Dreamforce 2015 was incredible! As usual, it upstaged and outdid the previous year’s event and this year the conference was punctuated by an outstanding music festival newly coined Dreamfest. I have been excited about this concert since registering as one of my favorite artists; Gary Clark Jr. was kicking the night off. With The Killers and The Foo Fighters headlining, it’s easy to see why a lesser-known act like Clark could have been written off, however, I was not prepared to miss his opening. I encouraged my coworkers and clients to be there on time and ready to be impressed by this up-and-coming and talented artist. He did NOT disappoint. While the whole show was incredible and all three bands absolutely rocked, Clark was my favorite because I felt responsible for the positive impression I had helped make on the people I influenced. I was a Gary Clark Jr. Brand Evangelist.
This got me thinking about how, as a marketer, the most valuable asset you have is your customer; I had just proved this case by helping to create new customers for something that I had no stake in. We often talk about our favorite bands, TV shows, movies, books, etc. but it’s more uncommon to hear the praise of a bank. Customers are quick to voice their opinion when things do not go their way, so how can banks focus on giving these customers more positive and seamless experiences that they will want to discuss with peers?
It’s becoming increasingly important that banks and credit unions differentiate on service and customer experience – this is a challenge in an industry that typically differentiates on interest rates. And going a step further in creating brand advocates is something that remains elusive in the banking industry. To do this, It’s you must capture and manage customer feedback both to promote a positive experience, but also to identify and reward your brand evangelists. Identifying these individuals requires truly knowing your customers and capturing information about them at each interaction they have with you.
Digesting all the messaging from Dreamforce, I was continually impressed with the strides that are being made in the Marketing Cloud and the focus on creating 1-on-1 customer interactions. Brands everywhere are engaging their customers in ways that are created exclusively for them. This includes capturing data from all channels of interaction, closing the loop on positive and negative customer sentiment and feedback, and segmenting customers using this data to provide this experience. This technology, coupled with a CRM implementation that provides a 360-degree and consolidated view of your client is the key to finding and rewarding your brand evangelists – as well as creating new ones.
My only concern is that often these solutions and outcomes are over-simplified. The effort to achieve this is not just a technology implementation. Often times it’s a deep review and re-working of internal data, processes and skill sets to make this dream a reality. Gary Clark Jr. is where he is today by putting in the time to hone his craft every day – not just by buying the best guitar on the market and plugging it in.