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3rd Marketing Trend-Taylor Swift Like Support Equals Superior Marketing

Posted on: April 30, 2015 by: Thomas Rozof

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series 5 Marketing Trends Competitors Will Use To Crush You

 Customer-Service-All-Hands-On-Deck

Customer Service Now Involves Your Entire Organization

“Winning in business today is not about being number one—it’s about who gets to the future first.”

Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad

We all know that customer support is critical to business success. However, in this third marketing trend we elevate this fact to a much higher level of importance and examine how new models of RADICAL customer service are transforming companies into marque entities that take on almost cult like status, and how this multifaceted dynamic has a direct impact on marketing. But before I outline the specific factors that make up this trend I have to warn you in advance. I’m going to spend what may seem like an inordinate amount of time focused on one example to illustrate my point…and you need to know at the outset that there is a worthy method behind my apparent madness.

TAYLOR SWIFT: A Modern Example Of How Radical Customer Support Is Empowering Marketing

Even if you are a business geek with his face melded into a multitude of digital screens 24 hours a day, you have to be aware of Taylor Swift, the multi-Grammy award winning country singer turned pop icon who continues to set sales records and amass more friends and followers than any musician alive today. What you may not know is HOW she has managed to achieve this coveted level of popularity.

Since her first album debuted seven years ago Swift has sold over 26 million albums. During this time, the number of Taylor’s song downloads have topped 75 million. The Recording Industry Association of America says that Taylor Swift is the No. 1 digital singles artist of all time. Additionally, since 2006, she has released 43 songs that wound up in the Top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart as the lead performer, which is more than any other artist during that period. She’s had thirteen Number 1 singles and 31 Top 40 country singles.

Although she is an attractive and prolific singer-song writer, the secret to her unprecedented success lies deeper in her personality, and it’s this unique feature that resides at the heart of our third marketing trend: Radical Customer Support. From the beginning she seems to have intuitively known that popularity in an ever increasing socially connected world entails more than just writing great songs and establishing a fan club. She has learned how to treat each song and each performance as if it were created to touch the heart and mind of one person: YOU. While you and I know this is impossible, try telling that to her fans and friends. To accomplish this level of personal connection Taylor has engaged in behavior that not only transcends her peers, it represents a radical new level of personal engagement never before seen in the entertainment industry.

BAZAR-Magazine-Cover-Of-Taylor-Swift

Taylor Swift Is Everywhere For A Reason

Ten Over The Top Examples Of How Taylor Swift Has Supported Her Fans

I know, you are wondering how all this gloating over Taylor Swift relates to our third marketing trend. I promise…it will all make sense in the end. But before we explore how radical actions toward customers directly and indirectly empowers marketing, let’s first take a look at some over the top ways that Taylor Swift has responded to her growing number of fans. See if you can identify how some of her actions listed below might instruct or inspire your own company’s customer support vision:

  1. She paid $1989 dollars towards one fan’s student loans (the year 1989 was used as the title for her most recent album).
  2. She flew all the way to Ohio to go to one fan’s bridal shower.
  3. Taylor regularly provides emotional support to her fans on social media in multiple ways.
  4. She tracked down one fan that was going to the Grammy Awards specifically to see Taylor, and posed for selfies with her.
  5. She invited handpicked groups of fans to each of her homes to be the first to privately preview all the cuts off her new album entitled #1989, where she also served them freshly baked cookies that she made herself.
  6. She invited several of her fans to be involved as extras in her music video for the song: ‘Shake It Off.’
  7. Taylor sent several of her fans personalized gifts that directly matched the kinds of things she knew they liked from social media interactions.
  8. She regularly selects certain fans and learns all she can about them in order to surprise them with her intimate knowledge.
  9. She surprised one fan by purchasing a motorized car for her two-year-old child.
  10. She gave a group of fans $90 so they could enjoy a Chipotle meal together.
Each of the above examples are detailed in more depth in a blog post located at http://www.capitalfm.com/artists/taylor-swift/news/fan-thank-you/#V3osaxkM7f0XXreG.99
There are also many other similar examples like the ones above that continue to be showcased by the media, all underscoring that Taylor has been engaged in this kind of behavior for most of her career, a fact that highlights one important characteristic about her actions: THEY ARE SINCERE.

Several companies today are also finding that their level of customer service is directly related to keeping and attracting more customers. In my own research I uncovered many examples of over the top expressions of customer support. Here is a link to a post from helpscout.net where they report on 10 recent examples of companies delivering Taylor Swift like support to their customers: http://www.helpscout.net/10-customer-service-stories/. You can find another such list of examples at mentalfloss.com: http://mentalfloss.com/article/30198/11-best-customer-service-stories-ever.

As I was reading through these examples, one of them stood out to me. It had to do with a three and half year old girl by the name of Lily Robinson who wrote Sainsbury’s to complain that their “Tiger Bread” looked more like a giraffe than it did a tiger. Obviously the little girl had some help from her parents in writing and mailing the letter, but the note was obviously written the way a three year old would communicate.  Sainsbury  customer support manager Chris King did one thing that is unusual, he actually read the letter. Most companies read through their mail looking for one thing…potential legal problems. Not only did Chris read the letter, he did something that all companies can learn from. He saw an opportunity to have some fun and to make it news worthy. He set up a social media campaign to enlist support for changing the name. This made the company feel as if it was more like a family…a community that listened to it’s customers…regardless of their age. In the end the name of the bread was changed to Giraffe Bread. Happy child, happy parents, happy story, happy customers, more reason for others to shop at Sainsbury. Modern marketing at it’s best, and all the result of great customer service.

While it may seem obvious that the practice of great customer service is good business, the fact is that most companies do not ACT as if this is true. They may SAY they care deeply how their customers are treated, but in reality most treat customer support as the thing they HAVE to do after a sale. However, in my research this attitude is being linked more and more to why customers are leaving one company for another. There is mounting evidence that without a company wide commitment to RADICAL customer support a business can be quickly overtaken by competitors who embody this level of service and who in turn win over the allegiance of new customers.

Why Is The Quality Of Customer Support A NEW Marketing Trend When It’s Always Been Important?

This question puts the spotlight on to why the quality of customer service has evolved into such a powerful marketing trend. There are now many reasons that customer support will continue to impact marketing from this point forward, more so than it ever did in years past, but their are three obvious reasons and each of these are linked directly to the new level of power that consumers have in our digitally connected world:

  1. When GREAT customer service takes place it’s such a welcome surprise that customers will go out of their way to communicate their delight and satisfaction. Just look at the examples I offer above. Do you not think that each company linked to these stories are enjoying positive marketing results from this kind of press? Smart companies will use this positive press to further enhance their image and to insure that more people hear about how they treat the average customer.
  2. In today’s world, when people consider making a purchase they jump on their computer, iPad or phones to check for reviews. Happy consumers talk and they also give top ratings to companies who treat them like royalty. This is where customer support translates into increased market share. People want to go and to do business with companies where OTHERS are happy.
  3. Lastly, when great customer support takes place you not only have more people talking positively about a company, you also see this company receiving more digital traffic to their website, social network pages or app. This increased traffic often has a direct impact on their search ranking within Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. New customers searching for a product or service now know the difference between search results that are paid for and those that are earned. Studies have shown that top earned rankings translate in to more sales. People trust something that is earned much more than something that is paid to appear as if it’s ranked high.

A Guidebook That Offers Science Based Strategies On How To Forever Transform Customer Service

Book-Cover-for-The-Customer-Culture-Imperative

A Modern Guide For Transforming Customer Service

Perhaps you’ve noticed that in my writing I’m always looking for practical, superior, helpful advice that provides my readers with specific steps that can be taken to implement change. As I’ve reviewed the various research and studies on customer support, looked at the newest CRX software that focuses on “customer experience,” and read the newest batch of books on the topic, I keep coming back to one book. My only dislike of this selection is that the content is a bit too corporate focused for my taste. However, every start up has the goal of becoming a dominant mainstream presence…and that means massive growth with all the decisions and strategies this entails. So…if you want specific guidance on how to transform your company into a customer support powerhouse then I suggest you pick up a copy of: The Customer Culture Imperative, by Dr. Linden R. Brown and Chris L. Brown. It’s a science based approach that seeks to unlock the secrets behind companies that are known as customer support leaders, such as Amazon, Apple, Virgin, Starbucks and Salesforce.com. One of the points the authors make at the outset of the book is very one I’m asserting in this post: There is a STRONG correlation between the level of customer support and the degree to which a company is growing and increasing sales. In other words, customer service and marketing go hand in hand. In fact, the authors share a chart that identifies several strong correlations, and customer service’s impact on marketing/sales is almost as strong at the temperature getting hotter the closer you get to the Equator! That’s pretty strong. Why would any company today that wants to grow avoid investing in this imperative for business success?

The book is not filled with the typical pop psychology gobbledegook found in so many others on this topic. Instead, it identifies the specific changes that ever company can and must make in order to bring their entire workforce into the customer support picture. It underscore one fundamental change that many companies will balk at: Successful customer service strategies now involve the ENTIRE workforce. The authors outline 7 strategies that company staff must engage in if they want to succeed:

  1. CUSTOMER INSIGHT: The extent to which employees monitor, understand, and act on current customer needs and satisfaction.
  2. CUSTOMER FORESIGHT: The extent to which employees monitor, understand, and act on potential customer needs and opportunities.
  3. COMPETITOR INSIGHT: The extent to which employees monitor, understand, and respond to current competitor strengths and weaknesses.
  4. COMPETITOR FORESIGHT: The extent to which employees monitor, understand, and respond to new market entrants and potential competitors.
  5. PERIPHERAL VISION: The extent to which employees monitor, understand, and respond to trends in the larger environment (Political, Economic, Social, Natural and Technological)
  6. CROSS-FUNCTIONAL COLLABORATION: The extent to which employees interact, share information, work with, and assist colleagues from other work groups.
  7. STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT: The extent to which employees understand, and enact the vision, mission, objectives, and strategic direction of the company.

The authors give practical advice and reveal case studies that help the reader to better know how to implement the above recommendations into their company. Customer service has forever changed and the involvement of your whole team is one of these. This is what it will take to forever put your business on a path toward constantly improving its customer support.

Summary

From this point forward over the top customer support will forever be linked to great marketing. It’s a trend that will define winning companies on into future decades. Add this trend to the first two we already covered (RESEARCH and a robust DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE) and you are on your way to building the successful company of the future. But we are not finished. The fourth marketing trend takes the stability and popularity of the first three and blows open the traffic doors to provide a modern pathway for new customers to access your company. Are you prepared? This next trend is truly one that cannot be missed.

Share Your Thoughts

What are your thoughts? How do you see customer support impacting modern companies? Share your story, thoughts or ideas. Be part of the change.

 

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