Care is the New Marketing

In a world of fake news, alternative facts, and unbridled content creation, who do you trust? Only 15% of people trust recommendations from brands, while 84% trust recommendations from people they know. This trust is built over time, through many interactions, some in good times and some in bad. In fact, it's often built most when things go wrong. When your house catches on fire, you want to be surrounded by people who really care about the outcome - and grab a hose.

This notion of customer trust was hammered over and over again at Dx3 Canada 2018. Here's Amazon's country manager, Tamir Bar-Haim, talking about "the business of trust," and how Amazon made the decision (non-trivial at the time) to include positive and negative customer reviews on their pages.

He then provided a rather humorous example of how Emerald Nuts turned a succinct customer review on Amazon into a tagline:

Emerald Nuts turned one of its first (and shortest) customer reviews into its tagline.

Emerald Nuts turned one of its first (and shortest) customer reviews into its tagline.


At Simmons Sharpe, we believe that "care is the new marketing," because we trust people who care, who actually give a damn. That care extends beyond the customer service "department." In a world gone, well, nuts, with content (most of it crap), rare moments to engage are moments to build trust. If a brand demonstrates it cares about customer experiences, and builds trust with them over time, people will buy from that brand rather than another. And if a brand involves other people you trust, like other customers, its employees, or influencers, it can engage and demonstrate that care many times over - to the power of n, in fact.

That's why we apply our framework, CarenTM, to help ensure our clients actively engage with their customers and build trust over time. The "n" refers to both the power of caring "end-to-end" - from marketing through sales through customer care and back again - and to the potentially viral power of activating employees and customers.

The "Care to the n" framewok is a trademark of Simmons Sharpe Inc. All rights reserved.

The "Care to the n" framewok is a trademark of Simmons Sharpe Inc. All rights reserved.


The exact tactics vary, of course, by client and by their goals, but the gist of it is:

1. Listen

If you're not listening, you're not learning, and you will miss many opportunities to engage with customers. 88% of consumers are less likely to buy from a firm that ignores online complaints, yet the average brand responds to just 11% of social messages requiring a response. Online listening tools such as Sprout or Spredfast can help you route messages to the right queues, respond with preapproved content, and track who responded and when. Tools such as chatbots, which sound like science fiction but are at heart simple "if then," rules-based logic, can be used to listen for and answer the simple questions so that your care reps can engage on the more complex ones. Last night, I used to set up a simple Facebook Messenger chatbot in less than an hour.  That same platform was used to build the TIFFbot, which helped consumers choose which of hundreds of movies they might like at the TIFF festival. TIFF's managing content producer, Sal Patel, explains:


Sal Patel, managing content producer at TIFF, explains how a chatbot reduced the burden on customer care.


2. Activate

"Employee social accounts typically have 8X the engagement of brand accounts..."

As Cisco and Dell famously discovered, activating your employees on social media can increase your social reach and footprint dramatically. Employee social accounts typically have 10X the reach of a brand, and more importantly, 8X the engagement, because consumers trust people they know before they trust brands. Video chat and video marketing tools (VIdyo, Vidyard, etc.) are also useful for activating employees in the digital realm, increasing the opportunity to build trust with customers via "face to face" conversations that don't require getting in a car. Brands can also activate the media through a well-crafted digital newsroom, or activate customer advocates through customer reviews and forums. Activating employees, the media, and customers has the potential to increase your reach to the power of n.


3. Curate

Typically, about 1.2 seconds after we suggest activating employees to a brand, we hear, "But we can't just let them post anything. What about the risk to our brand?" Especially in highly regulated industries, such as financial services. Many employees also hesitate to post about the company, either because they don't know what to say, or because they don't want to run afoul of guidelines. This is where tools such as Spredfast, Sprout Social, Bambu, or Everyone's Social come in. These tools allow you to pre-populate a content "store" with relevant videos, images, blogs, articles, hashtags, emojis, infographics and the like that are "on brand" and preapproved by the guardians of the gate - risk, legal, compliance, audit, etc. We also typically help our clients develop a scenario-based brand voice and tone guide, which can then be used to train employees on the types of words, phrases, and symbols they should use when engaging with customers on social.


4. Amplify

Brands can amplify their content through paid social boosts or retargeting (a secret weapon for lowering cost per acquisition if there ever was one). User-generated content campaigns such as #caughtonNest engage customers (they have to take the time to send in a photo or video clip), create advocates, and amplify a brand's reach with content that is authentic, unpolished, often humorous, and readily shared on social networks. Influencer marketing can also be used to amplify a brand's reach, although it is important to choose influencers who genuinely like and use the product regularly, as Victoria Hui (@thelustlistt), whose 1,912 Instagram posts have garnered 84,500 followers, explains:


5. Measure

Yippee. Our new social video marketing campaign got a kajillion impressions and a 7% clickthrough rate. Let's tell the CEO and celebrate!!! Not. Not until we know how many of those clicks actually resulted in a lead, that was followed up by a sales rep, that led to an appointment, that resulted in a sale. That's end-to-end measurement, and it's the only measurement that matters. Especially in larger organizations, it can be very difficult to stitch together your Adobe/Social Studio/Sprout/LinkedIn/Twitter/GA/Adwords/Vidyard/Salesforce metrics into one coherent picture of end-to-end demand generation. We think it's mission critical, and we've figured it out with our Prophetly end-to-end demand measurement platform. We link APIs such that a click on website video lead capture automatically creates a lead in sales automation platforms such as Salesforce. Because if all this effort doesn't eventually result in sales, we're wasting our time.

Building trust takes time. So does building a brand. Let us know how we can help you take your brand to the power of n.