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An Outstanding Secret and Several Things to Consider
To obtain the best results from a customer marketing program or even individual customer deliverables, you need buy-in and support from your top executivesthe big dogs. Lets face it if you really want to get anything important done in a company, esp those that require support and coordination from many areas, you need top executive support. To me a customer marketing program is important enough to warrant such senior level support. I would argue that in a small-medium size company, the CMO, president and even CEO should support a customer marketing program.
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Communicating the Importance to the Company
When a top executive emphasizes the importance of an initiative and incentives are properly aligned, employees generally take heed. And the more a top exec repeats this emphasis, the more likely the initiative is to be taken seriously and to take root.
Providing Financial Incentives to the Field
Ive said in another post that it's critical that your sales people are sufficiently incentivized for a customer marketing program to be successful. They have the original relationships so nothing will happen without their help. However, to provide your field with financial incentives, you'll need the approval of the head of sales, at the least.
Providing Appreciation and Incentives to Customers
In another blog post, I've addressed how important I think it is to give back to happy customers that go out of their way, spending valuable time and taking perceived risks to provide testimony and other marketing activity around your products. Just like you need senior executive approval to provide incentives to your field, you need the same approvals to provide free services and other benefits to your customers.
Customer Marketing Content Production is Not Cheap
While it might be less expensive to create customer videos than to pay for expensive advertising campaigns, customer marketing is not cheap. It entails lots of travel (for employees and customers) and lots of production costs such as a video experts and writers. If senior execs have not bought into the customer marketing program, they won't be too happy to cover these costs.
Face Time with Execs
One of the less tangible customer benefits I offer, which I think is highly desirable to customers, is guaranteed or improved access to top executives, whether they be technical or business oriented. Customers want to feel special and have an ability to provide direct feedback that may actually be taken into account. Or they may have questions about the firm that only top execs can answer. Top execs must be willing to put the time into meeting with the customers in your marketing program and it has to be built into their expectations.
Infrastructure and Operational Requirements
There is a high probability that a customer program will need to be part of official corporate processes and systems. To get this operational cooperation and coordination requires a go ahead from senior excecs. Their approval just makes all this stuff so much easier.
Tie In to Other Customer Programs
There may be other customer programs in place that you'd like the customer marketing program to be integrated with. This could be things like a customer advisory council, a customer satisfaction program or a beta program. Top executive backing will help make cooperation from those other programs much more likely.
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Posted in Publishing and Printing Post Date 04/01/2015