible for guiding fewer stages of the buying cycle. Research firms estimate that between 60%-70% of the buying decision is completed before a salesperson is allowed to meet the buyer. By that stage, many buyers are nearly ready to negotiate. It’s similar to how we buy cars. We walk into the dealer, armed with specifications and consumer reports, and we are ready to negotiate. Some of us buy big ticket items online today. In cases like these, relationship selling has taken a back seat.
    5. The cost of attaining true “sales and marketing harmony” can be prohibitive. Within my CMO community, I have not found one marketing organization that operates at optimal levels across every possible discipline. You need several components to optimize the customer experience, some of which did not exist five years ago:
    • Marketing automation
    • Lead and opportunity scoring
    • Events planning
    • Content creation
    • CRM
    • Inside teleprospecting
    • Predictive analytics

Which of these troubling trends are affecting your demand creation initiatives? Share your comments here. My future posts and next book will outline strategies to thrive in this new reality.

To learn more about our discussion, and how top marketers are overcoming these challenges, listen to this MP3 excerpt. You can download the entire replay by joining Making Marketing Waves™.

Copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

You will also enjoy these posts:

5 Ways Marketing Can Turbocharge Sales
The Secret Ingredients to a Stellar 2014 Marketing Plan
How to be an Innovative Marketer

This has been a difficult quarter for public relations firms, crisis communications professionals, and government officials. The mystery of the Malaysian Airlines tragedy, the ongoing Healthcare.gov outages, and GM recalls are just a few examples. It’s no wonder that we show such loathing and distrust for many institutions.

When I filter information from my own online channels—including email, LinkedIn, private C-suite forums, Facebook—I generally feel as if I have no control of what I will find, nor what people will say about me. The democratized Web is not stopping for anyone. That is the new marketing reality that we must accept, and act to minimize its impact. The first step begins with creating fresh new ways to build trust with our prospective customers, no matter what the channel.

I spoke with Adrian Ott, a seasoned marketing strategist and author of the bestseller, The 24-Hour Customer. She works with top technology firms such as Symantec and HP. She says “We are in an era of too many choices competing for too little time. The proliferation of products from around the globe has resulted in a plethora of options for buyers. As a result, the concept of traditional customer loyalty has suffered continuous decline from the time when our grandparents ‘always bought Fords.’ A study by the CMO Council and Pointer Media Network further reveals that 80 percent of loyal brand sales are attributed to only 2.5 percent of shoppers, not 80/20 as previously thought. Marketers need to find a better way.”¹

In light of these new Web realities, and the implications for how we relate to our communities, marketers need to ask “What strategies will help us earn and preserve trust, regardless of the communications channel?” Here are 5 strategies to consider:

  1. Scavenger hunting. Using GPS, companies such as Foursquare create a sense of mystery and gaming. Highly active users who check into a favorite hotel, restaurant or club compete for the coveted “mayor” designation.
  2. Diagnostics and surveys. In exchange for your providing information about your company, Hubspot will show how your website compares to your competitors for no charge. Symantec’s marketing team created a benchmarking tool called INFORM (INFOrmation assurance Risk Model) to help CIOs assess their IT risk. In exchange for answering a survey about their security, compliance, and management practices, respondents could compare themselves to other companies and rapidly identify areas of high risk. Not only did INFORM establish Symantec’s thought leadership position; it helped their developers discover new product ideas.
  3. Making your customer a star. Articulate, an online learning solutions provider, has invented the “E-Learning Heroes” community where over 107,000 professionals gather to share templates, victories, and learning ideas. (full disclosure: My husband, Magnus, works at Articulate).

  1. The Greater Good approach. The “triple bottom line,” socially responsible mantra that Seventh Generation, Tom’s Shoes, and Clif Bar have integrated into their operations shape their brand. These companies are committed to a purpose much greater than themselves and want to create a better world.
  2. Customer wealth builder strategy. In my opinion, wealth is defined as discretionary time. If you can prove to your customer that you can streamline the time to evaluate, install, and use your products and services, you make them wealthier. You help them create white space on their calendar–a rare and precious commodity these days.

These strategies stretch our thinking on how we can stop competing with a prospect’s “delete” key on their keyboards.  And pay attention because some industry sectors are using these trust-building methods successfully. As a result, they are reporting healthy growth for 2014: healthcare, hospitality, housing, auto, manufacturing, professional services, commercial real estate, and exports. Surely some of their programs will keep them out of the corporate communications war room and in the good graces of customers.

What innovative ways are you using to build trust with your communities? Please share your comments below.

Copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

You will also enjoy these posts:

5 Ways Marketing Can Turbocharge Sales

Latest Keynote: The New Rules of the Marketing Dance

How to be an Innovative Marketer

8 Surprising Ways to Delight Customers

¹Adrian C. Ott, The 24 Hour Customer: New Rules for Winning in a Time-Starved, Always-Connected Economy, (New York, Harper Collins, 2010), page 6.


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