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I recently heard a marketing executive talk about the art of persuasion. The person emphasized the need to convince customers why they need their product. For me personally, it felt as if we were trying to trick people.

Persuasion is only necessary if one or more of the following occurs:

1. Your business level strategy is unknown or there is misalignment.
2. Your products and services do not provide value.
3. Your competitive position is weakening or changing customer needs are making you irrelevant.

In sum, using persuasion is only needed if the business has failed at its primary responsibility, which is to create a relevant and sustainable value proposition in the marketplace.

Let’s banish persuasion with a shift in mindset towards a Total Customer Experience.

Want to learn more?

 Come hear my talk on November 18th at the Smart Seminar on Globalization in Santa Clara. Seating is limited for this Medialocate-sponsored event. If you are interested in attending the invitation-only seminar, please contact Ann Day at annday@medialocate.com.

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I’ve been pleased to see the creative ways new SaaS solutions are being marketed recently. Notably, marketers are doing a better job at making their users feel valued from the moment they register for a service. Less and less I’m receiving blaring “buy now” offers. For me personally, this has resulted in deeper levels of engagement with their products, and I find myself evangelizing their brands much more than in the past.

Past pioneering efforts included Google’s Gmail, which allowed access by invitation only. I remember feeling somewhat special when my friend selected me to be an early user of their email system. Anther example of good marketing leading to engagement occurred when I recently signed up for Evernote, which is like Post-It Notes on steroids. Once I logged into my free account, my dashboard showed a “current monthly usage” bar. This gracefully implemented indicator reminded me that my free account is a gift and that it has its limits. What I like about these marketing approaches is that they encourage me to personally use or share the product with others without such overt advertising that I typically tune out.

What excites me more is where this will go next. Although the previous examples encouraged me to engage and share, they were still only one-way communications from the company to me.  The really savvy SaaS Marketers out there are changing the dialogue to a more equitable two-way communication model such as my new favorite online back up and file sharing service, Drop Box. After signing up for a free two-gig account, they offered me 250 Megs of extra storage just for attending their training class. Wow, paying me to learn their product? Awesome. Then, they tell me that I can invite up to 3 friends and get 250 Megs for each acceptance. Now I’m hooked. Needless to say, it took me less than 2 days to pester 3 friends into trying the product. And at least one of them is now an avid user as well. What I find so smart about Drop Box is that they have figured out a credible way to reward people for learning their product and inviting new members.  Maybe more importantly, they have found equity on their side for giving out these rewards.

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