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Marketing Can’t Succeed in a Silo

A few months ago, I canceled my DirecTV account. As much as I loved their service — far more than the cable I had before and the cable I have now — it was just too expensive for the amount of TV my family watches. And they wouldn’t budge on price.

That’s unfortunate, but certainly not something that would ever make me think ill of DirecTV. How they’ve handled my cancellation has been anything but OK, and it’s been an object lesson to me as a marketer. My takeaway is this: you can’t market effectively if you’re marketing in a vacuum. That is, culture matters, and if all client-facing departments aren’t in synch, even great marketing is going to face an uphill battle.

For example, I’m sure a bean counter somewhere at DirecTV recognized that holding on to the refund due on a cancelled account for 4 months was good for their bottom line. I am also sure that someone of similar mindset decided that issuing the refund in the form of a gift card was equally smart, since some percentage of those gift cards would be lost or forgotten about and never redeemed.

But I’m not an idiot, and neither are your clients. I know that if you are able to magically charge my credit card at exactly the same time every month to collect payment for your service, you can probably do the same to issue a refund.

Treat Your Clients with Respect

Consumers, whether B2B or B2C, don’t like being made to feel stupid, or unappreciated, or ignored. (So 10 hard-sell sales calls you made to me after I canceled really rankled since I had tried for 3 months to negotiate before pulling the plug.)

My personal rant aside, If you have policies in place that any normal customer would think were devised with the bottom line in mind at the expense of their customer experience, you need to rethink them. In fact, your marketing team should be a part of every conversation that touches on the customer experience, because every customer touchpoint is a marketing opportunity.

You can either delight your prospects and customers every time they interact with you, or you can disappoint them. Either way, they’ll view those interactions as indicative of your true colors, no matter how effusive and flowery your marketing promises.

Make sure your financial team and your sales department are talking to customer service and marketing. No customers ever want to hear “that’s not my department” or “sorry, that’s company policy.”

Leaving your clients feeling that their interactions with you are for your benefit will naturally leave them feeling like they’re an afterthought. That’s not a path to long-term success through high lifetime customer value, repeat business, good will, and strong word-of-mouth.

Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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