Sales and marketing used to be a match made in heaven—but that relationship is now outdated. Modern buyers have access to more product information, reviews and peer recommendations online than they know what to do with. That’s why Meagen Eisenberg, Chief Marketing Officer at next-generation database provider MongoDB, says the future of demand gen is all about the opposite end of the funnel—the customer. Watch Meagan’s Advocamp presentation to learn why brands must focus on enhancing the customer experience to fuel their growth.

Flip the funnel

Forget the iceberg. A better analogy to describe modern marketing is that of a funnel through which you brew coffee. Pour in the grains (i.e. your leads and prospects), add the water, and try to ease the java through the funnel at the other side. This, of course, takes time. But the wider your filter, the more grains you can put in, and the quicker they can filter through, allowing you to reap the benefits of the end result.

Don’t stop at retention and upselling

Traditionally, once you acquired a customer, you’d focus on retention and upselling, and it would stop there. But the regular marketing channels are no longer effective. “When you look at where things are going and how people are buying,” says Meagan, “this is outdated. It’s really not what’s going to make us successful going forward.”

Instead, customers are looking to peers and others to get unbiased information. And you can leverage that by making your clients become advocates for your brand.

Advocamp: the biggest customer engagement and advocacy event of the year
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Building trust

With so much information on the Internet, how do your customers know what to trust? A recent Nielsen study found that people are most trusting, and more inclined to take action, when dealing with recommendations from others they know. Opinions posted online and editorial content also ranked high on the list.

So, what can you do to get more online recommendations?

  1. Foster those relationships. Work more closely with customers, encourage them to give referrals and references, and elevate them. You’re probably more inclined to rely on a Yelp review when choosing a restaurant in a new place versus asking the hotel staff for recommendations, right? The same goes with review sites and services in the B2B world. “The power of the most enthusiastic customer can’t go unnoticed,” says Meagan.
  2. Help your customers tell their story. MongoDB has 9 million database downloads from its own site. Brands, from United Airlines to Tinder (both of which have apps built using MongoDB technology), take the company’s platform and do what they want with it. While the client owns its brand and presence in the marketplace, the MongoDB brand is still out there. The clients are just telling the story for them. So it’s important to partner carefully, and ensure that you enable clients to effectively tell their story, and actively get out there on social media.

Bottom line

The iceberg analogy (what you see on the surface is just the tip of the iceberg) has been used in business for ages. Never before has this been so true in today’s customer-focused business world.

“A company’s unbelievable advantage today is not in content, lead systems or cold calling,” says Meagan. “It’s in their customers and communities. Give them the megaphone.”

The CMO’s Guide To The Next Gen Customer Experience
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