CEO Interview: Genuine and honest customer-led marketing

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Thibaud Clément is the CEO and Co-Founder of Loomly. In this video interview, he shares his insights on the importance of customer feedback for innovation, and how it can clarify the mission and vision of a business, in addition to his predictions for a future of customer-led storytelling. Watch the full video of his interview below in our latest post from the Customer Advocacy Experts Series, and read on for the full transcript.

Why are you passionate about customer marketing and advocacy?

Thibaud Clement:

The single most important thing in business is to make something that people want. And the best way to know what people want is to listen to what they have to say.

Of course, there is always the good story of Henry Ford, who said that if they had asked his customers what they wanted, they would have responded, "a faster horse," and we probably would not have cars by now. And that is true when it comes to disruptive innovation and you have a tech push approach to your product and your market.

However, in most instances, when we're talking about incremental innovation and we have a market pull approach to our products and market. Seeking customer feedback to inform roadmaps is a fundamental key success factor here.

At Loomly, we speak with over 250 customers every single day through multiple channels like social media, email, the chat on our website, and most of the platform updates that we release are directly or indirectly driven by customer feedback.

It's really safe to say that we would not be where we are today if it weren't for the attention paid to our customers' insights. The beauty of customer advocacy is that it's a process that, in a way, works like like an Impressionist painting. Taken individually, each piece of customer feedback mental in complete story, it may look abstract, but when you know, taken all together, then all pieces of customer feedback from a very clear and full picture. That picture tells you what the mission and the vision of your company should be. Nothing less so. That's why I'm quite passionate about customer advocacy.

Please share an example of a customer video that had a material impact on sales /marketing.

Thibaud Clement: Okay, that's an easy one. It's literally every single video that customers send us to explain to us how they use Loomly so that we can better understand their work flows and how to continuously improve our platform.

What are the hallmarks of a great customer marketing and advocacy program?

Thibaud Clement:

Everything in a successful customer advocacy and marketing program should be converging into treating customer feedback as pure gold, which it is, of which you never want to lose an ounce.

And with that in mind, there are three things that we see at Loomly as the hallmarks of great customer marketing and advocacy programs.

One. You want to be actively listening to what your customers have to say and to go even further. You want to make sure that it is as easy as possible for your customers to share feedback with you. You never want to make your consumers jump through hoops to share feedback with you, because at the end of the day, you are the one who is losing out. If you do that. So make yourself available on social media, over email through the chat system on your website, through your dedicated support system, whatever works for you and your customers. Ideally,  all of that, but make sure that it is as easy as possible for your customers to share feedback with your team.

Two. Once you have set everything up so that you know customers can share back with your team and you start getting feedback in what you want is some kind of system that is centralized where you can save, organize and act upon all of that customer feedback. Things can be as easy as using a simple spreadsheet or as involved as having a dedicated what map management software. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that you have a centralized place that you can see as some kind of customer intelligence that a room where you are able to always check what customers are reporting, what matters to them and how you can make your product better based on that feedback and the third thing you know. So once you have been able to have customers share your feedback with you, you are able to centralize it in one place. Well, you want to be able to communicate with customers once you have implemented what they have said.

Three. Communicating with customers is key. At bare minimum you want some kind of workflow where whenever you are able to ship an improvement that has been sparked by some kind of customer feedback, you are able to tell that customer that you implemented their ideas or that you fixed the problem that they were having. This is really the key.

So if we sum it up, the hallmarks of a great customer marketing and advocacy program are:

  • Actively listen to your customers
  • Save, organize and act on customer feedback.
  • Communicate with customers after the fact.

What are some pitfalls in customer advocacy you’ve learned personally or observed?

Thibaud Clement: Like with most everything in life, when it comes to customer advocacy, you want to have a balanced approach and you want to avoid in the gap on either ends of the spectrum.

Here are the two ends of the spectrum that you want to stay away from. You don't want to ignore what customers have to say. You want to be paying attention to what customers have to say. It's very important to use customer feedback as a fuel for your company. On the other end of the spectrum, you don't want to be in reactive mode where you basically, jump at every single piece of customer feedback, and you try to act on it with our without either making sure that you understand what the customer is saying and what the underlying pain is. Or, you want to make sure that you know whatever the customer is reporting, and whatever solution you are implementing. You want to make sure that it fits within the bigger picture, which is your company mission, your company vision and where you want to take your products.

In summary, the main pitfalls are either ignoring customer feedback completely or responding and reacting too much to it. A healthy balance is basically like we said in a previous question. You want to aggregate customer feedback, you want to centralize it, you want to act upon it and then you want to let customers once you have been able to deliver on what they were asking from you.

How do you predict customer storytelling will change in the next 5 years?

Thibaud Clement: Well, this is an excellent question on I'm going to respond to this question in two different steps because I believe we can look at customer storytelling from two different angles.

If we look at customer storytelling at the customer level, then what we see very clearly is that every customer is an influencer. It could be that they influence other people within their team or the department. If you know what you're offering is a B2B product, and so you know they have influence within their organization. And if you are offering a B2C product, then you know many people have influence over their very close network of family and friends. Word of mouth is this powerful. And what we see with all social media being part of our everyday lives. We see an increasing comfort level from people in sharing and speaking their minds online. And so you know, it's easier and easier to give a shout out to a company that is doing great things or to give a slap on the wrist on company who may not be doing great things.

The future of customer storytelling at the customer level is definitely an increasing power and weight in the hands and the voice of customers.

And this tells you how important it is to listen to your customers, to protect your brand, but also to build a product that they really want.

The second part of my answer is looking at customer storytelling from the company level. And I really believe that we're stepping into the era of customer-led storytelling. Your brand is not what you tell yourself about your company of your brand. Your brand is what other people are saying about your brand. And, this is more important than whatever you can say. It's more real. Most of the time you know it. It seems more genuine and more honest. So you want to make sure that what other people are saying about your brand is in line with what you are saying and what you're trying to accomplish.

And this is why I believe that what you guys do at Vocal Video is so important. In a way, I believe that you are the future of customer storytelling.

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