• At a recent Creative Mornings talk, the speaker talked about designing his company’s website. He said they started with the customer experience first and focused on the actual design of the home page last. I think it’s a good approach. You begin to focus on the underlying needs and questions rather than the surface ones.

    • It really does make the web site a lot better. I recently read a case study about Papa John’s on Jason Falls blog. Their mobile web site has very simple options. Location, pick up a pizza, get a pizza delivered. That’s it. And it makes sense given what a mobile customer would actually visit the Papa John’s web site for…

  • I think one of the hard parts is how to actually make this work on a a daily basis within the organization. To some extent, the lack of a holistic customer experience is due to the lack of a holistic view internally and coordination. Sales, marketing, support, IT, etc. are all separate departments with their own goals and focus. If these groups weren’t separate departments or if they worked together frequently and closely in a way that kept the end-to-end customer scenarios top of mind and a priority, then you’d probably see better customer experiences.

    • Well, some companies seem to be able to weave together a holisitic customer experience with these departments. To me, it comes down to executive leadership and an undying corporate mission that drives everyone to the common goal.

  • Here’s what your post makes me think:

    Know who you are and ooze that everywhere.

    Most companies don’t know who they really are well enough, or if they do, actually living who they are doesn’t endear them to the buying public.

    When you always have to stop and debate internally how to respond to complaints, criticism or public outcry, chances are you don’t know who you are, or you realize the public doesn’t really like the real you and you are figuring out how to put on a better public face. Long term, those are difficult places to be.

    • Yeah, it’s really hard. I mean you have to think listening to the public offers some direction. Not necessarily giving them what they want, per say. Sometimes the whole crowd rules your company concept is a bit much, not that it’s wrong to do that if there’s a legitimate problem. But to become more authentic, or move into a different direction that’s increases the chances for a win-win.

  • Geoff this is one of the clearest post I have read in some time. Be where your customer is, give them what they want with measured efficiency. Understanding your customer and how your product and service can fit into their needs. Sounds simple but to many brands and marketers have blinders on and simply go with the tactics.

    • Thanks, Randy. Like you, I read. A lot. And I am always struck by the lack of customer centric thinking in marketing discussions. Marketing is always, always about communicating value to and building trust with stakeholders. Why do we forget so easily? The endless drive for sales, but you must give to get. No shortcuts.

      Thanks so much for coming by last night.

  • When given the opportunity, the first thing I do for any company or organization is to assess its assets and help the internal team define the organization and its products or services. We look at everything from the inside out, outside in, and how it exists within its environment. It’s hard work.

    Inevitably, someone will always want to stop me because they think the overarching strategic communication/marketing plan will somehow limit what they want to do with their tiny slice of ownership. It’s the opposite. When people who want to crack a joke on Twitter or paint the logo pink or tell a customer off, they aren’t representing the organization as much as their own ego, a far more limiting master than communication or marketing plan that merely asks representatives to respect the mission and vision of a company.

    Sometimes I think it’s rather ironic that the very medium that was suppose to free everybody has grown up to become one of the most limiting by asking people to bend to personal “brand rules” and brands to bend to “network rules.” But maybe that makes sense. It’s when something is small (to appropriately tie this to your headline) that it wants the most control.

    Great post Geoff. It’s always good to see people who uphold the value of strategy against the popularity of a tactic.

    • Thanks, Rich. I like the tie back to small. And I do like the reference to ego. Building community and presence to sustain ego may be personally fulfilling, but the bottom line is much greater. In the end personalities have their day in social, but I think great brands are doing the hard work.

      I was looking at the LEDO community yesterday for a Vocus post, and I was just stunned to see how much farther along they are than most in putting value, and growth, and social impact and meaning into their social media. Just so much further along than the trite win a badge or be my follow friday stuff that we see.

      I love your inside out exercise. I’d love to see more on that!

  • Thought
    provoking post; and great conversation in the comments. It all goes back to asking a customer what they want and delivering products and services they will buy. The asking is the non linear conversation. Of course it is easier said than done.

    • I think that’s the major shift… Thinking in a non-linear fashion. Isn’t that how Spock beat Khan in Star Trek II?

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  • I am working on our maturation process right now. As a professional services company, who has always flourished via referrals and recurring clients, we have the classic “cobbler’s shoes” issue. Our people are on so much billable work that it is hard to take the time and develop a true platform for inbound marketing efforts.

    I started my own blog to work on establishing some social proof, a tribe, and some basic brand awareness. However, that needs to be expanded to a more comprehensive site that can really highlight ALL of our offerings.

    Time to think 3D…

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