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In her years of experience as a marketing analyst and advisor to the C-Suite, Erna Alfred Liousas has worked with businesses of all sizes. From small SMBs to large enterprises, she’s seen it all. And it’s through these interactions with marketing departments of all sizes that she found clarity on all the areas  where marketers are struggling most, including where a marketing team is most-frequently struggling in designing the customer experience.  

“Marketers are recognizing that customer experience consists of numerous touchpoints, including all of the ones that marketing owns. The true definition of customer experience is the perception that customers have of an organization. And that perception is formed by the interactions across all of the brand’s touchpoints. So it’s not just marketing. It’s not just a product. It’s not just service. It’s everything.”

Erna is the founder and CEO of U*Realized, and on this episode of Marketing Trends, she discusses why marketers need to start placing a greater emphasis on customer service and the feedback loops those interactions provide. She also discusses how messaging specificity can make all the difference when trying to reach your target audience, and why playing in three channels as opposed to one, might pay huge dividends.

Main Takeaways:

  • There’s Gold in There: Customer services are  a way to directly capture thoughts and insights from the customer, and smart marketers should be using those insights as a peek behind the curtain at some of the unspoken or  indirect feedback customers are thinking about. Marketers should view customer service as another channel that can supplement some of the information that you would be getting elsewhere.
  • Be Intentional: Make sure you are doing your due process before you commit to any one channel. Now is the time for marketers to review all of the channels that they’ve been leaning on and calling successful and ask themselves tough questions, such as: are customers actually engaging with us or are they just liking the content? Your social channels must accomplish a goal, so make sure you are setting KPIs in order to reach that goal.
  • Make it Sing: When it comes to messaging, specificity and relevance are what will have the most impact. Make sure you understand what the message is you’re trying to convey, the importance of it in relation to the customer, and which of their channels they would prefer to see that message or content.
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Key Quotes:

“This is a time when people are actually open, and they’re open to not necessarily having all the answers, but recognizing the levers they need to pull to get some answers.”

“Marketers are recognizing that customer experience consists of numerous touchpoints, including all of the ones that marketing owns. The true definition of customer experience is the perception that customers have of an organization. And that perception is formed by the interactions across all of the brand’s touchpoints. So it’s not just marketing. It’s not just a product. It’s not just service. It’s everything.”

“The key word for marketers for 2021 is ‘intentional.’ Everything that is done should be intentional. It should connect to a very specific business goal that then dives into a marketing goal. But the point of it should be how does this make my customer feel better about my product or my service?”

“Marketers have to do a better job of fully integrating themselves into the business. Typically we wait for product or other parts of the business to come and interact with us, but this is really a time when marketing should take the lead and entice the other pieces of the business to share what they’re working on. So that, collectively, one brand expression will be received by the customer as opposed to disjointed experiences based on who’s in charge of XYZ project.”

“We’ve been preaching forever, let’s make data-driven decisions to the fullest extent possible. But now people are actually taking a closer look at what that data is, where it comes from and who happens to interact with that data. One easy way to start your 2021 is by making sure that there is a tight relationship with customer service and that there are actual protocols, be it specific meetings, or be it a process that you organize within marketing to reach out to customer service, where you’re able to understand what that voice of the customer is and what are customers saying now.”

“One of the dangers with collecting feedback from different sources within different functions of the company is everybody’s using something different. You don’t want to do that because it makes it harder to aggregate all of the feedback together. So wait to see what you’re actually seeing and then start to have conversations with product or service regarding the tools they are already using and see if there’s a way that you can jump in on that party and create a pipe to push your information through.”

“Communication strategy is really about understanding how our customers perceive each channel and not taking advantage of the fact that certain channels are going to elicit a very specific behavior either because of the severity of your message or because of how customers treat them. I firmly believe that when it comes to messaging and channels, specificity and relevance are the things that make messaging sing. So make sure you understand what it is that you’re trying to convey, how important it is to the customer, and which of their channels they would prefer to see that messaging and that content.”

Bio:

Erna Alfred Liousas is a personal and a strategic digital leader with expertise and proven success in customer experience and digital transformation. Organizations of all sizes use her skills to humanize their brand across customer experience touchpoints including, brand, marketing, internal and external communications, product, customer service, digital content, social media, and employee advocacy.

As an advisor to the C-suite, start-up founders, and executive teams, Erna uses her expertise to guide clients in strategy, customer experience, marketing, branding, social media, internal communications, and corporate communications. Recent engagements include developing marketing strategies, building and implementing employee advocacy strategies, and creating new digital customer experiences.

Marketing Trends podcast is brought to you by Salesforce. Discover marketing built on the world’s number one CRM: Salesforce. Put your customer at the center of every interaction. Automate engagement with each customer. And build your marketing strategy around the entire customer journey. Salesforce. We bring marketing and engagement together. Learn more at salesforce.com/marketing.

To read an unedited, automatically-generated transcript of this interview, click here.  

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