The Low Down on Social Shake-Up 2015: It’s All About the #CX

This year’s Social Shake-Up grabbed us by our hippie pigtails* and said – “Hey, marketing types, in 2015 it’s all about the customer. Periscope, programmatic ad spend…. none of the buzzword-laden things matter if your customer fundamentals are weak.”

Within the first 2 hours of my attendance at Social Shake-Up 2015, I knew customer experience (#CX) was going to be this year’s runaway hit. The event’s programming challenged me to dig deeper - beyond the process to the personal - to understand my customer, relate to them on a personal level and measure for the “happiness factor” – am I bringing customers joy?

So here’s 3 big take-aways for me from Social Shake-Up, all derivatives of the #CX theme:

  1. Make customer experience a part of everyone’s job.
  2. Every company needs a storytelling strategy that tells your brand story.
  3. Participation is the new persuasion.

Make customer experience a part of everyone’s job.

During the panel Cultivating Creative Thinking for Customer Experience, it was unanimous among panelists that empathy for your customer should guide all decisions in designing, hiring and organizing your business processes. Every potential customer who interacts with you is seeking a conversation. How will you respond? Your organizational design should align to deliver an authentic satisfying interaction. Your hiring decisions should have populated your company with people who are intuitively customer-centric, so let them loose – “Why hire smart people only to then tell them what to do?”

During Over-Automation in a Data Driven World, led by Natascha Thomson, formerly of SAP (@nathomson), mindful consideration of customer needs was the mantra. Focus on dealing with the customer not as a marketing target but as a person. What makes them happy? How can you help them today? BEHAVE like one person talking to another. Though automation is necessary to scale your social presence, there are intelligent ways to apply it (like listening) and then ways that are tone deaf (automated posts and responses).

After both sessions, the HR, org. design and process fundamentals needed to natively support good #CX were clear – along with the change management needed if you’re seeking such a transformation.

Every company needs a storytelling strategy that tells your brand story

Coca-Cola has elevated the art of storytelling for business - and the result is heartfelt AND has ROI. It’s all about providing a richer customer experience with the Coke brand, which already enjoys high awareness.

Most of Doug Busk ‘s (Coca-Cola Global Group Director - Digital Communications & Social Media; @dbusk) preso was about how The Coca-Cola Company Journey site acts as their place to deliver on their holistic Brand presence, connect with customers and, perhaps, change minds. In this place, the Brand tells stories that pay homage to the people the Brand impacts, related to, but going further than, the business of selling beverages.

Coca-Cola constructs winning stories with this formula:

  • Quality content + coordinated + current = winning stories

Coca-Cola measures success with Expressions of Interest (EOI):

  • EOI = Time on site, bounce rate, social shares and comments

The behind-the-scenes view of Coke’s “Mad Men moment” - the 1971 Hilltop ad being used in the series finale - was the thrilling end to a really engaging event session. It was a stunningly effective example of Quality content + coordinated + current = winning stories put into practice.

Participation is the New Persuasion

“Brands don’t find participants, participants find brands” – Daina Middleton

Our closing keynote, Day One, was from Twitter’s Daina Middleton, Head, Global Business Marketing. Her premise delved deeply into understanding human motivations – desire for knowledge (Discover), desire to contribute (Empower), desire for connection with other humans (Connect). These conditions drive participation. The result? P2 – participation and performance. The role of marketing is to enable customers to find you, not the other way around (misguided pursuit of customers using tired outbound marketing tactics.)

Customer experience, customer connections and audience awareness permeated many sessions. (e.g. Online Community is Bigger and Badder Than Ever; Power of the Crowd: Your Best Asset is Your Community; From Pinterest & Instagram to Meerkat & Periscope: How to Engage Your Core Audience).

So, in summary, the message was clear - #CX is the driver for enlightened marketers in 2015. My hippie pigtails* were yanked and I got the message.

I left Social Shake-Up energized, returning home motivated to approach my work with a #CX first approach. It’s a topic ripe for exploration. Where might YOU start your exploration? SAP’s Customer Engagement and Commerce hub offers a place to begin. Enjoy the journey.

*Mad Men, Person-to-Person, hippie girl wears pigtails in closing scene and Coca-Cola ad, Hilltop.

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