Sprinklr Advocates for Making Customers the Center of Our Universe



Sprinklr’s Grad Conn thinks the “customer universe” is shifting, and our approaches to interacting with customers need to shift as well.


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Believe it or not, it started with an astronomy lesson.

Sprinklr’s Chief Experience and Marketing Officer Grad Conn gave us a little more science than we bargained for, explaining how we as a society moved from a Ptolemaic view of the world (with the sun and moon rotating around a flat Earth), to a Copernican view (the Earth orbiting the sun, and a moon, in turn, orbiting the Earth).

“But did Copernicus really invent or discover anything?” Conn then asked the audience? Eventually, he got his answer: no. It was simply a shift in perception.

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The same is happening in the customer universe, he argues.

The Copernican Shift: Customers Get in on the Conversation

For decades, marketing has operated on a principle of centering our product, and letting the customer revolve around it. But a series of shifts in customer needs and power have shown marketers the truth: the customers are at the center, and we revolve around them. Methods of selling and marketing support this theory; whereas consumers previously responded to direct selling, mass direct sales, and then broadcasting, now the most successful marketers are engaging in conversation.

Communication doesn’t just move in one direction anymore, and the most successful brands are responding favorable to that power shift.

“Listen, Learn, Love.”

Has an ad you made ever elicited the reaction, “This is the best day of my life?” It’s admittedly a rare reaction. But an ad Sprinklr collaborated with Microsoft to deliver, got precisely that response from a prospect. Highly personalized ads, created from content the user had previously generated on their own, created the kind of delight that makes days. Getting to this place takes work, Conn shared. His philosophy: listen, learn, love. Listen to customers better, commit to really learning from what they share, and then love them in an authentic and surprising way so they can share love in return.

Using these methods in succession, and in a way that takes responsible advantage of the raw data that is shared with us, is the best way to capitalize on this seismic shift from broadcast to conversation. He shared an example of a candid picture at E3 – an attendee in an XBOX shirt, standing next to an attendee in a PlayStation shirt. With the candid photo and a little imagination, a compelling narrative was born: “love knows no console.” The image and the message behind it spread like wildfire, and it came from a brief observation and a bit of creativity.

Less Harassing, More Handshakes

In his closing minutes, Conn advocated strongly for leveraging channels in the way they’re meant to be used. If your strategy on social is to use it as a megaphone rather than a channel for conversation, you haven’t yet made the shift. Even in the case of B2B marketing, there are emotional elements involved in making these decisions; behaving as such, and interacting in a way that can capture that emotion, can win you business.

Sharing examples with Lyft, MasterCard, the University of Florida, and Burger King, Conn demonstrated time and again that the right conversational flourishes, deployed in a heartfelt fashion, can create fruitful connections that sales jargon or nudges to “download our whitepaper” simply don’t anymore.

An insightful audience question addressed the tension between the personalization it takes to do this work well, and heightened concerns about privacy amid scandals and general feelings of surveillance. Conn addressed it by sharing a few of his personal rules. One, if a post is public, it’s fair game to start a conversation. Two, when you develop a messaging relationship, it should start with care.

Most of us will engage in a conversation in good faith; if the overture is ignored, there’s no good reason to force it. “Make a connection with things people care about,” he urged. “Have fun, and be human.” It was an encouraging note to end the talk on; amidst increasing automation and artificial intelligence, the world hasn’t yet shifted away from authentic human connection.

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