Guest Post: 1202 Social Media Alone is Not Enough. Your Small Business Needs a “Big” Website

Social Media has truly been a game changer in how businesses connect with their customers. What used to be a cumbersome and expensive activity has been made very easy, but at the same time it has also become a constant battle for customer attention.

Social media has also helped the customers. It is much easier for them to connect with businesses. No longer do they have to rely on the traditional 1-800 number, enduring long hold times. They can simply post a question and then the business can answer them (within the same day hopefully). On the flip side, angry customers can post their scathing reviews for the world to see. Over all social media has really become a necessity for business if they want to stay valid in this world. And many businesses have been milking social media for all its worth, some even going as far as using it as a substitute for having a professional website. While social media is necessary for achieving success, especially for small businesses it can in no way substitute a business website. In order to truly milk social media, you have to pair it with a website.

Why do you need a big website along an efficient social media presence?

Recently Facebook added the sell feature on to pages, in short turning business pages into small business online stores. This feature again raised a slew of questions that why do we need a website anymore? You can even have a proper e-store running on a Facebook page. This question is especially asked by small businesses or start-ups who have limited budgets. Why should they put a strain on what are often shoe-string budgets to make a website, when they get almost the same level of functionality from a social media presence alone?

The market is not what it was 15 years ago

15 years back you could do without a website till you got to a level of financial success. However the market dynamics have considerably changed since then. Internet penetration in first world countries is especially at levels we had never nearly considered. And the speed at which the online world is expanding puts it a level where we can say that the virtual online world is one that exists in parallel of real one. It is that vast.

So if your business does not have a concrete presence in the online world then you do not appear as a credible business. Before we go anywhere, we Google it. If I only get Facebook page results, that makes your business look like an amateur set-up and makes it lose its credibility. Just like it is expected for a store to have a billboard, consumers expect businesses to have their own websites, just for the sake of contact details and address if not anything else.

Many years ago it used to be a shop front that served as the first impression of the establishment. Now it is the website that makes for the first impression. You need a good website to ensure you grab people’s interest and convert that interest into a sale.

A website is effectively your businesses own branch on the virtual world

You can put up your products up for sale on Facebook, but that is just like putting your products on some other store’s shelves. You cannot influence the environment of the store to shape customer experience. Your products are the mercy of someone else. You cannot control customer shopping experience on Facebook. Facebook even changes the themes when and as they wish. But a website is somewhere you are in full control and give the customer a shopping experience you feel would be the best way to market yourself. For example some e-stores do not opt for a traditional slider and go the “Tinder” way that is the customers view one product at a time.

Also a basic feature that having your own website gives you is recommending customers their next possible purchase, based on their present viewing history. This is something that you lose your products on social media.

Social media has also restrictions on photo sizes that you can upload. This may be a drawback as intricate details may be lost when you compress file size.

Also many people might not want to buy from Facebook, so not having a website means lost sales. And a website along with a brick and mortar store is the perfect combo. Your brick and mortar store gives the customers who want to “feel and buy” what they want and online customers get the feasibility of buying from wherever at whatever time they want.

A website is a business you control and shape

Unlike Facebook you are in complete control. How your business works in completely on you. Just like Facebook gives you a free “shelf” to display your products, businesses with successful e-commerce website have gone on to sell “shelves” on their websites. A website has a huge potential for revenue making and is only limited by your imagination. A small business gains by investing in a website as they gain the option of multiple income streams from one smart investment!

One last thing to mention is that it is very important you choose a professional company to do the development for you. This is because you might require after-sales services, and freelancers are not that reliable.


About the Author

Rachael Everly is an undergraduate student who loves to write on the topics related business, finance, technology and education. Follow @RachaelEverly for further updates



Dr. Natalie’s Research Agenda and Published Research

If you are wondering what I have been up to lately, I thought I would put all the research I have published  into one place. Here’s a list of Dr. Natalie’s completed and published research and soon to be published content! It ranges from IOT, Analytics, Big Data, Customer Experience, Leadership, Organizational Change Management, Storytelling, Collaboration, Digital Transformation, Social Selling, Social Media, the Cloud, Marketing, Sales, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, DaaS, AI, Machine Learning, Innovation, Social Networks, Social Media Monitoring, Mobile, Customer Service and Customer Success Management….and a few things in-between…

IOT (The Internet of Things), Innovation, AI, Machine Learning, Analytics and the Cloud

• The Algorithm of You: How IoT Transforms and Differentiates Customer Experience: Using the Internet of Things to Boost Revenue and Deliver a Brand’s Personalized Promise

• Digital Disruption: The Blind Spot That Could Sink Your IoT and CX Initiatives

• The Internet of Things Improves Customer Experience in Retail Supply Chain

• The As-a-Service Economy: CX and IOT Mean You Have to Deliver Great Experiences- Upcoming

• Customer Experience IOT in the Automotive Industry-Upcoming


Digital Transformation: Customer Engagement, CRM, Innovation, Customer Experience, Customer Service, The Cloud and Analytics

• ROI Of Customer Service & Customer Experience

• How to Measure Customer Experience: Performance Management Maturity-Upcoming

• Case Study: Elaine Turner® Brand and Oracle Commerce, Marketing and Customer Service-Upcoming

• The Need for Inspiring Leaders to Orchestrate Customer Experience Initiatives-Upcoming

• Experience Management: How to Deliver Integrated Customer Experiences

• How Rackspace Creates the Next-Generation Customer Experience

• The ROI Of Agile Customer Care: Reduce Training and Easy To Add Channels

• Digital Imperatives for Omni-Channel Retail Customer Experiences

• Nine Pillar Of Successful Self-Service for Digital Customer Engagement

• 6 Pillars of e-commerce Customer Engagement

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Delivery and Communication Styles: Channels, Content and Cadence

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – People Centric Values: External & Internal Culture, Community, Credibility

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Right Time Drivers: Context, Catalysts, Currency

• How Delta Uses Microsoft Dynamics and Avanade to Create Next-Generation Customer Experiences

• How Microsoft Dynamics CRM Improves Productivity at Trek Bicycle

• Delta Uses Microsoft to Transform Flight Operations and the Customer Experience

• New Belgium Brewing Creates Great Customer Experiences Using Microsoft Dynamics

• Beyond Journey Maps, Delivering Mass Personalization at Scale

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 


Social Media, Customer Service, CRM, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• How General Motors Using Social Media To Listen To Customers and Sell Cars and Deliver Service

• The ROI of Online Communities: Online Communities Provide Value Beyond Call Deflection

• Why Top Marketers Create Branded Social Networks for Customer Engagement

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 

• ROI of Social Customer Service- Upcoming

• The Customer Service Playbook for Integration of Traditional, Digital, Social and Mobile Customer Service Strategies and Technologies-Upcoming

• Mobile Customer Service-Upcoming


Digital Marketing, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• Should the Chief Marketing Officer Oversee the Whole Customer Experience?

• Data-Driven Marketing Campaign Optimization

• VentureBeat: Should the CMO Run the Whole Customer Experience?

• Executive Brief: Can Brands Keep Their Promise?

• Oracle Moves Its Focus from the CIO to the CMO

• How to Staff the Team for Effective Content Marketing

• The State of Marketing 

• Marketing Funnels Are Dead, What’s Next?


Digital and Social Sales; Commerce, Innovation, Analytics and the Cloud

• How Sales Leaders and Sales Reps Can Create a Social Selling Organization: Convert Average Sales Teams into Top Performers Using Social Networks

• Five Approaches to Drive Customer Loyalty in a Digital World

• The Modern Sales Experience

• Continuity of Customer Experiences Drives the Future of Commerce


Customer Success Management, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• The State of Customer Success Management

• Gainsight: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• ServiceSource: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• Bluenose: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• Totango: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy


If you are interested in learning about any of these reports or research, a speech or webinar on any of these or related topics, please reach out to me here!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Innovative, Customer-Facing Applications that Create Great Customer Experiences








I’m Judging the SuperNova Awards: Make Sure to Submit Your Case Study

I’m judging the 2016 Constellation SuperNova Awards! Every year the Constellation SuperNova Awards recognize individuals for their leadership in digital business. Nominate yourself or someone you know before August 8, 2016.

About the SuperNova Awards
The SuperNova Awards honor leaders that demonstrate excellence in the application and adoption of new and emerging technologies. In its sixth year, the Constellation SuperNova Awards will recognize individuals who demonstrate leadership in nine categories:
•  Internet of Things – A network of smart objects enables smart services. (sensors, smart ‘things’, device to purchase, artificial intelligence)
•  Data to Decisions – Using data to make informed business decisions. (big data, predictive analytics)
•  Digital Marketing Transformation – Personalized, data-driven digital marketing.
•  Future of Work: Social Business – The technologies enabling teams to work together efficiently. (enterprise social networks, collaboration, digital assistants)
•  Future of Work: Human Capital Management – Enabling your organization to utilize your workforce as an asset.  (talent management, benefits, HR core)
•  Matrix Commerce – Commerce responds to changing realities from the supply chain to the storefront. (digital retail, supply chain, payments, ‘ubiquitous-channel’ retail)
•  Next Generation Customer Experience – Customers in the digital age demand seamless service throughout all lifecycle stages and across all channels.  (crm, customer experience)
•  Safety and Privacy – Strategies to secure sensitive data (blockchain, digital identity, authentication)
•  Technology Optimization & Innovation – Innovative methods to balance innovation and IT budgets. (innovation in the cloud, ENSW cost savings, cloud ERP, efficient app production)
The SuperNova Awards are seeking leaders and teams who have innovatively applied disruptive technolgies to their business models as a means of adapting to the rapidly-changing digital business environment. If you have what it takes to compete in the SuperNova Awards submit your application today:
If you are doing something really interesting, make sure to send in your case study! It’s your time to be recognized for your hard work!
@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Customer Facing Applications that Drive Awesome Customer Experience

Social Cloud Customer Service Has Dismantled the Old Marketing Funnel

Old Marketing Funnel Days: In the days before social media, marketers would target key customers and go through an awareness, desire, interest and then action (buying) process; essentially the old marketing function. The marketer would start with a large number of customers at the top of this so called “funnel” and as the customers in the “funnel” were approached, there would become fewer customers, narrowing down to those with the desire, interest and ending up with enough customers that would eventually take action and buy whatever was being offered.

The Way a Company Manages Their Social Media Can Destroy the “Old” Marketing Funnel. Today, we know that social media plays a significant role in the purchase decisions of potential buyers. That’s why the way a company manages their social media can turn consumers from brand advocates to troublesome trolls. And there’s an invisibility of social media that has completely destroyed the marketing funnel.

How Does Social Media #Fail Affect the “Old” Marketing Funnel? What do I mean by this? Let’s say I am a customer who is having issues and I post #fail and the brand’s name. And then let’s say there are 1, or 10 or 100 or 1,000 people who might have been interested in becoming aware of that company’s products and services. But because they saw my #fail, they make a mental note and a decision, unbeknownst to the brand, to never buy from that company. They saw the company didn’t have that customer back when they had a question or need help. And this is essentially why Social Cloud Customer Service is the New Marketing. How customers get treated in Customer Service and when they share that affects the future purchasing power of that pool of customers who might have been interested.

Customers Opt Out Without The Brand Even Knowing They’ve Lost a Customer Because those customers opted out, they will never be in the companies “old” marketing funnel. They may have had the potential to become part of a targeted segment that could have gone through the various stages of awareness, desire, interest and then action. However, because those customers saw the #fail post, they will never be a potential customers. Essentially the pool of customers that company might have drawn upon is now much smaller.

Loosing Customers You Didn’t Know You Lost. The company many not realize they lost those customers. They make still send out marketing messages. But it’s every likely that those customers who made mental note of how another customer was treated, will never respond to any marketing messages and never buy from that brand. And that’s what I mean about the customers disappearing or becoming invisible to a brand. They are no longer available to be marketed to. They will just ignore the marketing messages because they saw when I tried to get help, the company didn’t reach out in social media and try to help. And this is the invisibility that is affecting many companies and they don’t even realize that by poorly managing their social media, they have shrunk their customer base.

Managing Your Social Media Well Can Be a Customer Attractor. On the other hand, let’s say there is a customer who complains in social media and the company is paying attention. They are monitoring, listening and respond quickly and resolve the issue. 1 or 10 or 100 or 1,000 customers will have seen this and as a result, they make mental note of it. They might not be in the market for what the company is offering at that exact moment, but when they are and they have to choose a brand, they are going to choose a brand that has their back or a company that they have seen take care of another customer’s issue quickly and meet the customer expectations.

Not Responding To #Fail Is No Way To  Manage Your Current and Future Customers. The failure to meet or exceed those expectations can drive away new and existing customers. This is why I think the old “marketing funnel” has really been dismantled. With more and more companies turning to social media to communicate with consumers, it’s important to manage the channels in a way that builds brand loyalty and converts users into advocates. Today’s consumers turn to social media when they have a question about their purchase. The way your company manages customer service via social media can build brand loyalty & turn users into advocates.

info2 info1

You can get the full infographic from IntelliResponse here.

Where do you stand? Are you monitoring, listening and responding? Or are you not even paying attention to social media?

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst

Constellation Research, Covering Customer-Facing Applications that Create Awesome Customer Experiences


Doing Something Really Interesting in IOT Customer Experience or Cloud Customer Service? Apply for a SuperNova Award!

The SuperNova Awards honor leaders that demonstrate excellence in the application and adoption of new and emerging technologies. This is the sixth year of the Constellation SuperNova Awards. Are you using IoT to create great, new customer experiences. Has the move to the cloud made your customer service more agile and the customer’s experience much better? If so, let us know. We want to hear your stories of using and developing:

  • IoT
    • IoT and creating awesome Customer Experiences
    • IoT and creating awesome Customer Service (Field Service)
    • IoT, the Customer Experience and its affects on Customer’s and Businesses Security/ Privacy
    • Using IoT to deliver smarter Marketing
  • Cloud
    • Using the Marketing Cloud to Increase Conversion, Targeting, Relevancy…
    • Using Customer Service Cloud to Service Customers Reactively, Proactively and Drive Marketing
    • Using the Customer Experience Cloud To Drive Awesome Customer Experiences
    • Using the Sales Cloud to Grow Win Ratios…

We will be recognizing nine individuals who demonstrate true leadership in digital business through their application of new and emerging technologies. We’re searching for leaders and teams who used disruptive technolgies to transform their organizations. Special recognition will be given to projects that seek to redefine how the enterprise uses technology on a large scale.

Are you really on the leading, bleeding edge? Then we are looking for you! If you are not on the edge, you are taking up too much room! We’re searching for the boldest, most transformative technology projects out there. If you or someone you know has what it takes to compete in the SuperNova Awards, fill out the application here

What’s the Timeline look like? I kinda hate to publish this, because everyone looks at it and thinks- Oh August – I have plenty of time! Don’t kid yourself. It takes time to not only do a great project but also document it! So don’t wait to the last minute… If you are up to something special, start jotting down your project info so you won’t be late with application submission!!! And make sure you have data to show your results!

  • February 8, 2016 application process begins.
  • August 8, 2016 last day for submissions.
  • September 7, 2016 finalists announced and invited to Connected Enterprise.
  • September 12, 2016 voting opens to the public
  • September 21, 2016 polls close
  • October 27, 2016 Winners announced, SuperNova Awards Gala Dinner at Connected Enterprise 

Why bother? There’s lots of Rewards! Besides getting to hang out with me :-) and a ton of other really outstanding and amazing leaders, and get to hear what the top companies in the world are doing, you’ll also get…

Wondering Who Are the Judges?

The judges are technology thought leaders, analysts, and journalists selected for their futurist mindset and ability to separate substance from hype. The SuperNova Award Judges carefully evaluate each SuperNova Award application against a rigorous set of criteria. Judges will identify individuals who demonstrate true leadership in the application and adoption of new and emerging technologies.  Want to catch a judge’s eye? Judges look for projects whose elements can be replicated in other enterprises. Want to know more about the awards and judges? You can learn more about the SuperNova Award Judges.

What Types of Projects or Inititatives Can Be Submitted? Here’s a list of the categories:

  •  Internet of Things – A network of smart objects enables smart services. (examples: sensors, smart ‘things’, device to purchase)
  •  Data to Decisions – Using data to make informed business decisions. (examples: big data, predictive analytics) 
  •  Digital Marketing Transformation – Personalized, data-driven digital marketing. 
  •  Future of Work: Social Business – The technologies enabling teams to work together efficiently. (examples: enterprise social networks, collaboration)
  •  Future of Work: Human Capital Management – Enabling your organization to utilize your workforce as an asset. (examples: talent management)
  •  Matrix Commerce – Commerce responds to changing realities from the supply chain to the storefront. (examples: digital retail, supply chain, payments, omni-channel retail)
  •  Next Generation Customer Experience – Customers in the digital age demand seamless service throughout all lifecycle stages and across all channels. (examples: crm, customer experience)
  •  Safety and Privacy – Strategies to secure sensitive data (examples: digital identity, information security, authentication)
  •  Technology Optimization & Innovation – Innovative methods to balance innovation and IT budgets. (examples: innovation in the cloud, ENSW cost savings, cloud ERP, efficient app production)

Who Won Last Year? I knew you would ask that, so here’s that info below. And they were all outstanding. Let’s see if you can beat what they did last year! We are really looking for the super stars. And you know who you are!

CoIT & The New C-Suite

Martin Brodbeck: CTO, Sterling Backcheck


Data to Decisions

Alda Mizaku: Lead Bus Solutions Analyst, Mercy


Digital Marketing Transformation

Naveen Gunti: Senior Director of e-Commerce Technology and Operations, Tumi Holdings, Inc.


Future of Work – Human Capital Management

Asha Aravindakshan: Operations Director, Global Talent, Ashoka


Future of Work – Social Business

Steve Nava: Senior Director Field Service, Americas, Luminex

*************************************************************Matrix Commerce

Jordan Kivelstadt: CEO, Free Flow Wines


Next Generation Customer Experience

Dan Wallis: Director of KP OnCall, Kaiser Permanente


Technology Optimization & Innovation

Dr. David Bray: Chief Information Officer , Federal Communications Commissions

Erica Stevens: VP of Supply Chain and Information Technology, Dylan’s Candy Bar

So there’s your bar. It’s been set high, but I know you can top it! Go for it! Can’t wait to see you at  SuperNova Awards Gala Dinner at Connected Enterprise!!
@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Customer-facing Applications That Make Amazing Customer Experiences

ServiceSource®: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy (Part 1)

I’m in the process of writing profiles of vendors in the customer success management industry. These vendor profiles are a tool for buyers to evaluate their customer success management options before selecting a vendor. In addition to an overview of the vendor, these documents identify key differentiators, product offerings, and provide a short list guide for buyers.  The first vendor I profiled is ServiceSource®. Stay tuned, as more profiles will be published in the weeks to come.

Customer Success Management: ServiceSource® provides B2B companies with technology-enabled services, cloud software and best-practice processes to improve customer success, drive revenue growth and decrease churn from existing customers. It began as a managed services firm and evolved by adding a software platform. ServiceSource had $272.2 million in revenue in 2014.

salessourceWhat Does ServiceSource Do? ServiceSource’s solutions help companies manage the end-to-end customer revenue lifecycle, including onboarding and adoption, upsell and cross-sell, retention and renewals. With more than 15 years of experience focusing on customer success and revenue growth, ServiceSource has the depth of expertise companies need to manage their revenue lifecycle. With deployments across 40 languages and 150 countries and a recurring revenue technology platform, ServiceSource manages billions of dollars of recurring revenue for clients annually.

Why Customer Success Management Important Today: Today’s cloud businesses have unprecedented visibility and data on customers that can be harnessed with a customer success management platform. This opens up new opportunities and smarter ways to connect and engage with customers to maximize revenue and to determine what customers need and want so they remain loyal and provide high customer lifetime values.

An Overview of Customer Success Management: Before the opt-in economy, many businesses were focused on the initial sale. A great deal of money was spent advertising and marketing to potential prospects, enticing them to convert from a lead to a sale. However, little attention was paid to the after-sale experience and financial longevity of the client, even though poor customer experiences and churn still exist today after decades of research showing that after-sales service directly affects the financial stability of a company. In fact, it never made sense for companies to spend millions, or in some cases, billions of dollars in advertising, marketing and sales to then drive the customer to a competitor when the after-sales service experience is horrible. Yet poor after-sales service occurs every single day in many, many companies.

Before, During and After the Sale: Customer Success Management (CSM) is based on the ability to deliver a consistent customer experience process – before, during, and in particular, after the sale – which results in maximized customer lifetime value and enhanced revenue that leads to increased margins and profits. A shift to CSM happened because we live in a continuous, opt-in economy, where the value of customers is determined by how long they stay customers and if they continue to increase their purchase amounts over time. Because of our opt-in economy, companies must prepare themselves to deliver great, continuous and consistent customer experiences.

This seismic shift to a post-sale, on demand, attention economy transforms the value exchange among customers, partners, suppliers, and brands. And as organizations move to digital business models, CSM plays a critical role in enabling brands and organizations to keep and deliver their brand promise as well as enhance their bottom line.

What’s the Best Option for Your Company? When choosing the best option for CSM software for your organization, the choice will depend on the business goals of CSM initiatives, the degree to which CSM has been integrated into your culture and how well employees have adopted this mindset. It may be that some organizations will be further along the adoption cycle, while others will need internal champions to encourage and enforce the use of customer success software, processes and best practices.

Data to Decisions Drives the Democratization of Insight: The CSM field has been spurred on by the need to provide after-sales service intelligence that can be turned into actionable insights and decisions. Holistic, data-driven decisions require a multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates performance monitoring with traditional business intelligence technologies.

A multitude of data sources can be transformed into information streams guided by business process. As context is applied to information streams, patterns emerge that provide nuggets of insight. That insight then drives the ability to take action and make better decisions. This shift to using insight not only can serve high-margin, “luxury” brands, but also should be considered for all businesses through an investment in CSM. By transforming business models to include processes that immediately turn data into decisions, brands and organizations gain the ability to provide great, loyalty inspiring experiences that reduce churn and increase revenue.

Make sure to stay tuned for the next part of the mutli-part study!

Check out my vendor profile of ServiceSource®. An excerpt of the profile including the table of contents is available to download.



VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Success Management, IOT, Analytics and Customer-facing Applications that Deliver Enhanced, Trust-building Customer Experiences via Customer Service, Sales and Marketing


Delivering Superb Customer Experience Management Across the Web, Mobile and Commerce

In this research, we look at trends to take ordinary experiences and deliver superb experiences that keep brand promises by delivering superb customer experience management across the web, mobile and commerce. Clients should use this document as a source for planning and work closely with both the business and technical teams to ensure success to deliver on the brand’s promise. This report offers insights into four of Constellation’s primary business research themes, Next-Generation Customer Experience, Digital Marketing Transformation, Matrix Commerce and Data to Decisions.

Digital Disruption Changes How Brands Engage Customers

The shift to digital marketing and commerce as well as mobile interactions brings a massive transformation to how brands and organizations engage prospects and customers. Customer experience management is a major pillar in many organization’s efforts to engage and retain their customers and partners. Customers, depending on the vertical market, might be patients (healthcare industry), members (financial services industry) or students (higher education).

Organizations are realizing there is more to the job of engaging and retaining these customers because there are so many opportunities along the customer experience journey to have something “fall through the cracks” and not meet expectations. Market leaders realize the future requires proactive digital enablement of the business to support the future strategy of their organizations. Constellation has identified key attributes required for success at experience management and using them, leaders can expect to have a basic blueprint to embark on this key strategic initiative.

Six Approaches Brands Must Adopt to Drive Customer Experience Management

Six Approaches Brands Must Adopt to Drive Experience Management

For more information on this report, you can find a snapshot here.

Unfortunately, in almost every segment, Constellation estimates that the top three competitors control from 43 percent to 71 percent of market share and 53 percent to 77 percent of the profits. In the technology space, only 80 companies since 2000 have made the billionaire’s club in annual revenue. Meanwhile, intense competition, short-term shareholder and management thinking, and minimal investment hamper the pace of investment and innovation required by business leaders to survive today’s competitive landscape.

While many brands have not been complacent about addressing change, the past five years have shown the difference between those who invested in digital transformation and those who have not. The corporate digital chasm is massive among market leaders/fast followers and everyone else. Astute brands realize they must invest in transformational change or face a vicious Digital Darwinism.

Is your brand ready for digital disruption or are they a “wait and see” brand”?

@drnatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Deliver Amazing Customer Experiences


Real-time, In-Journey Customer Experience Mapping Provides The Right-time, Real-time Engagement

In-Journey, Real-time Customer Journey Mapping

Lots of clients ask, “How can I improve my customer experience to gain and retain loyal customers?” Some brands are operating on old legacy systems and are having a difficult time being able to incorporate customer data with the real-time customer experience. If that is possible, it will help the employees (marketing, sales, customer service, customer success management…) to provide the best in-context answers depending on what a customer has already looked at, has already done with a brand and where they seem to be stuck or need more information to choose a product or service. If you want to understand this more, here is a link to a webinar with more detail: Real-time, in-journey customer experience mapping.

We see this “in-journey” customer data and customer analytics capability as key to being able to deliver on engaging customer experiences. Here’s a picture of what an in-journey customer experience brand dashboard can look like:

In journey customer experience supports customer service agents

Source of Diagram: Engage.Cx

What The In-Journey Customer Engagement Dashboard Looks Like

From the in-journey customer experience dashboard, someone trying to help support a customer can follow along the gray line in the middle (with the dots in it and a arrow at the top) and see each of the “events” or interactions the customer has already had with the company. For instance, on Wednesday, March 25th, they had several engagements with the brand. If you look at the bottom and to the left of the diagram, you’ll see on Thursday, March 26th at 1:23 PM – the customer had a chat session with the brand. On Wednesday, April 1, they had another chat session at 5:39 PM.

On April 15th, at 5:42 PM the customer had a 12 min, 2 second chat with the brand. The affinity was rated at a 10 and the readiness to buy was a 9, meaning NOW. As you follow the gray arrow you see on Wednesday April 15th, the customer was in the store. On May 6th, the customer had another chat session with the brand at 2:03 PM. So this what a customer’s Key Brand Engagement and Buying Interactions Timeline can look like. With this information in-front of a sales person, a customer service agent or marketing professional, they can not only see what this particular customer’s brand engagement pattern is (how they go from one channel to another, what time they engage with the brand, whether it is in the store, or online….)

And if online, what channel they use – chat, email, website, etc…) This is all very helpful when an employee is trying to help the customer make a decision. Things that the customer has already asked don’t have to be repeated. New questions can be answered and the brand can really appear and be helpful to a customer. And finally the employee (marketing, sales or customer service) can clearly see what the customer needs next. This helps the employee decide what content to send the customer or the buying objections they may have had and how they the employee can best help that customer to make a good decision.

Aggregation of Customer Engagement Patterns of Customer Journey

What a brand can also do is to look in aggregate, many customers over time, to see how customers generally engage with a brand. This can even start to take the place of “guessing” the customer journey mapping that brands do (often from the company’s point of view and not necessarily what customers actually do.) With that real customer journey mapping in hand, brands can change their processes to make the best possible customer journey, with the least friction, from the customer’s point of view.

Real-time Customer Journey Mapping

With this type of real customer journey mapping, a brand can look at what content they need to provide where in the marketing, buying, customer service cycle as well as how to take extra steps out of their processes to make it easier for customers to make a commitment to a brand. With this type of customer journey information, a brand can really begin to understand their customers to the point that they make it so easy to do business with that brand, that customers not only become loyal, but they also become customer advocates and refer their friends and family.

How does your company realize it’s customer journey’s? Do they do it on paper, in a large conference room? or do they map it real-time as the customer is on their journey? Which do you think is more effective in getting to building the least friction and the highest lead conversion rates?

@drnatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Deliver Great Customer Experiences


The Social Selling Index: What’s Your Score?

If you are in sales, which in some capacity we all are, you really must begin the road down social selling. As I have worked on research on this topic, I’ve gotten comments that range everything from “What’s social selling?” to “Social Selling is the best thing that has every happened to sales!” So if you don’t know what social selling is – here’s a paper that will help you understand some of what you need to know: How Sales Leaders and Sales Reps Can Create a Social Selling Organization. When I was at the LinkedIn’s Social Selling Conference, I was given my Social Selling Index (SSI). What is that? The Social Selling Index is made up of 4 pillars:

4 Pilllars of the Social Selling IndexThe Social Selling Index is measured on a scale of 0-100. Each area has a total possible score of 25. What are the drivers of the Social Selling Index? And why should salespeople care about improving their SSI? Here’s some stats that may surprise you below. LinkedIn Research looked at the people who filled out their profile and it showed that SSI leaders have 45% more opportunities per quarter and are 51% more likely to hit quotas than SSI laggards.* (*Source: LinkedIn Global Survey of 5,000 Sales Professionals, October 2013)

Stats on Social Selling Index natalie petouhoff LinkedIn

Those with a high SSI score were promoted 17 months faster than those with low SSI. Those with a higher SSI could reach VP level 41 months faster than those with a low SSI.

Promotions to Club natalie petouhoff LinkedIn

If you are not sure if social selling is for you, you might want to shift that thinking. Otherwise you might be left behind. Wondering who has already adopted Social Selling Index? Here’s some stats:

Who is using the social selling index natalie petouhoff LinkedIn

Create a Strong Personal Brand

Improving your SSI means that you have to understand each section of the SSI. The first part is about creating a personal brand. I was fortunate that when I began my career I did a lot of writing and established myself as someone who often wrote about the leading edge of what was going on in tech and software. That helped. What also helped was that I had bosses who realized the importance of a strong personal brand. At the time I was a management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers. The partner I worked for explained to me that the reason businesses buy from PWC was, and it was in this order: 1. Who I was (my personal brand, the work I’d be doing and the expertise I’d bring to the table 2. The actual work we would do 3. the fact that we were from the firm PWC. At the time PWC was a 150 year old brand. To me, having a well established brand recognize the importance of personal branding was pretty unusual and astounding. But I went with it and it has served me well. Flash forward 15-20 years and now personal branding is — well let’s just say — “in fashion!”

How do you create a personal brand. Part of that can be done on LinkedIn. Research shows that 81% of people are more likely to engage with someone with a strong, professional brand. When I was at the LinkedIn Social Selling Conference, they gave each attendee their social selling index. Mine is below. What you can see is that I score very high (21) in creating a professional brand. However, I score lower in the next two sections of the social selling index. That makes sense because I am an analyst, not a sales person. I score better on building strong relationships, because that is something that is important as an analyst. So if you have not tried social selling, I highly recommend it. It’s truly where the future of selling is going. And note that it may require that you and / or your team get training. It’s important to understand some of the best practices so you can maximize your social selling success!


LinkedIn Profile Dr Natalie Social Selling Index3

And here’s a link to a paper on some best practices on social selling that I put together: How Sales Leaders and Sales Reps Can Create a Social Selling Organization.


VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Create Better Customer Experiences.


#AdobeSummit WOWs With a Ton of Announcements

The #AdobeSummit has begun and the news below, for the 6,000 digital marketers and senior leaders from the world’s top brands is being digested, while sharing best practices and networking. As a marketer, there never seems to be enough time to learn everything, but soak it up. It’s all here! And if you are here in person or not… here’s a round-up of what’s happening here:

  • Adobe Pushed Boundaries of Marketing at Summit 2015 – At Summit 2015, Adobe is showcasing a range of innovation across its Adobe Marketing Cloud, including the unveiling of two new Adobe Marketing Cloud Solutions – Primetime and Audience Manager. Press Release
  • Adobe Brings Digital Marketing to Internet of Things (IoT) – Adobe Marketing Cloud extends personalized experiences to physical spaces and machines; New IoT SDK enables brands to measure and analyze engagement across IoT devices. Press Release
  • Adobe Streamlines Mobile Marketing and App Development. – Adobe is unveiling significant enhancements to Adobe Mobile Services, a Core Service across Adobe Marketing Cloud, that include a fully integrated mobile app framework. The new mobile app framework delivers the complete, integrated solution in the industry for developing and managing apps, and is the first to eliminate marketers’ dependence on an array of disjointed point solutions. Press Release
  • Adobe Marketing Cloud Unites Data-driving Marketing and Ad Tech – Adobe is unveiling a new algorithmic engine and advances in Audience Core Services that enables brands to connect massive audience and behavioral data from a broad range of sources, while a new set of algorithms allow them to reach those audiences through Adobe Media Optimizer. Press Release

Joint Partner Announcements:

  • Adobe and IBM Interactive Experience Announce Global Partnership – IBM Interactive Experience will build specialized enterprise consulting capabilities for Adobe Marketing Cloud. Combining the capabilities of Adobe Marketing Cloud with the design, digital and technology expertise of IBM Interactive Experience, enterprises can comprehensively integrate all the touch points of a consumer’s journey. Press Release.
  • Accenture and Adobe Create Innovative, Pay-Per-Use Digital Marketing Service to Drive Greater Marketing ROI – Today Accenture and Adobe expand their alliance with the launch of Accenture Customer Engagement, a cloud-based managed service that simplifies the development, execution and measurement of digital marketing. Accenture Customer Engagement features digital marketing services from Accenture Interactive wrapped seamlessly around Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions. Press Release.

Partner-Issued Adobe Marketing Cloud Announcements:

Adobe Blogs Provide Additional Information on the Latest News from Summit:

If you want all Adobe Summit announcement highlights, videos, images and more, you can go here:

And you can follow the Twitter feed using the hashtag: #AdobeSummit

As you can see Adobe is addressing many of the issues that plague marketers, working to simplify, while giving marketers more control and options. As marketers are called to do more than just “push” messages and rather engage customers, more and more capabilities are required. The future is here, now. Digital Marketing education is not only necessary, it should be a requirement in every university!


VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales, Digital, Social and Customer Service to Create Amazing Customer Experiences