With the martech universe expanding rapidly, many marketers are beginning to fear that an overwhelming amount of technology and automation is causing them to lose touch with their customers—at a time when engagement is more important than ever.

In this video interview with Chandar Pattabhiram, Group VP of Product and Corporate Marketing at Marketo, you’ll find out how the next generation of CMOs can leverage marketing technology to move away from mass marketing techniques and get back to building 1:1 relationships—in a way that is measurable and scalable.

Here are some of Chandar’s tips for using technology to humanize your marketing, transform your customer experience and follow other marketing leaders into “the era of engagement marketing.”

1. Become a valuable storyteller

“People don’t buy products, people buy stories,” says Chandar. It is the job of the marketer to develop an outside-in perspective and identify the individual customer’s needs. Then, the marketer can tell a story that actually matters to the customer, instead of talking about what they think will be valuable for the customer.

Use technology to connect directly with your customers and listen to their needs. Then, identify where gaps and overlaps exist in the customer’s existing tech stack to assess how your product or service will truly benefit them. Chandar says this will create a genuine, emotive connection that is key to building successful long-term customer relationships.

2. Focus on customer interaction

Today’s customers have lots of choice, and since most B2B services run on a subscription basis, customers can cancel at virtually any time. To combat this, Chandar says marketers must focus less on acquiring customers, and more on interacting with customers. Instead of filling the sales funnel, marketers need to create a virtuous circle that turns new customers into happy brand advocates. These happy advocates can then influence and refer new customers and continue the cycle indefinitely.

Chandar says the goal of building long-term relationships with customers is not a new concept. What is new are the technologies that allow brands to do this. He says it is the job of the marketer to use this new technology—like an advocate marketing program—to scale customer engagement efforts at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

3. Measure value that matters

Chandar says marketers need to start organizing around metrics that matter. He says the first step is to align with sales on value metrics that both teams commonly measure: revenue, pipeline and opportunities. Then, form a team on both the demand gen side and on the sales side that focus on driving lifetime value—through customer engagement that leads to increased upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Chandar also suggests putting metrics in place to measure your brand’s advocacy. From his experience, he says that a typical company’s advocate breakdown is 60% “lurkers”, 30% “likers”, and 10% “lovers”. He recommends creating deep 1:1 relationships with that 10%, and then using technology like an advocate marketing program at scale to convert those lurkers into likers, and those likers into lovers—that will build your brand for you.

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