Episode #138: Why Values, Identity, and Moments Matter

Today is all about VIM and vigor. Well, maybe not the “vigor” part. But definitely VIM. It stands for Values, Identity, and Moments. And it’s a different way to connect with your customers in order to find the people you should be talking to. The signals are out there. All you need to do is look for them.

Plus, a quick review of my amazing customer experience at a venerable, New York retail establishment.

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Welcome to the unified CXM Experience. And as always, I am Grad Conn, CXO, Chief Experience Officer at Sprinklr, and here today with a solo run, talking about values, identity, and moments. I’m actually really looking forward to this. This is something I have been working on for a while. I did it as a keynote presentation for one of our customers, a really large real estate company based in Germany and just did that a couple of days ago and got some very good reactions. I was told the examples I used were ‘gangsta’. So, never actually have been described as ‘gangsta’ before, but I’ll take that, but I think it was pretty cool. I definitely loved that. And I’m going to talk about that a little bit.

I’m just going to spend two minutes before I get into that, just relaying a retail story. I had a pretty interesting experience the other day in a physical retail store. I don’t know if you can tell or not, but I’m on a new mic. I am setting up sort of a new kind of podcasting studio, in my office in New York, now that we’re back in the office. So that’s been kind of fun. It’s a little bit of a weird experience. I actually did come back in the office quite a bit through the pandemic, but then come November, sort of left town went to Florida and didn’t come back. So haven’t been here for almost a year, roughly. And it’s strange coming back, it’s almost like you’re in an alien world. And you’re walking into these buildings abandoned by some past civilization, and they’ve left everything behind, and you’re sort of resettling into their stuff. It’s, it’s a very, very strange feeling. I am, I think, alone in the office today, but I am in the office, and it is great to be here. So, part of what I’m doing is I’m leaving a setup in Florida. So that’s what you’ve been hearing me on for the last six to eight months. I’ve got a setup in Long Island, which you would have heard me on last summer. And this is a new setup, and I’ve got a brand-new mic.

I actually thought I was going to be buying a Rode NT-USB. But I had a really great salesperson who showed me a Shure mic, which is called an MV7. And the Shure mic is pretty fancy and is directional, not compression based. And so, the directional microphones pick up less noise. Like right now for example, there’s a pile of cars in a traffic jam on 35th Street here in New York, literally freaking out and honking their horns nonstop and I don’t think you can really hear it. So, I’m fairly excited to have this new mic. And where I bought it is a place called B&H Photo Video. And I don’t know if you’ve been to B&H, it’s a pretty famous store in New York, they’ve got a website, which is https://www.bhphotovideo.com. And it’s a great store, reminds me a little bit of kind of a cleaner, more pulled together version of Fry’s, if you’re a Fry’s fan. And they’ve got this amazing system, which is that when you order, you order from a salesperson, they do have some stuff you can get off the shelves, but anything that’s expensive, or you know, over a certain amount of dollars, you have to talk to a salesperson, the salesperson puts the order in, and then there’s a warehouse somewhere upstairs, where they fulfill the order and they put it in a box and the boxes all move around on these conveyor belts. And so, once you place your order, this conveyor belt system moves your order around, gets it filled, then you get a printout and you go to the cash desk, you pay for it, and then they give it to you – an amazing way to reduce breakage, but also incredibly cool. It’s like standing in the middle of a train set with these little boxes moving around overhead the whole time. It is really cool. And they’ve got a really great history of their team and staff. And they have a great philosophy which is they believe in making customers not sales. So, they believe that they’ve perfected the art of the downsell, will always recommend the best options based on your specific needs rather than the price tag. The Art of the Downsell – very, very interesting. And they are a family-owned business right here in New York City. And they have nearly half a million items in stock every day. There’s a picture of their upstairs warehouse on their website. And it’s really mind blowing what they’ve got going there. So, if you’re in town, if you’re in New York and you want to have a great experience, go to B&H. And we’ll see how we like this mic. But so far, I’ve been pretty happy with it.

So, let’s go and talk about values, identity, and moments. And so, I’ve been working on this idea for a while, which is, how do you actually market in the 21st century, we’ve talked a lot about mass marketing being over, or at least being a secondary item. We’ve talked about event-based marketing. So how do you trigger against something that someone does, like, visit a website or something like that? We talked a tiny bit about life-stage marketing, which is: I changed something in my life, I signal it, bought a new house, having a baby, need a car, that kind of stuff. And we’ve talked very little, but maybe just glancingly, about life-cycle marketing, which is when someone’s in your franchise, how do you understand the next best product for them based not just on what they purchased in their transactions, but also on who they are life stages, signals, and events, etc. And each of those stages requires increasing levels of customer intimacy and increasing levels of data management, and in a 21st century context, though, I think a lot of people are challenged because everyone’s broken off into all these multiple channels. And so, the mass stuff is very hard to make work. And what you really need to do is identify people, find them, and connect with them.

And so, we’ve come up with this model called VIM. VIM is also a wonderful product from Henkel, one of our great customers. But I’m going to use the VIM acronym, because I can remember, it sounds kind of fun and easy. And VIM stands for values, identity, and moments. And let me just kind of go through this for a second. So, values. So, humans broadcast their values to establish identity, and to connect with others who share the same values. If you think about how people work, people want to be connected to and talking to people who are like them, and who share ideas with them. And so, if you were to, say just look at something like, say sustainability, or sustainable housing, there were 75,000 people talking about that in the last week; nontraditional families, there are 18,000 discussions about that in the last week; flexible scheduling, 32,000 people talking about that in the last week. When you’re a company that’s got values, when your company that’s got values that you want to market against, you can find them. People talk about their values online; they like to talk about their values online. So, values marketing, is an interesting concept. And we’ll talk more about that, as I build out this model with you.

Second thing is identity. So, one of the things that’s really cool about the world we live in today is that people have their identities. We know who people are, we know what people like to talk about, who they think they are, who they identify as. It’s very interesting to see LinkedIn, having now pronouns after your name. So, I’ve picked my pronouns and put them after my name in LinkedIn. And if you want to see what they are, you can go check me out on LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/Grad Conn). And so, if you’re thinking about identity, how do you work against people’s identity? One of the things that works really well is, when you do an ad, talk to them. There are many people, particularly Xbox and a few other great advertisers, who do ads targeted against the individual. So, they use their handle right in the ad, right in the ad, they use their handle, and they’ll use pictures right from their stream. So, when people look at this ad, they’ll see themselves, they’ll see their name or their handle, and they’ll know that the brain is talking right to them. So don’t be afraid to leverage identity, particularly when it’s the public identity that people have broadcast out.

And then finally, moments, and moments is actually one of my favorite things and has been for a really long time. I’ve always loved the idea not of selling the product to someone, but of helping solve a problem for someone. So, if I am, you know, having a new baby, I’ve got a problem. I’m running out of room; I probably need a new house. I probably need a new car; I’m probably going to need a lot of stuff. And what’s interesting to me is very few companies target the moments. But yet, what’s fascinating is that people broadcast the moments almost more than anything else. For example, take a look at pregnancy and childbirth. There were 149,000 mentions of that this last week. So,149,000 people are having a baby, and that’s 149,000 – I don’t have enough room in my house; 149,000 – I need a bigger car; 149,000 – probably, I probably need to get a minivan; 149,000 – I need a bunch of stuff for the baby. And the list goes on. And I actually think that there’s a really untapped level of potential in this life-stage marketing. And what’s amazing about all the networks we live on now is this is what people are broadcasting. Promotions are another one; people talk about their promotions a lot. In fact, in new jobs and promotions, there were 30,000 people talking about that. All those people are thinking about, “How do I show I got promoted? What’s a way to show off? Do I need a new watch? Do I need a new car?” You know, “Do I need a new suit? Do I need a new dress?” What is the thing that says that I got promoted, that people go, “Wow, that looks great”?

And so, marketing against these three things, marketing against values, marketing against identity, and marketing against moments, they’re ways of connecting with people, and connecting with people who are outbound talking about these things. It’s a different way of marketing. We’re used to the broadcast model, which is more passive, where we blast our message everywhere, and we hope someone picks it up. In this new model, in the VIM model, what you’re doing is you’re actually finding the people who you think do want to talk to you, essentially looking for the people at the cocktail party that you think will be interesting. And then you’re going to them, approaching them, and saying, “Hey, congratulations on the new baby”, “Do you need a new house?” It’s a really different way of doing things and a pretty exciting one as well. So, for the CXM Experience, I’m Grad Conn, CXO at Sprinklr. We’re going to talk more about these ideas over the next few weeks. But for now, I’ll see you … next time.