Win a copy of Peter Shankman’s book – Zombie Loyalists

zombieMarketing and PR guy Peter Shankman just releases a new book (Zombie Loyalists) that is on a topic that is near and dear to all of us at McLellan Marketing Group.  Given that our tagline is “create a love affair with your customer” the idea of having rabid fans who are a marketing tsunami is clearly one we endorse.

Peter’s book drives home the point with this alarming statistic combination: 80% of companies think they provide superior customer service, and 8% of customers agree.

What that should mean to you is — you can crush your competition if you get this right. (Learn how you can win a copy at the end of this post)

As I’ve said before — I only recommend books that are short on philosophy and high on practical, actionable information.  Peter’s book will show you what’s possible AND show you how he recommends you make it happen.

It’s an easy, entertaining read that will have you jotting down ideas and notes as you read it.  I definitely recommend you pick it up.

Here’s what some others had to say about the book:

“Marketing and PR expert Shankman offers a hilarious, astute, and ultimately practical guide to creating customers so satisfied they’ll promote your company with zombie-like fervor…this entertaining yet valuable work is a must-read for any business owner or executive interested in turning satisfied customers into avid brand ambassadors.”

—Publishers Weekly

“At the end of the day, all business comes down to customer service. If you want to win in the new customer-centric economy, check this book out.”

—Gary Vaynerchuk, best-selling author, The Thank You Economy

“If anyone in any organization can’t figure out how to create loyal customers after reading this book, then their brains have obviously already been eaten by meat-eating zombies.” 

—Debbie Moren, CEO, Moren Enterprises and Former Disney Customer Service Leader

“Over the years, Peter has created his own Zombie Loyalists, and I count myself as one! Now he is taking you and your business to new levels with his surefire strategies. The world around us has changed, and business must change with it. Your customers are key!”

—Frank Eliason, Author of @YourService

How you can win a copy of the book: Peter generously sent me three extra copies of the book to give away.  To be eligible — simply leave a comment, telling me about a company that has turned you into a Zombie Loyalist and how they did that.

I’ll use random.org to select the winners and announce them here.

Could you have zombie loyalists?

zombiePeter Shankman’s new book Zombie Loyalists — Using Great Customer Service to Create Rabid Fans comes out today and I’m looking forward to reading it on the plane tonight!

If you aren’t familiar with Peter, he’s best known for founding Help a Reporter Out, which changed how journalists and sources interact around the world. This new book is his fourth, and is the follow-up to his best-seller, Nice Companies Finish First. He blogs at Shankman.com, and tweets random hilarity at @petershankman.

Peter always does things in an innovative way, so to celebrate his book’s launch, he released this “customer service constitution.”

What do you think?

We, the people of the Customer Economy, in order to obtain a more perfect customer service experience, do ordain this customer service constitution for a new Customer Service World Order:
 
Section One: The “Network” Knows all that which we do, and will share those experiences, both positive and negative.
 
Section Two: There shall be the court of public opinion to determine which companies deserve a customers’ business. This court shall convene online, offline, and in real-time, at all times. It shall be based solely on the experience any given customer has had with your business.
 
Section Three: Every CEO, Business Owner, or Entrepreneur pledges to put customer service before profits, before revenue, and even before fiduciary responsibility, because they understand that when customer service is tops, profits, revenue, and yes, fiduciary responsibility will all work out better than before.

1) In this new, more perfect customer economy, every business understands that it’s no one’s fault but theirs if their brand isn’t perceived the way they want it to be, and no amount of lying, hiding, or faking will get their brand to where they want it to be.
 
Section Four: The time, place, and manner of providing amazing customer service shall be up to the individual company, but should more than likely include “awesome.” In this new, more perfect customer economy, the brand will understand that “We’re awesome! Buy from us!” is the equivalent of “Hey, I’m awesome, you should leave this bar and come home with me,” and will not implement such tactics. Instead, the brand will put forth their best effort to provide amazing service to each customer even if it’s nothing more than just a smile, and in turn, the customer will turn to their network and share the positive outcome of their experience.
 
Section Five: Each company will be the judge of their own customer service, and decide whether they need to improve for the greater good. As the new Customer Economy expands, customers will be in charge, and the companies and brands that come out on top will understand that, and never think that “eh, we’ll get by,” is enough.
 
1) No company, house, or brand, shall adjourn from their good customer service for more than never, lest their customers go somewhere else.
 
Section Six: Each company and brand shall receive compensation for their services. Such compensation includes increased revenue, happier customers, and higher levels of brand awareness.
 
Section Seven: All new ideas for great customer service shall be formulated by the brand, and approved by the customers, understanding that the customers, and only the customers, control the direction of the company.
 
Section Eight: No company or brand shall enter into any treaty with any other company or brand to deceive, confuse, lie to, or in any other way disconnect from their current customers. Such actions shall be construed as ruining the company or brand’s goodwill, and will lead to their immediate downfall.
 
Section Nine: Every company and brand shall realize that at the end of the day, customers rule, customer service determines the future of the company, and the sentiment of every customer’s tweet, post, or the like, will determine whether or not said company or brand will survive in the new Customer Economy.
 
Signed, on this 27th Day of January, in the Year of our Global Customer Network

More on the book after I finish it!

Your best customers are pure gold

best customersYou’ve heard it before — the top 20% of your customers, your very best customers, account for 80% of your profitability and referrals.  We intellectually know that and yet our behavior sure doesn’t show it.

We spend all kinds of dollars, time, energy and worry chasing after new customers and after someone starts to buy, the typical business sort of forgets all about them.  Much like people’s dating patterns — there’s a lot of wooing that goes on before the wedding but after the “I do’s” get said, the florist goes broke.

Our poor best customers get the same treatment from us and that needs to stop.  We need to shift a portion of our marketing focus away from prospects and invest even more in our best customers — the ones who have already proven that they’ll sing our praises, buy more and more and bring their friends along for the ride.

Fortunately, my friend Stan Phelps has written a book to help us all do just that.  This book, What’s Your Golden Goldfish, is the third book in a trilogy of marketing books that are all built around over 2,200 crowdsourced examples of real life marketing smarts.

This particular book shares over 100 examples of what leading brands like Starbucks, Doubletree, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Virgin Atlantic are doing differently to cater to their best customers and earn even more of their business and loyalty.

The book showcases nine different ways to let your best customers (and employees) know how much you value them. By doing those little extras, you will make your company even stronger.  You will differentiate yourself even more from your competitors, you’ll keep both your best customers and employees longer so they contribute to your success and with every little extra, you will create more word of mouth buzz.

The entire series of books is all built around the idea of lagniappe which is a creole word for “a little something extra.” In this edition — Stan helps his readers explore how organizations large and small can do a little something extra for their most loyal customers and employees.

You’ll love the storytelling but make sure you have a pen and paper handy because this book is going to spark so many ideas that you’ll never remember them all.  And as you implement them — your best customers will reward you with even more buzz, money and referrals.

Sounds like it is going to work out well for everyone, doesn’t it?

If you’re interested in Stan’s entire series, here’s how you can get them from Amazon.  If your an Amazon Unlimited customer, you can read the electronic version for free.  If you want the paperbacks, click on the links below:

 

Note:  If you click on one of the Amazon links, I get a few cents.

Who determines absolute value?

AbsoluteValueMany people, myself included, believe in the power of a strong brand. Brand positioning has influenced buying decisions for years and a company with a strong sense of their own brand and a commitment to authentically walking out that brand is at an advantage over their competitors.

In the past, a great brand could significantly influence if not determine the absolute value of a product or service.

But, is that marketing truth evolving?

I’ve just finished reading the book Absolute Value, What Really Influences Customers in the Age of Nearly Perfect Information* by Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen and it digs into this issue. The book offers many examples of how consumers have viewed and evaluated brands in the past and how they are coming to interact and judge them today. When you see the trends spelled out, in example after example, it’s pretty eye opening.

To kick things off — the authors list 5 widely held beliefs and suggest that they are all becoming less true today.

  1. A company’s brand is more important today than it has ever been
  2. Nurturing loyalty should be the marketer’s primary, day-to-day concern
  3. All customers are irrational
  4. An overload of opinions may actually paralyze people
  5. Positioning is the most important part of the marketing game

The authors assert that most brands are losing their role as a definer of quality and that a consumer’s past satisfaction is not as anchoring as it used to be. They also contend that because of the abundance of rational information that is so readily available to all of us, our methods of evaluating products and services has changed dramatically.

We really don’t shop/buy the way we used to. Let’s say you need to buy a car. Back in the day, you either went to a dealer based on your brand preference or you might have reacted to a TV spot or your neighbor’s experience.

But today, what would you do? You would look online and read the reviews. You’d look at safety reports. You’d then go to a site and could review exactly what the dealer paid for any car you were interested in. Finally, armed with print outs and a price you knew was 3% over dealer invoice, you’d head to the dealership.

Suddenly, you have access to all kinds of data that wasn’t readily available a decade ago and much of that data is ranking, grading and critiquing the item in question.

Given those two choices – a fuzzy brand preference or hundreds/thousands of reviews from other people – which do you think will influence you more today?

If you’re like most other people, you’ll trust the masses more than your own perception or previous experiences, unless you’re already a brand zealot.

That’s where the problem comes in for marketers. In this new marketplace, there’s a voice that is overshadowing theirs. And it’s not just word of mouth. It’s word of mouth, amplified. Many voices and they’re so much easier to find/listen to. And it turns out, their collective wisdom and experience is quite compelling.

This book is a thought provoking read. (Buy a copy of the book**) It will make the marketer in you tilt your head and really wonder about the effectiveness of your efforts. It will make the consumer in you examine your own purchasing patterns and identify some of your biggest influencers.

But whichever hat you’re wearing — it will force you to look at our world and your work in marketing a little differently. Just like your consumers are doing.

 

 

 

*I received a copy of this book from Emanuel Rosen but I really did read it and I really liked it and found it thought provoking.  You’d be amazed at the number of books I receive that I don’t really like… and therefore, don’t mention to you.

**Amazon affiliate link

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I want you to get extreme!

2014-Summit Web-Banner_full-leg

I like to pass along people, ideas and events I think you’ll find valuable.

My friend, Steve Farber, is a world-renowned leadership expert. He consults with global 100 brands. His book The Radical LEAP has been named one of the 100 best business books of all time and if you’ve been reading this blog for a while — you know that in my opinion, it’s one of the three most brilliant business books I’ve ever read.

To announce the Extreme Leadership Summit, coming April 11-13 in Chicago, Steve is offering an MP3 audio download of his popular program, Extreme Leadership: How to Put More Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof into Your Work. The DVD of this 2-hour speech sells for $90, but Steve is offering this audio to my friends for free.

Yeah, he’s a pretty cool guy. I’m confident you’ll resonate with Steve’s call to take a LEAP in your life at work and at home – this is, to practice Extreme Leadership through Love, Energy, Audacity and Proof.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Cultivate more love in, and for, your business
  • Generate energy for a more productive career
  • Develop more courage to change your world
  • Prove your value and credibility to others – and yourself
  • Lead in an extreme manner that gets big results

Not only is Steve’s program packed with great content, his delivery is entertaining, provocative, and funny.

Click here and opt-in to receive the MP3 file. You’ll find Steve great company on your commute, your next flight, or during your treadmill tribulations.

Steve delivers high value in everything he does, so I’m confident this is a relationship you’ll appreciate and cultivate.

Consider it a holiday gift from Steve and me to you. To your success in 2014!

Top 5 books every marketer should read

I don’t believe you can be successful if you don’t keep ingesting new ideas, information and stories.  As you know, I’m a big reader and try to get through a book a week to keep my brain’s juices cooking.

For a recent presentation, I was asked to provide my all time top 5 books every marketer should read.  I thought you might find it valuable as well.

In no particular order — here are the books that you need to own, read and re-read.

The top 5 books every marketer should read

Baer - Top 5 books every marketer should readJay Baer’s Youtility (Click here to buy on Amazon*) offers a new approach that cuts through the clut­ter: marketing that is truly, inherently useful. If you sell something, you make a customer today, but if you genuinely help someone, you create a customer for life.

Drawing from real examples of companies who are practicing Youtility as well as his experience helping more than seven hundred brands improve their marketing strategy, Baer provides a groundbreaking plan for using information and helpfulness to transform the relationship between companies and customers.

Handley & Chapman - Top 5 books every marketer should readContent Rules (click to buy it on Amazon*) by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman. Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other platforms are giving everyone a “voice,” including organizations and their customers.

So how do you create the stories, videos, and blog posts that cultivate fans, arouse passion for your products or services, and ignite your business? Content Rules equips you for online success as a one-stop source on the art and science of developing content that people care about.

Davenport - Top 5 books every marketer should readKeeping up with the Quants (Click to buy on Amazon*) by Thomas Davenport.  Not normally my type of book but when in Rome…. welcome to the age of data. No matter your interests, your industry, or the type of organization you work for —your world is awash with data.

As a successful manager today, you must be able to make sense of all this information. You need to be conversant with analytical terminology and methods and able to work with quantitative information. This book promises to become your “quantitative literacy” guide—helping you develop the analytical skills you need right now in order to summarize data, find the meaning in it, and extract its value.

Harry Beckwith‘s Selling the Invisible. (Click here to buy on Amazon*) It may be almost 15 years old, but it’s still right on the money and a brilliant read.

Beckwith - Top 5 books every marketer should readIn Selling the Invisible, Beckwith argues that what consumers are primarily interested in today are not features, but relationships. Even companies who think that they sell only tangible products should rethink their approach to product development and marketing and sales.

Beckwith provides an excellent forum for thinking differently about the nature of services and how they can be effectively marketed. If you’re at all involved in marketing or sales, then Selling the Invisible is definitely worth a look.

Calloway - Top 5 books every marketer should readJoe Calloway’s Becoming a Category of One (Click to buy on Amazon*) reveals how extraordinary companies do what they do so well and gives you the tools and ideas to help your business emulate their success. Packed with real case studies and personal reflections from successful business leaders, it helps you apply the best practices of the best companies to set yourself apart from your competitors and turn your business into a market leader.

Whether you run a multinational corporation or a two-person start-up company, the lessons you’ll find here apply to any business.

And because I believe there’s always another great book to discover…a bonus book or two.

Ariely - Top 5 books every marketer should readDan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational (click here to buy on Amazon*) draws on psychology and economics, behavioral economics can show us why cautious people make poor decisions about sex when aroused, why patients get greater relief from a more expensive drug over its cheaper counterpart and why honest people may steal office supplies or communal food, but not money.

According to Ariely, our understanding of economics, now based on the assumption of a rational subject, should, in fact, be based on our systematic, unsurprising irrationality. Ariely argues that greater understanding of previously ignored or misunderstood forces (emotions, relativity and social norms) that influence our economic behavior brings a variety of opportunities for reexamining individual motivation and consumer choice, as well as economic and educational policy.

Farber - Top 5 books every marketer should readAnd…not specifically a book for marketers — a book for leaders.  This is one of my all time favorites.  Steve Farber’s Radical Leap Re-energized.  (Click here to buy on Amazon*) The Radical Leap Re-Energized is an expansion and revitalization of The Radical Leap, which was named as one of the 100 Best Business Books of All Time by Covert and Sattersten.

It’s a novel told in Steve Farber’s humorous, poignant, and original voice that takes the reader on a deep exploration of the qualities and practices of real, or Extreme Leadership, and how to apply them in daily life. Part One, The Radical Leap, explores the leadership elements of Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof; Part Two, The Radical Edge, takes the discussion deeper into innovation, personal clarity and guidelines for changing the world. It sets a new standard for what it means to really lead in today’s business world and beyond.

Now get reading!

 *All of these are affiliate links.

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