The ReadyTalk team has returned from the 2017 Marketo Summit – we’re thankful for the wealth of knowledge we gained at different sessions, the friendly faces of customers and other visitors who stopped by our booth and the ever-popular sounds of Train to wrap up a great week.
The primary theme that rose to the top after our four days at the Marketo Summit is engagement. Marketo posits the idea of the Engagement Economy. The Engagement Economy is the convergence of sales and marketing, buyers and sellers, management, partners, prospects, and all other stakeholders in the business world. In order to succeed, companies need to create a more personalized and more meaningful experience for their buyers than ever before. In this new world, there are three cardinal rules: listen, learn and inspire.
Rule #1: Listen
This oft-forgotten behavior is vital in the Engagement Economy. It’s more than reading suggestion box submissions, escalating customer complaints and checking out your latest NPS score. Now more than ever, we need to be aware of how customers interact with our brand or company virtually and indirectly. During a panel discussion, Penny Wilson, CMO at Hootsuite, put it best when she said, “Now it’s time to empower your whole organization. You need to give your whole organization the tools, training, and content to engage with your customers. You can have them really work in social harmony with your customers.” Here at ReadyTalk, we are active listeners. We empower our client-facing teams to be active on social media and use it to consume and share relevant content, keep a pulse on what is important to potential buyers and stay in the know on the latest buzz. This turns social media like LinkedIn and Twitter into forums they can use to strike up meaningful conversations. Everyone is a brand ambassador and everyone plays a role.
Rule #2: Learn
It’s been said that we should never stop learning. From where we sit, this means continuously learning what “value” means to our customers and creating it. In today’s technology-driven world, there is a plethora of data we can use to make meaning and seek understanding. In addition to what we learn through listening, data allows us to learn about our customers and prospects in ways we couldn’t before. The need for greater understanding is leading to new concepts like account-based marketing, and new tools to support these concepts, like Marketo ABM, which was announced at the Summit. We have learned that, like most things in life, marketing is not “one size fits all.” We keep learning at ReadyTalk by working in cross-functional teams, which allow us to collaborate, share experiences, align our goals and keep progressing as a business. It’s a great feeling to sit in a room with an account executive, a marketing manager, a product manager and an engineer and work together to solve complex problems that are easily broken down into digestible parts with our varied talents and perspectives, resulting in a deeper understanding for us and better experiences for our customers because we’re delivering what matters to them.
Rule #3: Inspire – You inspire through engagement. Despite the importance of data and the rise of technology, nothing replaces personal human interactions, as we learned from Cvent CEO Reggie Aggarwal. While his business is centered around live events, and ours around web events, we here at ReadyTalk certainly share his view on the importance of 1 on 1 interaction to help engage customers and prospects. These interactions add up to relationships and relationships create value. This is engrained in our company’s culture and it is the primary way we engage with our customers. Our Customer Care and Event Services team (and all of us here, for that matter) truly care about creating memorable experiences and forming meaningful relationships with our customers. Simply put, our customers’ success is ours as well. I could tell countless stories of ReadyTalk Event Managers providing a little extra support and guidance for a first-time webinar organizer or cracking a joke during pre-conference to calm their nerves, or a Customer Care team member providing expert advice during a critical moment and going the extra mile to ensure a worry-free meeting. We want to be more than just your webinar provider; we want to inspire you to do your best work by taking the potential stress of technology off your plate and making it as easy. We will gladly step in as a technical trainer, trusted advisor, or a sounding board for your ideas as you plan your perfect webinar program.
The bottom line? The days of traditional sales tactics and marketing plans are over and it is changing the way all of us do business. The engagement economy requires increased attention to what really matters, heightened focus on data and broader and deeper relationships across all stakeholders. This results in better outcomes for businesses and buyers alike – we might even call it harmony.