Friday, May 07, 2010

8 steps to more meaningfully engage your brand customers

Life for marketers was once far more simple (i.e., we talk and you listen).  In contrast, today’s brand practices have shifted to conversations.

Here are 8 actions steps that originally appeared in Accenture’s Outlook online journal that you can take immediately to more meaningfully engage — and create more value for — your customers:
  1. Monitor and measure sentiment. Gauge your customers’ needs, how they feel about you, their level of satisfaction, what competitors are up to. There’s absolutely no reason anymore to wait for the “annual market survey” to find this information out.
  2. Embrace video as a communications medium. Chances are that you have a ton of instructional and procedural material that never gets read. Much better to be able to show them than tell them.
  3. Create an online community of friends, fans and fanatics. Let them converse with you, and with each other through you. Facilitate, but don’t dominate, the conversation. This kind of third-person publicity is also more genuine and credible than any ad campaign you can run.
  4. Cultivate brand ambassadors. The bigger your community, the more vulnerable you become. Brand ambassadors will proactively sing your praises, criticize if they feel its deserved, but also defend you when you’re back’s up against the wall.
  5. Turn your people into a marketing asset. Enthusiastic customers want to hear from the people who create and design your products and programs and deliver your services. They humanize your company and strengthen the connection between you.
  6. Credibility and authority are not necessarily linked. An important dynamic of communities is that credibility does not automatically accrue from authority. People want to hear from customer service, the engineers, the designers. Those people who are better equipped and more genuinely able to address their comments.
  7. Generate traffic beyond your website. It’s no longer their portal to your company. Instead, reach them through social media – when, where and how they want.
  8. Don’t forget your investors. Beyond your disclosure requirements, be their trusted, neutral and transparent source of relevant information about customers, competitors and trends.
Click here to read the full article.

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