Tag Archives: engagement

Marketo Summit Learnings: The Engagement Economy

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.

Engage Your Community

It’s the Holy Grail for every marketer — interaction that’s engagement. Engaging your audience is the thing we all strive for in various ways — on our websites, on our social media sites, on our blogs … everywhere. We want to engage our current audiences like customers. We want to engage our new audiences, otherwise known as prospects.


Duration: 1:24

Engagement has inherent risk

But when it comes to engagement, we need to be brave. Engagement has inherent risk. People may say things we don’t like. I don’t mean the sometimes crazy comments in your local online newspaper or television station, although for some industries that’s entirely possible. I mean the feedback about our products and services, our content, and our social posts. It can be negative. But that doesn’t mean we should stop asking questions and asking or soliciting feedback.

It’s why I think it’s a mistake to shut down comments from the blog, social media (like YouTube), and more.

Engagement has responsibility

It also means we’re responsible for doing something with that feedback. Our Customer Care team gets feedback from customers and share that information with our product management team. In fact, they often have ideas on how to improve our products and their feedback is a step in the process. In Marketing, when we’re conducting case studies and testimonials, we sometimes hear ideas for products; we carry that information forward, too.

Building engagement with negative feedback

Even really negative feedback can be positive, beyond ideas on how to improve. In the office, we like hearing feedback, even when it’s negative. Not long ago, someone called out a mistake we made on LinkedIn. We loved hearing it. When people care enough to point out mistakes, they care. Caring is a step along the way to engagement. If they’re disengaged, they won’t comment or correct you.

And if you’re lucky, those ideas for improvement can turn them into raving fans. When I worked at a nonprofit, there was a gentleman who made comments in social media that indicated he was disappointed in the nonprofit from services provided to general mission. I was lucky enough to be able to meet him for coffee and discuss his concerns — address some right away and take back ideas for improvement. After that, he became a raving fan. Sure, we can’t take everyone out for coffee to discuss ideas, but being open to negative feedback is important.

Negative feedback helps us improve and deepens our relationship with those giving those improvement ideas.

Peer-to-peer sharing

Peer-to-peer sharing is engagement at its finest. Your prospects and customers are learning and sharing with each other without you. They’re increasing your knowledge about subjects. And it’s without your resources, saving you money and time. By them sharing information in your space — on your website, in your forum, on your social media — you’re increasing engagement and loyalty in your brand. Loyalty’s increased by them and others.

How do you build engagement?

You have ideas. Let’s hear them.

The Big “P” – Purpose at Work

Do you ever wonder what motivates people? American psychologist Abraham Maslow sought to answer this very question throughout his life’s work. Though he greatly contributed to the study of psychology, he was best known for his hierarchy of needs, which is represented in a five stage pyramid divided into basic, psychological and growth needs.

The top tier of Maslow’s hierarchy is self-actualization, which is the need to achieve one’s fullest potential and feel like you are making a difference. In essence, those who are enlightened can then help others down the hierarchy to achieve their fullest potential — like by doing more charitable work.

And emotional intelligence is not the same as enlightenment, although one could argue enlightened people are emotionally intelligent. People who’ve found purpose flourish — thrive in ways they can help others.

But this sense of purpose is not only essential in daily life, but is a critical component to creating a meaningful, happy workplace.

Why is having a purpose at work important?

Maybe in the early 1900s it was okay to drudge to work to collect a pay check. But that’s not what most workers want. They want to feel happy. They want to do work they find meaningful. And they want to do work they really love doing.

After all, when you’re doing work you love doing, it’s no longer — really — work.

What does this mean for companies – it improves business

Happiness = engagement

A recent Deloitte survey found that 73% of employees who identify as working for a purpose-driven organization report that they are engaged in the office. This number starkly contrasts the 23 percent of engaged employees who say that they do not work for a purpose-driven company.

Better productivity

A sense of purpose improves workHappier employees are 12% more productive. And if employees are doing purposeful work and work they love doing, the quality will be better and there’ll be fewer accidents, too. They’re even more likely to mentor other employees, helping leadership in your organization.

Employee retention

Also it helps employee retention. Employees who are challenged and engaged are less likely to leave. That decreases turnover costs, which run — according to SHRM — about half of an employees’ salary just in finding a replacement. That’s added on to the cost of actually getting the new employee — paying him.

Better customer service

Best of all, happy employees make for happy customers. If employees are achieving more and doing their best work, customers will notice.

As mentioned above, if employees are enlightened, they’ll be more willing to help customers (and other employees) to be enlightened as well.

How can you foster this need?

Integrating purpose at your business must begin at the ground up. Re-evaluate your mission statement, determining whether or not your company’s goals truly match up with its organizational structure, rewards system, market approach and more. If not or if you believe your mission is lacking, you may need to completely pivot and change directions.

Once you finalize your new mission statement, make sure that your employees’ personal goals are in sync with your organization’s. Understand what really drives them and why they chose to work at your particular company. Then, channel this energy into how your organization operates and rewards its high-performing staff. Meanwhile, create a positive atmosphere, where managers provide meaningful feedback and one-on-one sessions to keep everyone on the same page and motivated to do their work well.

Ways to engage employees

Is Good Company Culture Really About Ping Pong and Beer?

I often hear about how great the “culture” of an organization is. You know, where people are bragging that they get to wear jeans, use the in-office gym, drink beer, and play ping pong.

What is culture anyway?

This is what I get when I Google “culture”: The complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.

Culture is more than hacky sack, lattes and smoothies. Culture is more than just the superficial trappings of a cool place to work.

I mean, ReadyTalk has an informal culture, food and fun activities. We have beer. We have ping pong. We have casual dress and an in-office gym. But we have more than that — we care about each other and our customers, accept and revel in new ideas, trust people to make good decisions, and show results, too.

It’s about caring

Caring about others is important here. We have brown bag sessions on empathy and how to help customers. We do this naturally — it’s who our leaders are and who we’ve hired. I mean, I’m pretty results driven and wondered if this kind of caring and compassionate environment could deliver results. But we can and we do. In fact, I think the caring enables us to deliver better results, and with more thought. We band together and help each other out. And we’re respectful of everyone and consider all sides of the issue. We really don’t have any in-fighting among departments either. We trust each other.

what is company culture

Culture is about innovation, at least to us

New ideas and innovation are important to us. We like to deliver good products that really solve a need, letting people be productive. As the Chief Strategy Officer, I get to see cool ideas come to fruition like our video meeting and collaboration tool — FoxDen. It’s really awesome and the on-site meeting box is so easy to set up. We were able to develop this in about a year and already the team has ideas on how to expand and improve. That’s the culture here, too — creative. I like that.

Culture is trusting people to make the decisions you hire them to make

Part of what helps ideas come to light is decision making. We haven’t always been so good at this, but we’re turning a corner. Like most companies, ReadyTalk was fairly hierarchical. Fortunately, we have kind leadership and caring to make the culture better. But it meant everyone was waiting around until a decision was made – decisions they were perfectly capable of making. Things were taking longer than they should. Now, we’re pioneering Culture 2.0 at ReadyTalk. What would happen if as a result of knowing that you are cared about that now you were trusted to make sound decisions? Would engagement and job satisfaction increase? Ultimately, would the company perform better? Heck yeah; we think so. We’re empowering our team members to make the decisions, and our team members have a way to get the right advice about the decisions. We’re expecting good results — faster decisions, too.

I recently read an article about a leading predictor about the health of technology companies in Silicon Valley. The leading indicator was ping pong table sales! The article stated that there was concern about how Silicon Valley companies were doing because the number of ping pong tables being sold were decreasing quarter over quarter. I think culture is more than beer and ping pong. It’s the belief in teams, the expectations of what the team can deliver and the ability to trust and enable teams. It’s knowing and allowing team members to be experts – what they were hired to do. It’s also the caring compassion and innovation. That’s ReadyTalk!