🤿 Extraction is the short(est) game

published4 months ago
6 min read

We’ve all said it (or at least read it):

“The money’s in the list!”

And, sure, that's absolutely true. Marketers love to whip out the go-to stat about email’s 4200% ROI (and, once upon a time, I included that stat in cold pitches and on my website). Ka-ching, baby!

But what else is in the list. Besides the make-it-rain cash pile?

Oh yeah… people!

And while we know that, it seems like we sometimes forget. Which means we risk sacrificing the customer experience for the sake of squeezing just a liiiiitle more revenue out of our emails/texts/websites/chatbots/[insert your favorite touchpoint here].

So even though I’ve been guilty of the reductive “marketing = $$$” mentality, I guess I was still a little surprised to hear this from a speaker at the DTCX conference last week.

“By using this method, you can extract as much money as possible from everyone that visits your site.”

Wait, I’m sorry, I was looking for the Customer Experience conference….did I take a wrong turn?

A slide from a virtual conference. The top of the slide says Conclusion. One of the bullets on the slide says, "By using this method, every customer counts and you can extract as much money as possible from everyone that visits your site"

The speaker backtracked as soon as he started reading this slide. He tried to soften the blow with, “Ok, well, I know this sounds bad but I wrote it last night….” Yeah, that actually does sound bad.

But the reality is that plenty of brands treat their customers as an extractable resource (and when you put your Customer Hat on, I bet you know exactly what it feels like when you're on the receiving end. Yuck.).

So what do we do? We all need to make money to keep our businesses afloat. But we need to be careful that in each interaction we aren’t treating people like walking ATMs.

What could it look like if we shifted from a more extractive model (thanks, capitalism!) to regenerative?

Let’s dive into this week’s links to try to find the answers…

Link Diving

Looking beyond conversion metrics

Matt Mullenax, co-founder and CEO of Huron, joined the Up Next in Commerce podcast and explored what a brand can do when they shift to long-term thinking.

Here were a few ideas that stood out to me:

  • When it’s not just about money, you start looking beyond conversion metrics to find more human forms of engagement
  • Matt acknowledges that a lot of their emails don’t look all that sexy when they run Klaviyo reports because “not every form of messaging has to be geared towards ringing the cash register”
  • We can treat CX as proactive instead of reactive (I’m a big fan of embracing customer objections & hesitations, so this really thrilled me)
  • Matt shared a great example about how to work customer advocacy into your marketing. He said that Huron’s body wash is so concentrated that men use way too much of it. Most brands would see this as a great, money-making mistake (take that, stupid paying customer!!). But the Huron team actually tells their customers to use less product (even though it’s going to delay their next order)

To me, that’s a tangible example of what it looks like when you’re not set on extracting revenue from your customers. They’re leading with trust and, in Matt’s words, focusing on “the humanization of brand.”

I highly recommend this one because Matt shares some really fantastic email marketing ideas that are begging to be swiped.

🎙Listen now: Up Next In Commerce - The Difference Between Men and Women in Marketing

. . .

Impact, Intention, and Scale (aka Vibes > Metrics)

Val Geisler’s approach to email marketing is the opposite of extractive. So when she dropped this little nugget just a few minutes into this episode of Conversational Commerce, I knew I was in for a treat:

“You can't have a conversation if you’re only talking about you”

Val’s here to remind you that even though your marketing touchpoints may feel like one:many and not one:one, they still need to be two-way conversations.

Val also shared…

  • Why brands and marketers often forget that there are people behind the screens
  • What to do after you get the sale (so that your customers feel like people, not credit cards)
  • How internal language (like calling your audience “Leads” or “Consumers”) can seep into your customer-facing conversations (and why getting clear on your intention can change this)
  • Why customer advocacy is more important than revenue metrics (which means you might want to find a way to measure impact)
  • Her approach for doing “things that don’t scale”

This episode is equal parts customer advocacy and email marketing (two of Val’s areas of expertise) and the perfect complement to Matt’s episode. Listen to them back to back and you'll notice some consistent themes.

🎙Listen now: Conversational Commerce - Val Geisler

Delight Discovery

Let's celebrate brands that are doing things right, raising the ecommerce bar, and delighting their customers. This week’s Delight Discovery comes from a (now) happy OLIPOP customer. Let’s see how Eli handled it (and celebrate the end of an era now that Eli has announced his new role at Jones Road Beauty):

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Kyle Marsden
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February 27th 2022

🥰 Kyle started as a very unhappy customer just 9 days before this exchange. On February 19, he tweeted, “Who in their right mind drinks OLIPOP? I never wanna taste that ish again” (and kindly didn’t tag the brand while dragging them)

🥰 Eli found this tweet anyway (because searching for your brand name on Twitter is probably a smart idea!) and did two amazing things. 1) he acknowledged that taste is subjective and thanked the customer anyway, and 2) offered to send Kyle a free variety pack to see if he could find a flavor that suits him

🥰 The end result speaks for itself. Kyle knows that OLIPOP went above and beyond here with this solution (that straddles the line of reactive and proactive CX) and now he’s a happy customer!

Buried Treasure

When we listen to customers, we find buried treasure. Here’s this week’s featured product review that’s full of swipe-worthy customer language.

So, since my son was born over 2 years ago my pits stink!!! I'm not talking a little stink, but rotten onion stink. I have tried EVERY single deodorant out there. I've tried Native, Certain Dri, Secret, Lume....probably all of them. I got this deodorant on the 8th, today is the 18th. My pits have not stunk one time. I can even believe it. They dont sweat sweat either. I didnt shower for 2 days taking care of my sick kids, still no stink!!! I could cry!! Buy this, it's amazing and no aluminium!!!"

This review represents one of my favorite types of customer: the skeptic. Let’s look at the meaning behind some of her language:

  • She feels that she’s the exception - that no natural deodorant could contain her “rotten onion stink”
  • She’s tried “EVERY single deodorant out there” and they simply don’t work for her (which probably reinforced her own sense of terrible stinkiness!)
  • But now she’s found a product that works and she “can’t even believe it”

Seems like this brand is the deodorant that makes you realize there’s nothing wrong with you (it’s those other brands who were only in it to take your money and not deliver a product that works!)

Bonus takeaway: Look at the word cloud that Amazon pulled for this product on the reviews page. Right there alongside features & ingredients are “none have worked” and “tried every.” If your products have this, speak to the skeptics in your messaging!

An Amazon product review page says, "Read reviews that mention:" and then lists a word cloud of search terms. Some of the terms are "baking soda" "sensitive skin" "none have worked" and "tried every"

CX Twitter

I'm working to find the best of CX Twitter. Here are a few Tweets (new and old) that caught my eye this week.

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Matthew Bertulli
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February 18th 2022

Looking for a way to strike up a conversation with your customers? Browse the post-purchase survey prompts shared in the replies to Matthew's tweet.

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Val Geisler
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May 29th 2020

Here’s another reason why we can’t keep extracting money from people: because money isn’t infinite (unless your customers are billionaires - their money is infinite). You can’t “extract as much money as possible” from every website visitor because people have other things to do with their money besides buy from your brand.

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Monica Grohne
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March 7th 2022

Monica reminding us to think through the customer journey! You have to earn their loyalty (and that doesn’t happen before they even receive their first order!)

Let me know what kind of CX, marketing, and customer-focused curiosities you've been exploring lately. I'd love to hear what you've discovered.

- Megan