Is Calendly customer focused?

Blake Morgan of Forbes just released his list of the top 100 most customer-centric companies of 2022. Why does he do it? Because he’s identified a benefit in a company having customer focus.

What is it they do? They make customers feel GOOD. That is why recent research shows that 89% of companies that lead with customer experience perform better financially than their peers.

From https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2022/05/01/the-top-100-most-customer-centric-companies-of-2022/?sh=244040502b38

If you want to initiate something at your company, it’s always good to note that it will help the company make money. Focusing on customers seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised to learn how many companies focus on themselves rather than their customers.

I perused Morgan’s list of customer-centric companies and noticed that Calendly was on the list, in the B2B category. Since I use Calendly to set appointments for Bredemarket (more about that later, I promise), I thought I’d read further.

Calendly. Calendly was created to solve a common business problem: the hassle of scheduling meetings and appointments. The simple interface makes it easy for companies to schedule any type of meeting or appointment. Calendly saw huge growth during the pandemic as teams worked remotely.

From https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2022/05/01/the-top-100-most-customer-centric-companies-of-2022/?sh=244040502b38

Since Morgan was covering 100 companies, this three sentence description had to suffice. So I dug deeper and found a story (or, if you will, a case study) that showed how Calendly exhibits customer focus.

The problem with making connections at Conductor

Calendly’s website includes a case study page entitled “Enhanced customer support at Conductor adds value, boosts retention.” Conductor, one of Calendly’s clients, improves the organic marketing of its own customers.

As any good case study (casetimonial) does, the Calendly page begins by talking about Conductor’s problem. Here’s an excerpt:

Mergim Selimaj worried he had a problem. As the customer success manager at Conductor, he could see the company’s small accounts weren’t getting the personalized attention they really needed. As a SaaS company specializing in intelligent content and SEO improvement, Conductor helps companies customize marketing to fit their needs. Mergim needed to find ways of helping his reps deliver tailor-made service to match.

From https://calendly.com/blog/customers/conductor

Yes, a company that “helps companies customize marketing” faced a problem in customizing its own marketing for its small accounts. More importantly, it recognized the problem and realized that the problem needed attention.

So how was Selimaj going to focus on its smaller customers?

First, Selimaj had to identify the problem(s) to solve.

Reps spent hours just scheduling — not to mention re-scheduling — calls. A week of hectic service calls would come on the heels of months of limited activity.

Even when the service finally did connect with customers, they rarely had a clear picture of their individual needs. Some clients only needed to speak once per year, while others had hoped for many more touchpoints. There just had to be a way to spread meetings more evenly, Mergim thought. Meanwhile, the customer care team needed a way to know more about the needs of each client. If only there were a way for clients to specify the kind of help they needed, whenever they wanted.

From https://calendly.com/blog/customers/conductor

There’s at least three problems that Mergim identified:

  1. It was hard to schedule calls with Conductor’s small accounts.
  2. It was hard to know the customers’ desired frequency of contacts.
  3. It was hard to know the specific help that Conductor’s customers desired.

How would Conductor benefit by solving these problems?

Improved experience, and simpler ways of interfacing with customers, would only aid Conductor’s ability to deliver organic traffic and higher returns on customers’ tight marketing budgets.

From https://calendly.com/blog/customers/conductor

You probably noted that these were stated as benefits rather than features. If Calendly were to say, “We offer Scheduling Gizmo 2800,” Conductor could reply, “So what?” But when Calendly said that its solution delivers organic traffic and higher return on investment, Conductor paid attention.

The solution that Calendly provided to Conductor

So what three things did Selimaj do in an attempt to solve the problem?

He started by embedding a Calendly customer success scheduling page on the Help page of Conductor’s website.

From https://calendly.com/blog/customers/conductor

(Apparently you have to log in to see this page, because I couldn’t find it on any publicly available page. I’ll take Calendly’s word for it that this page exists.)

Second, Selimaj also created a scheduling link in Conductor’s app itself, to ensure that Conductor’s customers had easy access to meeting scheduling.

And third, he did one more thing: he instructed each of the company’s customer success reps to include a scheduling link in their email signatures.

I’d like to highlight two things:

  1. Now, rather than requiring the reps to spend huge amounts of time scheduling meetings, the scheduling process was now driven by the customers. When customers needed help, they could easily schedule meetings. When they didn’t need help, they wouldn’t schedule meetings.
  2. Also note that there were three ways for customers to access the scheduler: the web page, the app, and the email signature. Selimaj didn’t tell Conductor’s customers that there was only one approved way to schedule meetings. (And I’d be willing to bet that if a customer called a customer success rep on the phone, the rep would answer.)

So what happened?

The results

The article lists the benefits of Conductor’s Calendly implementation.

  • More tailored customer solutions via available information from integration with Salesforce, Slack and Trello.
  • Better service of large accounts as reps spent less time servicing small accounts.
  • Better engagement through quadrupling of customer contacts.
  • Maintenance of high customer quality, even as quantities increase.
  • Those quantities are increasing because of a 30% boost in renewals.

In short, Calendly’s focus on Conductor allowed Conductor to better focus on the needs of its own customers, thus letting Conductor make more money. And Conductor’s customers presumably made more money also. Customer focus benefits everyone in the B2B chain.

Can a customer focus benefit YOUR company?

Perhaps you own a business, large or small, that could use an increased customer focus and an elaboration of benefits that your company can provide to your customers. Part of this is the need to create customer focused content.

Maybe you, like Calendly and Conductor, have a story of your own you’d like to share with your customers. If so, consider working with Bredemarket (the Ontario, California content marketing expert) to create a case study.

Bredemarket uses a collaborative process with you to ensure that the final written product communicates your desired message. Bredemarket’s content creation process ensures that the final written content (a) answers the WHY/HOW/WHAT questions about you, (b) advances your GOAL, (c) communicates your BENEFITS, and (d) speaks to your TARGET AUDIENCE. It is both iterative and collaborative.

Often my clients provide specific feedback at certain stages of the process to ensure that the messaging is on track. I combine my client’s desires with my communications expertise to create a final written product that pleases both of us.

If you’d like Bredemarket to help you create a case study or other content, you can go to calendly.com/bredemarket to book a meeting with me. Or if you don’t like Calendly, there are two other ways to contact me:

Why the Toyota Arena’s square footage is unimportant in Zurdo vs. Boesel marketing…or YOUR marketing

There is a LOT going on in Ontario, California that escapes the attention of most of us. For example, only dedicated boxing fans may know what is happening here on May 14.

Former world champion and light heavyweight Mexican boxing star Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramírez (43-0, 29 KOs) of Mazatlán, Mexico, will face former WBA Interim Light Heavyweight World Champion Dominic Boesel (32-2, 12 KOs) of Freyburg, Germany on Saturday, May 14….The event will take place at Toyota Arena in Ontario, CA, and will stream live exclusively on DAZN.

From https://www.ringtv.com/638236-gilberto-ramirez-dominic-boesel-set-for-may-14-in-ontario-california/

So why didn’t I learn about the Ramirez-Boesel fight until a week after this April 22 announcement?

Because I’m not part of the target market for this fight.

The announcement that I quoted above was shared on The Ring website. Obviously people who visit that particular site are interested in boxing.

And the Toyota Arena is certainly promoting it. (“Zurdo” is Ramirez’s nickname.) Notice the prominent “BUY TICKETS” call to action. The Toyota Arena wants you to attend the event in-person.

And the DAZN streaming service is obviously talking about it and hoping that you sign up for the service. The yellow “SIGN UP NOW” buttons (two of them in this screen alone) are hard to miss. Unlike the Toyota Arena, DAZN doesn’t require you to be in person to view this fight.

DAZN website, Zurdo vs. Boesel streaming sign up.
From https://www.dazn.com/en-US/sport/Sport:2x2oqzx60orpoeugkd754ga17/abtjyjpn1btla7vxkzowzh5h5

What the Toyota Arena and the DAZN streaming service DIDN’T do when marketing the fight

Let’s look at one aspect of how the fight is being marketed.

Have you ever noticed that some companies believe that the best way to market themselves is to talk about themselves? They’re worse than a self-obsessed narcissist on a date.

Major Frank Burns (Larry Linville).
Major Frank Burns (portrayed by Larry Linville) of M*A*S*H fame. (Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan not pictured.) By CBS Television – eBayfrontbackeBayphoto front & release, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30082123

If the “my company is most important” people were promoting this fight, the Toyota Arena could have started its Zurdo vs. Boesel page with the text below.

Toyota Arena, built and owned by the City of Ontario, operated by ASM Global, can accommodate over 11,000 guests. The 225,000 square foot venue features 36 luxury suites located on two levels and a continuous concourse hosting a variety of concession and refreshment stands, merchandise kiosks, the VIP Club and other fan amenities. Toyota Arena hosts over 125 events annually including concerts, family shows, and sporting competitions. The Arena is home to several sport teams including: Ontario Reign (American Hockey League), Ontario Fury (Major Arena Soccer League), Aqua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (G League Basketball), and LA Temptation (Legends Football League).

From https://www.toyota-arena.com/arena-info/about

This text appears on the arena’s “About Us” page. Why not also put it on the page for the fight, to ensure that the readers see it and realize the sheer awesomeness of the arena, the City of Ontario, and ASM Global?

Why not talk about the arena at the beginning of the fight announcement? Because fight promoters are smart. Fight promoters know that to make a sale, they need to maintain a customer focus.

Let’s say that you’re a boxing promoter and YOU have to promote this fight. Which of the following two facts is more important?

  1. Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramírez has a boxing record of 43-0 with 29 knockouts.
  2. The Toyota Arena is a 225,000 square foot facility.

Now perhaps the janitorial staff that has to service the Toyota Arena is more concerned about item 2, but if you want boxing fans to buy tickets or streaming access, you’re going to aggressively promote item 1 and maintain your customer focus.

So what is MY call to action to YOU?

If I were to ask you, there is a high probability that you are not a boxing promoter. I know this because I’m not submitting this post to The Ring as a press release, but am instead sharing it in various Inland Empire West business channels.

However, there is a pretty good probability that you own or manage a local business, and you have your own news that you want to get out.

And this news must resonate with your customers.

  • Perhaps you want to share a customer success story, case study, or testimonial—a casetimonial, if you will. This document must appeal to your customers, speak to their needs, and ideally lead to them considering your company’s services or products.
  • Or perhaps you want to share a white paper that addresses your customers’ needs, but also drives them to consider your business. For example, you might distribute a white paper that lists seven critical criteria for customer success—and coincidentally, your company’s offering satisfies all seven critical criteria. (What an amazing coincidence!)

Regardless of your desired written content, you need the services of an Ontario, California content marketing expert who can work with you and maintain a customer focus in your content marketing.

Ontario Convention Center.
By Mack Male – originally posted to Flickr as Ontario Convention Center, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9512928

I, John E. Bredehoft, through my Ontario-based DBA Bredemarket, can write casetimonials, white papers, and other types of content, working with you to answer these and other critical questions BEFORE producing the content:

  • Why, how, and what do you do?
  • What is the topic of the content?
  • What is the goal that you want to achieve with the content?
  • What are the benefits (not features, but benefits) that your end customers can realize by using your product or service?
  • What is the target audience for the content?

After you’ve provided the relevant information to me, I’ll create the first iteration of the content, and we’ll work together to create your final content. The specifics of how we will work together depend upon whether you have elected the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service, the Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service, or something else.

When we’re done, that final content is yours (a “work for hire” arrangement).

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

Bredemarket content marketing services for small businesses in and around Ontario, California (the April 8, 2022 iteration)

A minor refresh to what I wrote on March 31, including an updated brochure.

Here’s the text I recently added to my home page.

Bredemarket presently offers its services to identity/biometrics, technology, and general business firms, as well as to nonprofits. I offer my services to firms in my hometown of Ontario, California, as well as firms in EastvaleFontanaMontclairRancho CucamongaUpland, other cities of the Inland Empire West, and throughout the United States.

From https://bredemarket.com/

This post concentrates on the services that Bredemarket can provide to businesses in my local area. Read on if you own a small, arty business in the Emporia Arts District of Ontario…

Ontario, California Emporia Arts District.

…or perhaps a larger, less arty business north of Holt in Ontario, or perhaps even a business in one of the other cities that I mentioned, or one of the ones I didn’t (sorry Narod).

There are a lot of local businesses out there

Even if you don’t count sole proprietors (such as myself) or freelancers, there are somewhere around 7.7 million businesses in the United States. (This figure is from 2016; I’m not sure if it’s gone up or gone down in the last five years.) Now if you include sole proprietors in the total, then you’re talking about 32 million businesses. (This particular number may have actually increased over time.)

Obviously I can’t target them all. Well, I could try, but it would be a little ridiculous.

So what if I took a subset of those 32 million businesses and tried to see if Bredemarket could serve that subset?

The local small business persona

When you want to market to a particular group, you develop a persona that represents that group. You can then develop a profile of that persona: the persona’s needs, aspirations, and expectations; the persona’s underlying goals and values; and perhaps some other elements. The persona may be developed via extensive research, or perhaps via…a little less quantification.

When I initially looked at this topic last September, I concentrated on a particular persona, but my thoughts on this topic have evolved over time. While I will still serve artists as I initially proposed last September, I’m now thinking of other businesses that can best use the type of content that I provide.

For example, the business may be an incorporated business that is based on the Inland Empire West, provides its products or services to customers in the local area, provides excellent service that is loved by its existing customers, and needs to get the word out to new potential customers by creating content that can be downloaded from a company website, shared via a company social media account, or handed out at a trade show or other in-person event.

Regarding the values of this particular persona, you can probably already deduce some of them based upon the customer love for the company.

  • The business puts the customer first and strives to provide services that satisfy its customers.
  • However, the business also prioritizes the well-being of its employees.
  • While the business may not have explicitly articulated a vision, its actions testify to a vision of excellent service, customer satisfaction, and care for employees.

But what does this business need in terms of types of content? For my example, these businesses are ones that need customer-facing content such as the following:

  • A document (online or printed) that explains the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides, and that discusses the benefits that the product(s)/service(s) offers to the customers. This document may take the form of a product/service description, or it may take the form of a white paper. For example, your business might issue a white paper entitled “Seven Mandatory Requirements for a Green Widget,” and the white paper just might happen to mention at the end that your green widget just happens to meet all seven mandatory requirements. (Coincidence? I think not.)
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
  • A document (online or printed) that tells a story about how an individual customer benefited from the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides. You could call such a document a case study, or you could call it a testimonial. Or you could call it a casetimonial.

These types of documents are more valuable to some businesses than to others. Your average convenience store has little need for a 3,000 word white paper. But perhaps your business has this sort of need.

How many words should your content contain?

When I originally wrote this last September, I started off by discussing my two standard packages, based on word length. But now that I’ve thought about it a bit more, there are some questions that you need to ask BEFORE deciding on the content length. (We’ll get to content length later.)

(Owen Lovejoy) How long should a man’s legs be in proportion to his body?”

(Abraham Lincoln) “I have not given the matter much consideration, but on first blush I should judge they ought to be long enough to reach from his body to the ground.”

Thomas Lowery, quoted at https://thelogcabinsage.com/how-long-should-a-mans-legs-be-and-2-other-lincoln-stories/
Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln. (Legs not shown.) By Hesler, Alexander, 1823-1895 – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID cph.3a36988.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18705107

So how far away is the ground? Let’s ask some other questions first before we determine the answer to content length.

Bredemarket’s initial questions for you

Before I create a single word, I start by asking you some questions about your content to make sure our project starts on the right foot. (Even though I am left-footed.)

Bredemarket Kickoff Guide header.

  • What is the topic of the content?
  • What is the goal that you want to achieve with the content?
  • What are the benefits (not features, but benefits) that your end customers can realize by using your product or service?
  • What is the target audience for the content?

Once I’ve asked you these and other questions (such as a potential outline), we will both have a good idea of how long the final piece needs to be.

The length of the content also dictates the length and complexity of the review process.

Returning to the content length question

Once we have a good idea of the content length, there are three options that we can pursue to actually create the content.

If your content consists of 400 to 600 words, then I create the content using the process detailed in my Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-400-short-writing-service/

This has two review cycles with up to three days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service
If your content is longer, say 2800 to 3200 words, then I create the content using a similar (but more detailed) process through my Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-2800-medium-writing-service/

This has three review cycles with up to seven days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service
If your content falls between these two lengths, or is longer than 3200 words, or needs a more rapid delivery time, we’ll talk and come up with a solution. (And we’ll even come up with a spiffy name if you like)
For more services, see https://bredemarket.com/what-i-do/

If you can use my services, what are the next steps?

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

Bredemarket content marketing services for small businesses in and around Ontario, California (the March 31, 2022 iteration)

A lot has happened since I first wrote this description of Bredemarket’s local marketing services on September 1, 2021. Time for a content refresh.

The refresh begins with the reprint of the relevant text on my home page, which was just updated this week.

Bredemarket presently offers its services to identity/biometrics, technology, and general business firms, as well as to nonprofits. I offer my services to firms in my hometown of Ontario, California, as well as firms in EastvaleFontanaMontclairRancho CucamongaUpland, other cities of the Inland Empire West, and throughout the United States.

From https://bredemarket.com/

This post concentrates on the services that Bredemarket can provide to businesses in my local area. Read on if you own a small, arty business in the Emporia Arts District of Ontario…

Ontario, California Emporia Arts District.

…or perhaps a larger, less arty business north of Holt in Ontario, or perhaps even a business in one of the other cities that I mentioned, or one of the ones I didn’t (sorry Narod).

There are a lot of local businesses out there

Even if you don’t count sole proprietors (such as myself) or freelancers, there are somewhere around 7.7 million businesses in the United States. (This figure is from 2016; I’m not sure if it’s gone up or gone down in the last five years.) Now if you include sole proprietors in the total, then you’re talking about 32 million businesses. (This particular number may have actually increased over time.)

Obviously I can’t target them all. Well, I could try, but it would be a little ridiculous.

So what if I took a subset of those 32 million businesses and tried to see if Bredemarket could serve that subset?

The local small business persona

When you want to market to a particular group, you develop a persona that represents that group. You can then develop a profile of that persona: the persona’s needs, aspirations, and expectations; the persona’s underlying goals and values; and perhaps some other elements. The persona may be developed via extensive research, or perhaps via…a little less quantification.

When I initially looked at this topic last September, I concentrated on a particular persona, but my thoughts on this topic have evolved over time. While I will still serve artists as I initially proposed last September, I’m now thinking of other businesses that can best use the type of content that I provide.

For example, the business may be an incorporated business that is based on the Inland Empire West, provides its products or services to customers in the local area, provides excellent service that is loved by its existing customers, and needs to get the word out to new potential customers by creating content that can be downloaded from a company website, shared via a company social media account, or handed out at a trade show or other in-person event.

Regarding the values of this particular persona, you can probably already deduce some of them based upon the customer love for the company.

  • The business puts the customer first and strives to provide services that satisfy its customers.
  • However, the business also prioritizes the well-being of its employees.
  • While the business may not have explicitly articulated a vision, its actions testify to a vision of excellent service, customer satisfaction, and care for employees.

But what does this business need in terms of types of content? For my example, these businesses are ones that need customer-facing content such as the following:

  • A document (online or printed) that explains the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides, and that discusses the benefits that the product(s)/service(s) offers to the customers. This document may take the form of a product/service description, or it may take the form of a white paper. For example, your business might issue a white paper entitled “Seven Mandatory Requirements for a Green Widget,” and the white paper just might happen to mention at the end that your green widget just happens to meet all seven mandatory requirements. (Coincidence? I think not.)
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
  • A document (online or printed) that tells a story about how an individual customer benefited from the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides. You could call such a document a case study, or you could call it a testimonial. Or you could call it a casetimonial.

These types of documents are more valuable to some businesses than to others. Your average convenience store has little need for a 3,000 word white paper. But perhaps your business has this sort of need.

How many words should your content contain?

When I originally wrote this last September, I started off by discussing my two standard packages, based on word length. But now that I’ve thought about it a bit more, there are some questions that you need to ask BEFORE deciding on the content length. (We’ll get to content length later.)

(Owen Lovejoy) How long should a man’s legs be in proportion to his body?”

(Abraham Lincoln) “I have not given the matter much consideration, but on first blush I should judge they ought to be long enough to reach from his body to the ground.”

Thomas Lowery, quoted at https://thelogcabinsage.com/how-long-should-a-mans-legs-be-and-2-other-lincoln-stories/
Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln. (Legs not shown.) By Hesler, Alexander, 1823-1895 – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID cph.3a36988.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18705107

So how far away is the ground? Let’s ask some other questions first before we determine the answer to content length.

Bredemarket’s initial questions for you

Before I create a single word, I start by asking you some questions about your content to make sure our project starts on the right foot. (Even though I am left-footed.)

Bredemarket Kickoff Guide header.

  • What is the topic of the content?
  • What is the goal that you want to achieve with the content?
  • What are the benefits (not features, but benefits) that your end customers can realize by using your product or service?
  • What is the target audience for the content?

Once I’ve asked you these and other questions (such as a potential outline), we will both have a good idea of how long the final piece needs to be.

The length of the content also dictates the length and complexity of the review process.

Returning to the content length question

Once we have a good idea of the content length, there are three options that we can pursue to actually create the content.

If your content consists of 400 to 600 words, then I create the content using the process detailed in my Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-400-short-writing-service/

This has two review cycles with up to three days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service
If your content is longer, say 2800 to 3200 words, then I create the content using a similar (but more detailed) process through my Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-2800-medium-writing-service/

This has three review cycles with up to seven days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service
If your content falls between these two lengths, or is longer than 3200 words, or needs a more rapid delivery time, we’ll talk and come up with a solution. (And we’ll even come up with a spiffy name if you like)
For more services, see https://bredemarket.com/what-i-do/

If you can use my services, what are the next steps?

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

And one more thing…

Scroll down to the bottom of my general “local” page for a special “locals only” discount code!

How “Omni” is your Omnichannel?

One of Bredemarket’s clients is a consulting firm that advises other companies on the use of a particular enterprise content management system. Among other things, this consulting firm can help its client companies configure the outbound information the companies’ systems provide.

Which leads us to our word for today, omnichannel.

In marketing, “omnichannel” refers to “the process of driving customer engagement across all channels with seamless, targeted messaging.”

Across ALL marketing channels. That’s what omnichannel talks about.

Here’s what Erin O’Connor says:

Omnichannel marketing lets marketers create seamless, integrated customer experiences spanning both online and offline channels to connect with customers as they move through the buying cycle. Omnichannel marketing focuses on the life cycle of the customer. For example, when a customer is in the acquisition phase, the marketer will send a different type of message compared to a loyal customer

Omnichannel marketing is …a holistic approach in the sense that it’s looking at all of the potential touchpoints customers can use to communicate with brands, both online and offline.

From https://business.adobe.com/glossary/omnichannel-marketing.html

An omnichannel marketing strategy may encompass a number of marketing tools, including email, white paper downloads, videos, mobile SMS responses, automated call centers, and anything else that marketers use to communicate with clients.

One of the key benefits of an omnichannel marketing strategy is, or should be, consistency. If your emails say that your product is supported on Windows 11, your data sheets had better not say that your product is only supported up to Windows 10. This is a definite problem; see my checklist item 2 in this post.

(Incidentally, I recently ran across a company that is still talking about NIST FRVT results from several years ago. Since the NIST FRVT tests are ongoing, any reference to old results is outdated because of all the new algorithms that have been submitted and that have better performance.)

So factual consistency is important. Omnichannel marketing also allows for visual consistency (well, not in the automated call center) in which all of the company’s content looks like it came from the same company.

Obviously there are a number of benefits from omnichannel marketing, including easier management and consistency of marketing messages. But all of this raises a question:

Is omnichannel marketing truly OMNIchannel? Or does omnichannel marketing leave some things out?

Before you point me to the definition of “omni” and say that omnichannel marketing by definition can’t exclude anything, read on.

When product marketers don’t market

If you’re a marketer, I hope you’re sitting down.

The world does not revolve around marketing.

(My college roommates who were physics majors made sure to remind me of this.)

Thus, anything that isn’t marketing is automatically excluded from omnichannel marketing. And there are a number of things that companies do that aren’t marketing per se.

I recently held a discussion with a product marketer which got me thinking. We were talking about the things product marketers do, which include content creation (case studies/testimonials, white papers, social media content, and the like) and other product-related tasks such as competitive analysis of other products.

But then the product marketer mentioned something else.

What about having the product marketer author product technical documentation, such as user guides?

(By the way, I’ve written technical documentation in the past; see the “Benefiting from my experience and expertise” section of the Bredemarket “Who I Am” page.)

Now technical documentation is (usually) not the place for overt marketing messaging, but at the same time technical documentation authorship benefits the product marketer and the company by immersing the product marketer into the details of the product, thus increasing the marketer’s product understanding.

I’ll grant you need a different writing style when writing technical documentation; after all, there are no earthshaking benefits from clicking on the “Save As” button.

By Later version were uploaded by Bruce89 at en.Wikipedia. – Transfered from en.Wikipedia; en:File:Dialog1.pngtransfered to Commons by User:IngerAlHaosului using CommonsHelper., GPL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8988455

But you need different writing styles for the different types of marketing output anyway. The mechanics of writing a tweet differ from the mechanics of filming a video. So a marketer who isn’t experienced in technical documentation can adjust to the new style.

However, finding marketers slash technical documentation writers in the wild is unusual. Every company that I’ve worked with since 1991 has built some type of wall between the marketing function and the technical documentation function. But oddly enough, one of my former employers (MorphoTrak) moved managers around between the different functions. One manager in particular headed up the technical documentation group, then headed up the proposals group (where I worked for her), then headed up a multi-functional marketing team (where I worked for her again), then specialized in product marketing.

And now the product marketer (not the one from MorphoTrak, but the one I had been talking to) got the hamster in my brain to start generating ideas.

If omnichannel marketing is limited, and your omnichannel efforts should include activities outside of marketing such as technical documentation, what else should be included in your omnichannel efforts?

Including proposal writing in omnichannel efforts

OK, the subtitle gave it away. (But I refused to write the subtitle “This marketer wrote a user guide. You won’t believe what he did next!”)

If anything, proposal writing is closer to marketing than technical documentation is to marketing. While proposal writing is often considered a sales function (though some would disagree), there are obvious overlaps between the benefits that you espouse in a proposal and the benefits that you espouse in a case study.

Including standard proposal text/template creation as part of your omnichannel efforts also helps to ensure consistency in your product messaging. Again, if your data sheet says one thing, and your user guide says the same thing, then your proposal had better say the same thing also. (Unless you’re proposing something that won’t be implemented for another one or two years, in which case the proposal will discuss things that won’t appear in the present data sheets and user guides, but in future versions.)

Now those of you who are familiar with what Bredemarket does can appreciate why I love this idea.

By Loudon dodd – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7404342

I’ve positioned Bredemarket as a two-headed (but not two-faced) marketing and writing service provider: for example, with separate descriptions of my status as a biometric content marketing expert and a biometric proposal writing expert. And that pretty much mirrors how I work. With one exception, most of my clients only use me for either my proposal services or my content marketing services.

What if companies entrusted Bredemarket with their total solution, both inside and outside of traditional marketing?

Of course there are complications in implementing this.

But when can you implement true omnichannel efforts?

Now most companies are ill-fitted to have one person, or even one department, handle all the omnichannel marketing (case studies, white papers, data sheets, tweets, LinkedIn posts, competitive intelligence, etc.) AND all the omnichannel non-marketing (technical documentation, proposals, and all the other stuff that my hamster brain didn’t realize yet).

So how do you get multiple departments to communicate the same messaging? It’s a difficult task, especially since most department members are so focused on their own work that they don’t have the bandwidth to worry about what another department is doing. (“I don’t care about the data sheet error. I just write the manuals.”)

There are several ways to achieve this: central ownership of the messaging for all departments, outside quality audits, and peer-to-peer interdepartmental review come to mind.

But you’re not going to solve the problem of inconsistent messaging between your departments unless you realize that the problem exists…and that “omnichannel marketing” won’t solve it.

Six methods to get your content in the hands of your customers

Whether you are an identity firm creating case studies, an Inland Empire West firm creating testimonials, or some other type of firm, creation of the content is only half the battle.

You still have to get the content into the hands of your end customers. “If you build it, they will come” is movie fiction.

By IowaPolitics.com – Field_of_Dreams, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68597747

Here are six ways to get your created content to a place where your end customers can see it and use it. Perhaps you can use one or more of these methods to distribute your important content.

Method one: titles

Unless you have some bizarre reason to obfuscate the content by choosing an innocuous title such as “About THAT Reuters article,” you need to start by choosing the appropriate title that will induce your target audience to read your content.

For example, I want to be recognized as a biometric content marketing expert, so I created a page with that very title.

And continuously publicized it (including in this post).

As a result, that page is now the first non-sponsored search term on several services, even for similar searches. I surveyed three search engines; here are incognito search results from two of these search engines for the words “biometric marketing expert” (without the word “content”).

Google incognito search for biometric marketing expert. This one even captured my Google company listing.
Bing incognito search for biometric marketing expert. Bing also shows related Bredemarket content.

Method two: tags

I intentionally saved the third set of search results to display here, since DuckDuckGo not only hit on my post, but on my collection of all posts tagged with “biometric content marketing expert.”

DuckDuckGo incognito search (not that it matters with DuckDuckGo) for biometric content marketing expert. This not only shows the page itself, but also identically named tag.

As another example, to date I have written over a dozen posts about case studies, all of which can be accessed via the link https://bredemarket.com/tag/case-study/.

Of course, I could step up my tagging work.

Not THAT tagging, although the terms are obviously related. By John H. White, 1945-, Photographer (NARA record: 4002141) – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16914422.

I have never bothered to create a tag “testimonial,” so I still have to do that, starting with this post. (I’ll slowly work my way back through the other posts so that testimonial seekers can find that content also.)

Method three: words

Remember the post “About THAT Reuters article” that I referenced earlier? As I said, I had a specific reason for choosing that vanilla title.

I could have entitled the post “Former IDEMIA employee weighs in on Advent’s possible sale of the company.” That would have got some clicks, to be sure.

But it would have misled the reader, because the reader would have gotten the idea that I have some expertise in corporate acquisitions, and an abillity to predict them.

From https://bredemarket.com/2022/02/08/about-that-reuters-article/

But despite the boring title, this post is one of my most popular posts of 2022. Why? Because even though the title is obfuscating, the content of the post itself can’t help but use some words such as Advent, IDEMIA, IPO, Reuters, and Thales. And people found the post because it included words which interested them.

(So much for obfuscation.)

Partial Google Search Console results for the “About THAT Reuters article” page.

Method four: landing pages/doors

Often you don’t land exactly at the content, but instead land at another page that directs you to the content. Because I subscribe to Jay Clouse’s “Creative Companion” newsletter, I get to read his articles before the general LinkedIn public sees them. Unless there’s an editorial change, this week’s LinkedIn article will include the following:

…the majority of my subscriber growth today doesn’t come through my front door, it comes from the dozens of side doors that I’ve created.

Jay Clouse Sunday 3/13/2022 email, “How to grow an email newsletter.”

(UPDATE 3/16: You can read the LinkedIn version of Jay’s post here.)

Does your text need to break on through? By APA-Agency for the Performing Arts-management – eBay itemphoto frontphoto back, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23274437

I don’t necessarily count on my readers immediately landing at the “correct” page. If I write compellingly enough, they could arrive at that page from somewhere else.

For example, I have a page called “Bredemarket and proposal services” that talks about…(drumroll)…Bredemarket’s proposal services. But there are over three dozen pages on the Bredemarket website that link to that page.

Google Search Console list of a few of the pages linking to https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-and-proposal-services/

So if someone is REALLY interested in a topic, and if the content link uses text that is something better than “such responses,” the person will get to the desired content and I can help the person.

Which reminds me, I need to include my call to action. Normally I stick this at the end of a post, but let’s put it in the middle of the post just for fun. If I can help your company create content or give you some ideas on how to distribute the content:

Method five: email

I could probably do better at this one, but I do perform SOME email marketing.

For example, after I wrote my post about Alaska HB389 and its foreign ownership clause, I took the time to email it to some of my contacts whose companies are directly affected by the bill. I’ve also emailed people when I want to promote some of my various Bredemarket services.

After a year and a half in business, I have discovered that my hundreds of contacts do NOT religiously read the Bredemarket blog daily (although I do have hundreds of subscribers: click the link at the bottom of this post if you would like to join the blog subscription list). So there are times when I use email to highlight items of interest to a particular person.

But only if they’re interested. No need for Microsoft Power BI contacts to learn what happens if a driver’s license production company is only 94% U.S. owned. They probably don’t care.

Method six: social media channels

I am a little better at social media content distribution than I am at email marketing. But again, it’s important to distribute the content to the correct social media channel.

Over the weekend, I wrote two nearly identical posts that were targeted to two separate markets.

The post that was targeted to local Inland Empire West companies was reshared in my LinkedIn group Bredemarket Local Firm Services.

The post that was targeted to identity/biometric companies was reshared in my LinkedIn group Bredemarket Identity Firm Services.

So the content of interest to the locals was shared on the local page, and the content of interest to the identity companies was shared on the identity page.

And that applies to ALL of the methods listed above. Emailing content to the right people. Linking from related content. Using the right words, tags, and titles.

All of these techniques, plus all of the other techniques that this post failed to mention, serve the purpose of getting the created content into the hands of the people who can benefit from it.

If I can help you with this, or with creating the content in the first place…oh, I already included the call to action between Methods 4 and 5. No need to be redundantly repetitive.

How Inland Empire West businesses can attract new customers via testimonials

(Updated 4/18/2022 with additional customer focus information.)

I recently had the occasion to observe the digital marketing of a particular company, which I will refer to as “WidgetCo” in this post. (WidgetCo is NOT a current Bredemarket customer, and for various reasons will probably not become a future Bredemarket customer.)

Without going into detail, most of WidgetCo’s digital marketing (online information about the company on its website and its social media channels) emphasized its financial achievements, all related to startup funding.

TechCrunch’s recent funding news. (“WidgetCo” is NOT one of the companies listed.) By the time you read this, it will be updated. From https://techcrunch.com/startups/recent-funding/

If you’ve been around me for any length of time, you know how I reacted.

So what?

Let me give you an example of why bragging about your Series X funding is meaningless to your potential customers.

  • When you go to Amazon, Best Buy, or a similar online product-buying service, you can search for products based on various criteria.
  • For example, you can search for TVs based on screen size, or can search for computers based on the available storage, or search for CDs based on the artist.
  • Have you ever seen an online marketplace that lets you search for a product based upon the company’s Series C funding amount?

The reason that you can’t search for a product based upon its company’s Series C funding is because the customer doesn’t give a, um, hoot about the company’s Series C funding. You never hear a customer say, “You know, this product is good, but this other product comes from a company that just completed a $25 million Series C funding round. I’ll buy the other one instead.”

So why do people talk about this so much?

Customer-centric marketing

Marketing efforts need to begin with the customer, what the customer needs, and how you can fulfill the customer’s needs.

I think this makes the point quite nicely. From the Gary Fly / Brooks Group article “7 Tips for Implementing a Customer-Centric Strategy,” at https://brooksgroup.com/sales-training-blog/7-tips-implementing-customer-centric-strategy/

From Bredemarket’s perspective, this means that I shouldn’t be emphasizing the needs of my clients, but instead should talk about the needs of my clients’ end customers.

So, for example, my company Bredemarket shouldn’t EMPHASIZE my nearly 40 years in the Inland Empire West. It’s fine to mention it in passing, but that shouldn’t be the most important reason why you should use my marketing and writing services.

Instead, I SHOULD be emphasizing that you should use Bredemarket’s marketing and writing services because I can help you tell the stories that you need to tell to attract customers to your product or service.

  • You have the need to attract customers.
  • Bredemarket can help you attract customers.

I think you notice the theme here.

From the Gary Fly / Brooks Group article “7 Tips for Implementing a Customer-Centric Strategy,” at https://brooksgroup.com/sales-training-blog/7-tips-implementing-customer-centric-strategy/

There are various ways to tell these stories. Today I just want to talk about one of them.

Testimonials

You can say that your company provides an excellent product or service.

But it’s more important when one of your customers says that your company provides an excellent product or service. Outside praise is more important than self-praise (something I realized myself when I set Bredemarket’s second goal for 2022), and a testimonial that quotes one of your customers speaks the same language as your other customers.

As of February 16, 2022, I have created fourteen (14) case studies for clients. (“Case study” can be considered a fancy word for “testimonial”; both have the same goal.) For example, one of the case studies featured a law enforcement agency that used a product from a particular biometric firm. The law enforcement agency faced a particular need, the biometric firm provided a product that met this need, and the law enforcement agency apprehended a criminal with the product much more quickly than it could have without the product. (In fact, it’s possible that without the biometric firm’s product, the criminal may NEVER have been apprehended.)

So how does the biometric firm use this case study? It goes to OTHER law enforcement agencies and says, “Hey, YOU have this problem. Look at how another law enforcement agency solved this problem.” Because the case study was written from the perspective of a law enforcement agency, the message resonantes with other law enforcement agencies.

Cops talking to cops. It works.

From the Gary Fly / Brooks Group article “7 Tips for Implementing a Customer-Centric Strategy,” at https://brooksgroup.com/sales-training-blog/7-tips-implementing-customer-centric-strategy/

Now YOU are asking ME, “So what?”

To be fair, the Inland Empire West businesspeople who are reading this are saying, “I don’t work with law enforcement agencies. How can your testimonial services help ME?”

I have not only worked with companies that sell to law enforcement agencies, but with other types of firms, ranging from sole proprietors to huge multinationals, that need to communicate with their end users.

If you’re sick of focusing on the customer by this point, then perhaps you shouldn’t be in business. From the Gary Fly / Brooks Group article “7 Tips for Implementing a Customer-Centric Strategy,” at https://brooksgroup.com/sales-training-blog/7-tips-implementing-customer-centric-strategy/

In addition, YOU remain an essential part of the testimonial creation process. (Along with the customer that we will feature in the testimonial, of course.) When you engage with Bredemarket, we start by agreeing on the goal of the content, the benefits to communicate, and the target audience.

Bredemarket’s content creation process ensures that the final written content (a) advances your GOAL, (b) communicates your BENEFITS, and (c) speaks to your TARGET AUDIENCE. It is both iterative and collaborative….

(At the beginning) You and Bredemarket agree upon the topic, goal, benefits, and target audience (and, if necessary, outline, section sub-goals, relevant examples, and relevant key words/hashtags, and interim and final due dates).

From https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-400-short-writing-service/

You can read about how we will work together here, in my description of the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service. (If you want me to prepare a really LONG testimonial or case study, I can do that also.)

But will you enjoy the final product? I just happen to have a testimonial…

“I just wanted to truly say thank you for putting these templates together. I worked on this…last week and it was extremely simple to use and I thought really provided a professional advantage and tool to give the customer….TRULY THANK YOU!”

Comment from one of the client’s employees who used the standard proposal text

Oh, and one more thing. If you’re an Inland Empire West business, be sure to read this page and find the discount code at the bottom of the page.

If my services can help you:

Hey! Didn’t I just read something similar?

Perhaps you recently read a Bredemarket blog post that included many of the same words that you saw in this post, and you’re now wondering if you’re going through deja vu all over again.

Yes, I wrote two similar (but not identical) posts.

  • This post is targeted to Inland Empire West companies who need Bredemarket services for testimonials (or case studies).
  • One post is targeted to biometric/identity customers who need Bredemarket services for case studies (or testimonials).

Why TWO posts, each of which is targeted to SEPARATE Bredemarket social media channels?

Because I need to address the needs of DIFFERENT types of customers, by using my skill set as applicable.

(4/18/2022: For additional information on customer focus, click here.)

And if I grow both sectors of my business, my Series B funding round will be HUGE.

By Beltane43 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30298042

Why am I using the word “casetimonial”?

We often get bent out of shape trying to come up with precise definitions of things. While sometimes this precision is warranted, there are times when it is overkill.

Take the answer to this question:

What is the difference between a case study and a testimonial?

Not that type of case. By Thomas Quine – Lead type case, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51684202

Some people have taken some time answering the question about the difference between a case study and a testimonial. For example, here’s what Juliet Platt says:

The difference between Case Studies and Testimonials is really length and depth.

From https://casestudywriter.co.uk/whats-the-difference-between-a-case-study-and-a-testimonial/

Platt then gives examples of the longer, in-depth nature of case studies vs. the shorter nature of testimonials.

Another person who has addressed the question is Donna St. Jean Conti:

“Show me ROI, or it’s not a case study.” An editor told me this some 15 years ago, and he was so right.

From https://www.agilitypr.com/pr-news/public-relations/whats-the-difference-between-a-case-study-and-a-testimonial/

This gets into the difference between quantitative information and qualitative information. By this definition, a case study always has to address return on investment, or it’s not a case study.

I have a different view

While I respect the views of these two people (and others), I have a different view. My answer to the question “What is the difference between a case study and a testimonial” is as follows:

Who cares?

From https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-and-case-studies/

Let me explain.

Regardless of what you call the document, a case study or a testimonial allows a firm to attract new customers by showcasing the successes of existing customers.

From https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-and-case-studies/

And as far as I’m concerned, the length of the piece and the choice to use quantitative or qualitative data (or both) is secondary to the primary purpose, which is to present an example that resonates with a potential customer.

Not that I don’t have ANY rules. Whether you’re writing a case study or testimonial, I like to structure it with the following format:

  1. The problem.
  2. The solution.
  3. The results (from using the solution to solve the problem).

This format allows a customer-centric presentation with which the reader can identify. “Hey, Joe’s Garage used this widget to solve their problem. Maybe I can use this widget to solve a similar problem.”

Now perhaps others use a different outline for their case studies or testimonials. And that’s…OK.

For those of you old enough to remember Stuart Smalley. By http://www.tvacres.com/words_stuart.htm, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31855280

My own term

So for ease of communication, I’ve decided to adopt a different term. It’s not original with me, but it doesn’t look like anyone else is currently using the term on a regular basis.

Instead of using awkward references to “case studies and/or testimonials,” I’m just going to refer to casetimonials.

I used the casetimonial term a lot on this page (recently revised) on the Bredemarket website, which not only includes a shorter form of the discussion above about the difference between a case study and a testimonial, but also discusses how a casetimonial can be used, how it can be repurposed, the types of firms that can benefit from casetimonials, and how Bredemarket can help you create your own casetimonials.

If you can use Bredemarket’s assistance with communicating past customer successes to future clients: