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CMI Blog

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Lior Arussy Interviewed by 33Voices

By cmiadmin | May 26, 2015 | Comments Off

Moe Abdou and Lior Arussy discuss how to rise up to the exceptional performance within organizations and as individuals.

Exceptionalizing Your Customer Experience

Have you tried to call your mobile phone provider lately?  How about your cable or satellite service?  If you have, chances are, you experienced a mechanical operator, long hold times, and a less than satisfactory result.  As consumers, we expect those from which we buy to deliver extraordinary service, but because such experiences are so rare, we’ll often settle for anything above average.  The puzzling thing, however, is that those same individuals who are delivering such subpar service are themselves consumers; and I’ve often wondered how they’d react if the roles were reversed?  I posed that question to a highly respected customer experienced connoisseur and Founder of the customer service consultancy, Strativity Group.

Having dedicated his entire professional career to the study of service excellence, Arussy just revised his customer experience manifesto, to help you transform each of your customer touch points.

Here’s what guides our conversation:

  • The first thing your customer will notice about your company
  • Why bad customer service is contagious, while exceptional experiences are rarely imitated
  • The missing ingredient that’s likely prevent you from exceptionalizing your service
  • The ethos at the heart of exceptional service
  • The correlation between workplace culture and customer experience
  • The price of loyalty
  • What distinguishes top-tier content providers

If You Aren’t Using Your Data, It’s Just Taking Up Space

By cmiadmin | May 21, 2015 | Comments Off

If You Aren’t Using Your Data, It’s Just Taking Up Space | Mike Walsh

By Frank Konkel at Next Gov


The government collects a lot of data.

Tax records, financial transactions, census information, demographic intelligence and a myriad of other data sets on millions of American citizens make the federal government the largest data collector on the planet.

Yet that data does little more than take up space in agencies if it’s not being analyzed to change leadership decision-making or to improve the experience of users and customers. That’s according to Mike Walsh, CEO of Tomorrow, a consultancy and research firm.

The big question is: “How will the rise of the Internet of Things and growth of data change the way we approach decision-making and leadership?” Walsh said, speaking at the Management of Change conference May 18. “In the era where we not only have data but also have it in real time, how will we change our applications, how will that data empower leaders in organizations to make better decisions?”

The use of real-time data to rapidly alter decision-making is poised to help agencies reinvent themselves, Walsh said. That’s already happening in arenas like emergency response, where a single tweet can spring the Federal Emergency Management Agency into action as it responds to disasters.

At the federal level, though, those examples are more the exception than the rule. Still, Walsh cited several examples across other levels of government that highlight the success of real-time data solving real-world problems.

San Francisco, for example, posts the food-inspection scores of restaurants on Yelp to give customers -- in this case, tax-paying citizens -- additional information when reviewing where to wine and dine. One of the criticisms of Yelp is that restaurants can use a variety of tactics to bolster their review scores. The city of San Francisco, though, realized it’s impossible to fudge a health score.

The city of Arlington, Massachusetts, produces an immersive “visual budget” to its citizens that allows it to “communicate more effectively with stakeholders, users and citizens.” Tax-paying citizens use the budget to catch a glimpse of where their tax dollars are being spent at any given time.

Louisville, Kentucky, collects GPS data to determine where local _GRC6129pollution triggers asthma attacks. This can act both as a warning for those susceptible to asthma to stay away from certain areas but also can help city officials determine a measured response to mitigating pollution spots.

Still, it might be difficult for the federal government to take a clue from local innovators, Walsh said. Culture can be resistant to change, and the larger an organization is, the more likely it is to experience the effects of a negative culture, he said.

Walsh issued an important decree to an audience comprised mostly of federal employees and federally-focused industry personnel.

“Data is only valuable if you can redesign the way government works or redesign the actions of decision-makers,” Walsh said. “If we as leaders don’t use data effectively in what we do, in improving our user experience and our own decision-making powers, we’ll be in trouble.”

Solve Problems, Don't Manage Channels | Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | May 05, 2015 | Comments Off

Mike Walsh- CMO Chapter 2- Email Blast


Chapter title 2

The problem with today’s advertising industry is not what they do, but the way they sell what they do. Rather than solving your problems, they pitch fragmented solutions based on their own internal structures.

You know the drill. Creative agencies want you to make expensive TV spots. Graphic design firms recommend that you update your corporate identity and packaging. PR firms suggest a big launch party while digital agencies put together a plan involving micro-sites and a flashy media buyout of high traffic websites. Basically, when faced with your brief, agencies tend to solve for their own channels.

Unfortunately, while agencies might think in channels, customers do not. Today’s consumers are both sophisticated and demanding. They interpret brand signals from a wide variety of sources, and expect consistent treatment regardless of the platform they are using. Winning their attention is an exercise in problem solving, not ticking the boxes.

I met Johnny Vulkan a number of years ago, when we were both speaking at a conference in Oslo together. His agency, Anomaly, has attracted some of the biggest clients in the world including P&G and Google based on their unique approach. Although they don’t call themselves an ad agency, they conceived and produced the most popular Super Bowl ad two years in a row. They are not a design company, and yet they designed the number one lip balm in the U.S. They are also not a broadcast media company, but they have won awards for the cooking show they produce.

In Vulkan’s view, what makes Anomaly successful is not what they do, but how they approach their work. When they start working with a client, their first goal is to clearly identify and articulate their problem. Carl Johnson, one of Anomaly’s other founders cites Charles Kettering as inspiration, the famed inventor and head of research for GM, who said, “A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.” Once the real marketing issue has been identified, the Anomaly team is able to select the right set of tools, people and platforms most relevant to fixing it. If the right answer is better packaging, then that is what the team does - even if making a TV commercial might have meant more fees.

As CMOs become more sophisticated in the way they buy marketing services, it is not just individual agencies that will need to adapt their approach, but also entire marketing networks.

I recently joined the board of The North Alliance (NOA), a collection of marketing companies that originated in Scandinavia but has since established a global footprint. NOA was founded by Thomas Hogebol, a former head of McCann Worldgroup in the Nordics. Backed by private equity, the management group acquired the best creative and digital agencies from Stockholm to Copenhagen, Oslo to Warsaw - combined with an engagement model that allowed clients to tailor-make a dream team of problem solvers from a diverse talent pool, whilst retaining regional scale.

One of NOA’s first regional clients was Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), the leading airline in the Nordics. SAS were facing growing competition in its market from low cost carriers. Like many brands, much of its communication was traditional - not just in choice of channel, but also in the style of messaging. When it spoke to customers, it picked concepts it believed were important to travellers—price, reliability and the speed of its fast-track service. Interestingly, once the NOA team started analyzing the issue, it became clear that people were willing to pay a premium for their travel tickets –not because the service was efficient, but because they wanted to be part of a community, to feel the joy of travelling and share those experiences with other people. Acting on this insight presented its own challenges. Clever creative was not enough. To enhance SAS’s community platform would require fundamental changes to commercial strategy, the loyalty program and the underlying technology infrastructure. Hence, a very different type of agency engagement model.

CMOs face the paradox of actionability daily.

They have the clearest visibility of the customer’s unmet needs. However, acting on those insights requires big changes, both in the design of their own teams, as well as the way they work with external agencies.

As Hogebol puts it, “CMOs may have larger IT budgets than the CIOs in the future, but they will also need fewer partners that understand more. The best place for CMOs to start is by clearly defining what their real problems are, agnostic of media and channels. From that perspective, they can direct their energy and investments on exactly the ideas most likely to transform their business.”


To Download the entire playbook and read all 10 ideas please Click Here