Of the marketing leaders surveyed in Salesforce’s “State of Marketing” report, 68% are competing on customer experience. While it’s debatable what makes a good, or even perfect, customer experience, the core of this thought puts the customer at the center of all marketing strategies.

In short, the customer holds the power, not the marketer.

To some marketers, this idea may seem scary, but to many of us who accept this, we’re figuring out just how many doors this actually opens for the marketing industry. When it comes to competing on customer experience, we’re shifting how we approach every interaction from promotional to personal.

Why Shift?


People don’t want pushy ads.


Notice that we’re talking about “pushy” ads, not all ads in general. We’re referring to ads that blatantly disrupt fluid customer experiences. With digital ad spending skyrocketing toward $83 billion in 2017 and $129.23 billion in 2021, it’s no wonder that “the main reason that customers block online ads is that they are getting in the way of the customer’s chosen experience.”


People want video.


Marketers’ usage of video advertising has grown 141% from 2015 to 2017. Marketers are clearly understanding its value — how captivating and convincing it can be in a customer’s journey.

But it’s not just video advertising that’s blowing up — it’s distinctive video content.

Facebook plans to invest $1 billion in original video content. Apple is doing the same. And Amazon is already deep in the mix with 16 Emmy nominations in both 2016 and 2017.

Even outside of these giant tech companies investing in original content, look at what companies like REI, Red Bull, and other recognizable brands are up to in the world of original video content. Simply put, video is winning consumers over.

How to Shift


Home in on a narrower audience.


The more the merrier, right? While many marketers tend to focus on broad reach, that’s not always the best option. The power of a loyal audience, especially an audience of diehard advocates, shouldn’t be underestimated.

If you narrow your focus on a smaller group of powerful, influential, fervent followers, there’s a good chance you’ll start to see them spread your message without you doing all the legwork. You’ll also reap the benefits of retaining customers.

Check out our webinar for more tips on creating brand champions within a narrower audience.


Produce educational content.


People want to learn the whats, hows, and whys — they want to understand your value. What better way to show your value than to offer useful, engaging, educational content?

We repeat: useful and engaging.

Not: impractical and salesy.

“There are 500M views of learning-related content on YouTube every day,” according to Think with Google. That’s an ever-changing and ever-growing audience that brands can tap into immediately.

For inspiration, check out two brands absolutely killing it with educational content: Investopedia (with 10+ free email newsletters or its own paid Investopedia Academy if that’s not enough) and GE (with its fun, timely social strategy).


Turn your audience into a community.


People might consume content individually (think solo Netflix watching on a Friday night), but our inherent nature as social beings is to share content itself and opinions about content in like-minded communities.

Ever been on Reddit? The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” is a place to share and comment on content from across the web.

Apple User Groups “offer members the chance to become friends with other Apple product users, get questions answered and have a lot of fun.”

Twitch is a giant community of over 2.2 million unique content creators (not including all the viewers) built around video game culture. (At the time of writing this, there were 73,988 viewers watching a live stream of Destiny 2, and that’s just one game.)

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Salesforce Success Community of around 2.8 million strong.

We’re just scratching the surface of companies who have built communities around great content. The thing is, communities like these — especially ones running on mostly user-generated content — can amass a loyal following.