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posted by Will Weatherly May 11,2016 @ 04:28PM

A CliffsNotes on CX

In case you haven’t heard, it’s all the rage in the marketing world right now. In fact, just last night our local AMA Columbia chapter hosted an event dedicated to the topic. 

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Palmetto Health's Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Todd Miller discussing experiential marketing at the AMA Columbia meeting on May 10.

CX = Customer Experience

I suppose the abbreviation originated to play off its fancier-sounding cousin slash mentor-discipline in the tech world, UX (user experience), while cleverly facilitating a natural extension of the company C-Suite… the CEO, the CMO, and now the CXO.

CX began building noticeable buzz around 2011, the same year the CXPA was founded and the same year the world lost a man who had become synonymous with customer-centricity. In fact, it’s the very mantra of Jobs himself, and variations by other big business mavens like Musk and Bezos, that seem to have fueled the movement.

“Start with the customer.”

Over the past few years, CX has manifested through the formalizing and operationalizing of that creed by thought leaders whose backgrounds are often in customer service or the aforementiond design field of user experience or human-computer interaction -- both of course dealing with the needs of humans. 

Now, what’s all this got to do with marketing? Well, everything obviously.

A Tale of Three Paradigms

Marketing has changed. It’s not what it once was. It used to be a rehearsed monologue brands delivered from a stage loudly and clearly to target audiences with attention to spare. 

#1 - Always On 

But today, the marketing conversation is multi-channel and multi-directional. Social media, customer reviews, online influencers -- these force brands to keep on their toes every minute of every day. 

#2 - Smartketing

Data mining, lead scoring, and automation have fused sales and marketing, making mass-personalization and "funnels-of-one" the growing expectation of consumers as their relationships with brands become increasingly digital.

#3 - Template-ification

With brands and media channels now crowding the marketplace, it's harder than ever to get audience attention, and it's easier than ever to look and sound like every other brand out there. 

All About Intentionality

In my 2014 post, I mentioned that every touchpoint is an opportunity. CX is rooted in this idea, recognizing that in a crowded market and media landscape, some of the best differentiation with the greatest ROI happens during and immediately after the sale. Great customer experiences do not only drive loyalty, they also drive the kind of marketing long-known for being the most trusted in the marketplace -- word of mouth.

Using data, collaboration, and communication, the CX field is unifying traditionally siloed business sectors like sales, marketing, customer service, and operations to hone all possible consumer interactions into effortless, delightful, branded experiences. 

Baby Stepping Your Way To Great CX 

Baby Step #1 - Read The Effortless Experience or Outside In

Baby Step #2 - Consider whether your company is really, truly standing on a strong enough brand promise or distinctive point of difference.

Baby Step #3 - Get to know your customers' perceptions of and interactions with you -- persona interviews, surveys, and journey maps are the appropriate tools here.

Baby Step #4 - Identify the most critical touchpoints you have with your consumer.

Baby Step #5 - Carefully, conscientiously craft these touchpoints into memorable moments that accentuate your brand.  

posted by Courtney Fleming Sep 25,2015 @ 02:47PM

Empathy and the Power of a “Dislike” Button

 

I had one of those moments last week when you stop and pause and really, really think. I saw multiple posts along the lines of, “Facebook’s Getting a Dislike Button!” Half curious and half-laughingly, I thought to myself, “All the selfie-posters are going to really hate this one.” But after watching the Q&A with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announcing that the tech giant is almost ready to begin testing a “Dislike” button, I couldn’t help but smile.

There are so many times we stumble across heartbreaking posts and tragedies and feel the need to display some indication of support. The “I’m here for you” or the “This was hard to read, but it was worth the read” and even the adorable shelter dogs that pop up on your newsfeed that you can’t help but “like.”

A “like” doesn’t always seem appropriate. We don’t “like” that there are some pretty terrible things happening in the world, or that Buster, the 4-year-old German Shepherd, doesn’t have a forever home.

This soon-to-come button isn’t about disliking selfies or politics, it’s about empathy.

Zuckerberg said it best, “People aren’t looking for an ability to down vote other people’s posts. What they really want is to be able to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment, right? And if you are sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events like the refugee crisis that touches you or if a family member passed away, then it might not feel comfortable to Like that post.”

An empathy button... I “like” that.

posted by Cathy Monetti Mar 07,2014 @ 07:31AM

Simply Brilliant: theSkimm

With so much information flying around, it pays to communicate clearly and simply—whatever your forum. For my money, nobody does it better than theSkimm.

Founded by NBC staffers Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, theSkimm is a daily e-digest of the world's most important news stories, offered in bite-size, easy-to-digest chunks. The subscription base is largely "busy women who want to keep up on current events and cocktail party conversation but who are short on time," although I suspect a broad male readership exists.

Here is how theSkimm covered the situation in Ukraine today:

Sign up for theSkimm here. Or at a minimum, let theSkimm's straightforward writing style inspire your next piece of communication.

Your customers will thank you.

posted by Ryon Edwards Dec 11,2013 @ 01:02PM

Riggs Partners’ work published in Print magazine

We're pleased to have work selected for Print magazine's 2013 Regional Design Annual. The annual is the only comprehensive survey of outstanding design throughout the United States. Now in its 32nd year, Print’s Regional Design Annual is seen by tens of thousands of creative professionals, among the largest such audience in the country.

The work featured is the 2011 Annual Report for Palmetto GBA, a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. Palmetto GBA provides technical, administrative and contact center services to the federal government (Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services). The book has a blind embossed short cover, colorful infographics and custom die cuts and illustrations for the fold-out case studies.

posted by Michael Powelson Jun 25,2013 @ 06:22AM

The Introduction of an Optimist

I’ve known this day was coming.

The moment I signed the papers and officially rejoined RIGGS Partners, a trio of realizations set in, each one spiking my anxiety level slightly more than the last.

“That’s right, they blog,” I thought, passing the contract back across the table.

“I mean…we blog.”

“Oh lord, I’m going to have to blog.”

One wouldn’t expect this to be such a daunting prospect for someone who trades in words and ideas for a living. But I began to sweat it on the spot. Yes, I enjoy writing. I’ve even blogged once or thrice for my own self. But this blog, this first post, wouldn’t be just writing. As the new Creative Director, I would have to introduce myself, make a statement. I would need to communicate something important about me to an audience of clients. I’d be talking directly to you.

What could I say to make you as excited about the future as I am? How could I reassure you that I would be a good steward of your brand and work tirelessly on its behalf? Where might I find the words to articulate what I was all about and why that was going to be a good thing for you?

Walking out of the office that Saturday afternoon, I registered the challenge that would soon lay before me and decided there was only one suitable course of action: Total avoidance.

That’s right. My first day was a week away. I had already settled things up with the friends at my previous shop. That left seven days to spend ordering household affairs, centering myself and, most certainly, running from the shadow of this damned blog post.

I’d made it to day five when that shadow caught up with me in the place most everything of consequence does — standing waist deep in a river, failing to outsmart creatures with brains the size of my thumbnail. I am, you see, a recent convert to the art of fly-fishing.

My father did his best to interest me in this when I was a teenager. So, naturally, it was ignored alongside every other piece of truth or beauty he worked to instill at the time. As such, I have only been properly engaged in the sport for the last two years, which is to say that I’m not very good at it.

Proficiency has little to do with enthusiasm, however, and I decided to spend the last two days of my hiatus on the Davidson River in Western North Carolina. It’s a beautiful spot that has routinely humbled me, its trout being easily spooked and always skeptical of my offerings. I’ve stared at the river’s mottled bed long enough to overlook fish which should have been caught and swear to see others that never existed.

True to form, this trip had delivered me into a seventh troutless hour when the shadow began to creep overhead. By that point, I had tied on nearly every fly at my disposal. I had led them downstream over and over again at every conceivable depth. I had cast, and cast, and cast.

Thus, with no fish to distract me, my thoughts soon emptied into the pools of uncertainty and expectation regarding the new chapter I would begin back in Columbia. I caught myself auditioning angles for this post and sarcastically remarked that I might as well be back in the office, feet up on the desk staring into the blinding white of a blank page. And that’s when it became clear how closely my profession mirrors the pastime that periodically interrupts it.

Be it on streams or in sketchbooks, we cast doggedly toward the barely visible — something we trust is out there. The right words. The perfect images. The strategies and narratives that steal beneath the surface of conventional thinking. The concepts that can bring a brand to life. It’s why I count creatives and anglers among the quintessential optimists. They never forget what the next cast, the next idea, could mean.

It wasn’t until the sun ducked below the timberline and the water around me had given up its reflections that I reached for a small, neglected box of dry flies. Though there is undeniable excitement in using these feather-light imitations to mimic insects floating on the water’s surface, they are far more difficult to present than their swift sinking counterparts. Despite two years of trying, I had yet to catch a single trout on a dry.

But with only minutes separating me from total darkness, prior experience and conventional wisdom yielded to a “you never know” approach. Tying on a #16 Parachute Adams, I squinted towards what might have been a rise near the bank. On my third cast, I managed to shoot the weightless fly out further than the heavier line and, with a quick mend, kept the current from dragging the whole parade of tackle unnaturally downstream. Just as the fly reached the end of its drift a small ring appeared in front and gently sipped it underneath. A second later, my line surged tight. A steep, diagonal tether formed from my raised arms to where the fly had just disappeared, and the trembling rod doubled over, its reel whining against my right ear. A few glimpses during the fight hinted at a brown trout, which my net ultimately confirmed. The fish was not as big as its strength had suggested, but big enough to change how the entire day would be recalled.

The next cast. It can mean everything.

That evening as I sat on a tailgate, staring into the fire and enjoying that pleasant ache of physical expense, I circled back to the clients and questions that awaited me in the coming week. I thought about that blank page and all that might be done with it.

Eventually an idea surfaced and hinted at how I might introduce myself. I began to see a way of telling you something important about me. That I will treat your brand as if it were my own. That beneath all the wise cracks and devil’s advocating, I am truly an optimist. That I plan to tie on everything at my disposal to get the right ideas for you. And that I will cast and cast and cast.

Pleasure to meet you. Let’s get to work.

 

 

 

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