Ian Luck, the Director of Marketing, sat down with me and discussed what he loves about CustomerGauge, his approach to marketing and how he sees the industry evolving in the next 10 years.
What separates CustomerGauge from the crowd?
Simply put, our focus is helping companies produce a substantial ROI from their CX programs using the Monetized Net Promoter System®. Other solutions focus on survey flexibility and softer CX metrics. We teach our clients best practices to create a finely tuned Net Promoter program based on our decades of experience and extensive benchmarking & research initiatives. We distill these learnings down to the very essence of what makes a program successful & profitable so our customers not only have a roadmap to make their program launch a success, but a long-term growth plan that will ensure sustained, profitable revenue growth.
What were you doing before CustomerGauge and why did you decide to join up?
In my previous roles, I made a conscious effort to be involved with customer retention in some way. At CIT Bank, we took a very basic Net Promoter program and developed it from the ground up. This involved testing outreach emails and subject lines to increase response rates, setting up an extensive real-time dashboard with Tableau and Salesforce for our executive team to receive a bird’s eye view of the organization or dive into the details, recognizing reps with high scores in front of the entire organization to increase the visibility of the program, and setting up automated notifications with follow-up procedures for detractors. Over time, our Net Promoter Score steadily climbed and so did our revenue numbers with the momentum originating directly from our customer business segment. As a result, I witnessed first hand the power a Net Promoter program can have on an organization’s bottom-line when every employee rallies around a remarkable customer experience.
Once I realized how integral the software and dashboards were for automating the processes needed to make a program successful, I started conducting my due-diligence needed to start my own Net Promoter software company believe it or not. I then stumbled upon CustomerGauge with an office close by who beat me to it! I landed a conversation with our CEO Adam by writing this quick article on Net Promoter and the rest they say, is history.
How do you approach marketing?
The marketing profession has experienced massive waves of change in the last 10 years due to various advances like widespread digital advertising, the rise of email marketing, and unprecedented jumps in analytics & tracking. Marketers have never been in more control. But as a result, surprise surprise, people are generally sick of intrusive, spammy marketing. The reason inbound has surged in popularity over the last 5 years is due to the simple fact that the approach is centered around adding value to prospects first and then nurturing to a product consideration stage in the buyer’s journey as a secondary goal.
We focus our marketing efforts on providing value for our prospects & customers first and foremost. We offer high quality best practice guides, reports, blogs and benchmarking so readers are better informed to improve their Net Promoter programs. Additionally, we have poured a massive amount of resources into research that will propel the overall Net Promoter market forward. Our White Paper debuting the Monetized Net Promoter methodology outlines a 4 step process to move companies from simply measuring their score, to acting and ultimately monetizing their customer feedback in order to produce an ROI. As a result of our initial research for the white paper, we are actively collaborating with the prestigious MIT Center For Information Systems Research (a division of Sloan) on a comprehensive Net Promoter and CX report which is sure to help companies improve their programs for years to come which we can’t wait to release!
How do you see marketing changing in the next 10 years?
I think marketing regardless of application will be humanized. In the age of automation and data points, brands will be forced to seek out authenticity and inject a real human element into their interactions to stay relevant. Companies that push a marketing message to a prospect via complex automation rules and processes will struggle to gain or maintain traction. Brands will increasingly rely on their existing customers to market their products or services on behalf of the company in the form of user-generated content and reviews. Some brands already understand the power of UGC, but it’s the obvious evolution of the marketing machine I can see.
As a result, companies will invest heavily to develop a loyal and vocal customer base to leverage social influence. The focus will shift from acquisition at all costs to LTV and promoter activation at all costs—the acquisition apex is upon us and the spend will start to slowly shift accordingly. Costly ‘cold’ acquisition campaigns and strategies connecting brands directly to prospects will be traded for more efficient ‘warm’ acquisition strategies that leverage existing customers & influencers as the warm connector between brands and new prospects. We’ve found the majority of warm acquisition customers have much lower CACs and higher LTVs which = more profit, a win-win. This is one of the many reasons I truly believe in CustomerGauge— we provide companies with the tools to not only identify these valuable customers, but also grow their bottom line through existing relationships.
Additionally, marketing will revert back to ‘old school’ methodologies of the likes Ogilvy, Hopkins, Ries & Trout would be proud of. Marketers will discover (actually, I think we’re already there) that inbound is just part of the mix and not a silver bullet. As a result, companies will, and are turning to outbound marketing thus the recent rise of account based marketing. In short, technology will continue to provide marketing unprecedented power and customization abilities, but the truly effective marketers will understand how to leverage this power and forge authentic, human connections through proper storytelling and positioning to break through the noise, add value and properly communicate their company’s offering in an ever crowded marketplace.
What are you most proud of accomplishing at CustomerGauge?
Well, I’m going to cheat and list a couple. First and foremost, I’m immensely proud of the team. They are a passionate, intelligent, and insanely motivated group that blows me away every single day. As long as I keep the office fully stocked with Cheese-itz, there is nothing we can’t accomplish!
A major watershed moment for CustomerGauge marketing this year was the launch of our new website www.customergauge.com & re-launch of www.npsbenchmarks.com—each a complete re-work of the previous sites from the ground up. Both were major passion projects with many late nights and countless cups of coffee, but ultimately, we think they were worth the effort. The new CG.com site drops a laser focus on our Monetized Net Promoter methodology and features some of our favorite promoters in the process. While the new NPSbenchmarks.com provides an open-source community for like minded Net Promoter enthusiasts to share best practices and compare benchmarks across industries.
Lastly, marketing often hears from our prospects that they have been running a Net Promoter program and are struggling to achieve organizational buy-in, act on the feedback, and ultimately prove the value of their program. Nothing is more rewarding to us than seeing these prospects educate themselves with our free material, reach out to one of our Net Promoter experts, and a year later be one of our biggest success stories.
Outside of work, what do you do for fun?
My wife and I have a three year old daughter and live about 45 minutes outside of the city. Our favorite activity lately is taking the kiddo down to the Boston Aquarium and checking out the ‘fishies’ then grabbing some great food for lunch. Outside of family activities, I sporadically play guitar in my band—not so much anymore since the little one has arrived, but we did manage to release a CD and a single…...<cue shameless self-promotion here and here>. I also attempt to grow backyard grapes on our 300+ vines and love reading a good non-fiction book or two whenever I find some extra time.