“If you have content, you have stories to sell,” said Butch Stearns, Chief Customer Officer at The Pulse Network and sports anchor.  He made a point about the importance of content, especially now as the shift of resources to inbound marketing continues to evolve and expand.  

Because it is becoming an essential strategy, here is advice from five marketing experts that spoke at the 2014 Inbound Marketing Summit, held in Boston, Mass.

The New Customer Experience Paradigm
Marketers need to take a look at a customer’s holistic experience.  Scott Liewehr from the Digital Clarity Group explained that the customer experience is a sum of all interactions with an organization.  “The failure of a single interaction threatens a customer’s entire perception of a brand,” he said.

He stated that 89 percent of consumers say they have switched a business to a competitor due to poor customer experience.  It is no wonder that eight out of ten CEOs put customer experience as a top initiative, although Liewehr believes they really do not know what that means.

Digital clarity is important, but for big organizations there is no clear owner of it.  “Consumers have a voice and a choice,” he shared.  Now consumers can vote with their purchases and suggestions.  The consumer now has more power, as there is an amazing access to knowledge.  For example, think of how hard it is now to be a doctor.  Everyone comes in thinking they know what is wrong with them.  

Just imagine what it was like seven years ago before the iphone.  He joked, remember when you did not have to sit in the back of a taxi cab and use your phone to guide them to where you want to go?

For firms that do not continue to invest in themselves and head in new directions, they end up becoming the status quo.  “If you stay on the old trajectory, you’re at a disadvantage,” said Liewehr.

The dissonance gap is the time it takes to go from the status quo to the new paradigm, shared Liewehr.  “Every day you get farther and farther away.  You have to cross that chasm,” he advised.

The new paradigm is that consumers have voice and choice, pointed out Liewehr.  He used this math equation to make his point:

Customer’s perceived experience - customer’s expected experience = customer satisfaction

Liewehr told attendees, “You as marketers, you’re putting lipstick on a pig.  The uglier the pig the more and more lipstick you put on.”  However, that approach can backfire, because without turning around the issues you are actually going to turn off your customers more.

Liewehr’s advice?  We must evangelize internally, develop awareness that the customer experience needs to improve holistically and get started improving the customer journey.