The New Rules of Customer Engagement

Customer Engagement

Last week more than 100 customer engagement professionals attended the Summit on Customer Engagement in Silicon Valley to discuss how to tap into the potential of the “other 90 percent” of their prospective customer references and advocates. The consensus? The path to engaging customers is getting easier, which has generated a few new rules for customer engagement:

Forget the quotas and focus on ROI.
Traditionally customer reference teams have focused on quotas: creating a set number of case studies, garnering a set number of references, and fulfilling a set number of reference requests. Today, it’s more important than ever to create quality content and measure results. Focus on measuring reference influence, how references impact the velocity of the sales cycle, and the success of campaigns using customer stories.

Remember it’s not about you.
Tell the customer’s story, not yours. Position your customer as the leading act and your products and solutions as the supporting role. Your buyers want to connect with customers that have experienced the same challenge and come out the other side better and more successful. They don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to.

Know your audience and the path they’re on.
How well do you know your audience? What do they want to know? What are their pain points? How can your customer’s stories help them? The buyer’s journey has become more complex, which makes customer advocacy more critical than ever.

Continually optimize your program.
Customer engagement and reference program management is hard work. Luckily, with better technology options available, there is plenty of room for efficiency gains. You now have the ability to prove that what you’re doing makes a difference. Not only can you use data points to maximize customer interaction, saving your time and theirs, but you can also make your customer program more effective.

Use customer advocacy to your advantage.
Happy customers = happy advocates. If you have legions of delighted customers, you will have a considerable lead over competitors. Keep your customers happy and encourage them to build your brand. According to keynote speaker Megan Heuer from Sirius Decisions, advocacy must play a leading role in marketing’s transformation to a strategic partner.

Last but not least, while much has changed in the world of customer engagement, one thing never goes out of style—the desire to find and retain happy customers.

Want to learn how you can be part of a more customer-centric B2B organization? Download the Yesler 2014 B2B Marketing Advisory.

Projectline Named 2013 Inc. Hire Power Awards Winner

Company, Marketing Musings, News

For the second year in a row, the Inc. Hire Power Awards has recognized Projectline Services as a leading job creator. From January 2012 to August 2013, Projectline created 40 net new jobs in the United States, a 20 percent increase overall.

Projectline Hire Awards“It’s great to see so many new faces here in our Seattle offices and see the growth in our Philadelphia and Toronto offices, too,” said Mike Kichline, Projectline Services CEO. “Just this week our team in Philadelphia completed a move into new office space that’s more than twice the size of our old office there. We have a little breathing room now, and space to grow.”

Founded in 2003, Projectline is headquartered in Seattle. In addition to its offices in North America, it has an office in the U.K. The company provides marketing consulting and services to enterprise technology corporations, including Microsoft, SAP, Citrix, and Intel.

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The Company We Keep: Projectline Services Named to Inc. 5000

Marketing Musings, News

For the sixth year in a row, Projectline Services has been named to the Inc. 5000, which recognizes the fastest growing private companies based in the United States.

“When we first won in 2008, the minimum revenue was just north of $100,000; for this year’s list, the minimum required was $2 million,” noted Mike Kichline, Projectline Services CEO. “We’re proud to be keeping up with such good company.”

Projectline is a Seattle-based B2B marketing services provider that also has offices in London, Toronto, and Philadelphia, which serve enterprise technology companies such as Microsoft, SAP, EMC, Intel, and Citrix.

Last year, Inc. magazine also awarded Projectline the Inc. Hire Power Award, which recognizes private companies creating jobs. Partners Kichline, Anika Lehde, and David Jones founded Projectline in 2003, and they remain the firm’s principal owners. The company now employs more than 200 people and has won a number of workplace awards, including the 2011 Top Small Company Workplaces by Inc. magazine, 100 Best Companies to Work For by Seattle Business Magazine in 2012, and the Seattle Met’s Best Places to Work 2012.

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Beyond the Whitepaper: Crafting Visual Content for B2B Marketing

Marketing Musings

It’s no secret that visual content is the way to your fans and followers’ hearts. Users on Instagram share over 45 million photos each day. Facebook photo posts consistently outrank anything else and Pinterest hit 10 million unique monthly visitors faster than any social network in history. Clearly, humans are wired to love a good story, especially in pictures.

But how to harness that graphic magic for your B2B marketing? Grumpy cat memes and pictures of your dinner don’t exactly work for this audience. If there’s not an obvious visual component to your company, here’s how to find and create one.

Think first about the brand personas you are speaking to. What will they find interesting? Go and find your main characters and milk them for information and anecdotes. Ask them questions to elicit interesting nuggets. What is your company the absolute best at? What do you do that no one else does? How was your company founded and what is unique about your company culture? You’re looking for the stories that make you say, “I never knew that!” If you’re surprised, your audience will be too.

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Simple Rules to Maximize Your Social Media Results

Marketing Musings

Social media is no longer the fad in marketing, it’s the new normal. The majority of companies have jumped on the social media band-wagon and are using social media to engage their prospects, customers, and fans. Every day millions of companies post content and hold online conversations with their community. Businesses who want to drive business and community satisfaction should consider these guidelines to maximize results.

Where to “set up shop”
The first step to understanding how best to engage your audience is to research your audience to learn who they are and what they are looking for from your brand. The research will provide critical information on how to reach your audience and even which platforms to select for engagement. It is impossible to service your brand well on all social media platforms, so plan to focus your efforts where your audience is spending time, rather than expecting them to come to you.

It is a safe bet to set up accounts on Facebook and Twitter, mainly due to the large number of users. Once your accounts are set up, you can conduct more research by polling and asking questions. It is completely appropriate to ask your fans what kinds of information they would like to receive and what would make them stop following you. Don’t underestimate the information that can be pulled from Facebook Insights, including salary, average number of kids, age, location, and interests. Facebook provides this information to entice you to advertise, but there’s no reason not to use it to your advantage.

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Picture of the Week: 8/15/13

Pic of the Week

Every weekday morning at 10:42 am, our team is invited to send in a picture of where they are, what they’re doing, or who they’re with. We post our favorite picture from each week and share its story here.

10:42 Aug 6, 2013 - Campfire OK is at Projectline!

Last week, we welcomed Campfire OK into the office for the latest installment of #MillStSessions. Always looking for a creative way to benefit our local community and bring a little more flavor to each of our Projectliners’ regular 9-5, #MillStSessions is the latest and greatest. Something new and exciting is always happening inside these walls.

What Would Your Brand Look Like if it were a Human Being?

Marketing Musings

Brands are often thought of as abstract things. Entire marketing summits are built around defining the company brand and you’ve probably heard terms like “protecting the brand” or efforts to “re-brand” a company. So what does this all mean?

Brands are representations of a company to the outside world, and more specifically the perception of what a company does, the products/services they produce and their reputation for delivering a certain experience. Forbes describes brands as a promise. “Think of top brands, and you immediately know what they promise…you know what you’re going to get with a well-branded product or service.”

In social media, the brand becomes even more important because it’s the main driver behind your voice, the type of content you publish and the way you interact with your audience. Because social media is all about building authentic relationships with current and prospective customers, building a social media presence means you must make your brand more human.

All the social channels—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and more—thrive on human interactions. People are on these sites to share interesting ideas, upload personal photos and engage in conversations with their friends, families and maybe even the companies they like. In this personal environment, a company’s brand can no longer be abstract, but must be human in order to be listened to.

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