It’s All in The Shoes-01

It’s All in The Shoes

This post is part of our Future of Marketing program – a series of private events where top thought-leaders share their ideas and insights on helping you understand how marketing and branding change the conversations about growth, culture and customer experiences.


It was a great experience for me to be at this year’s Future of Marketing.  I had the chance to personally meet many new people and really enjoyed the interaction and  great questions.

Let’s be honest: change is very hard.  But, you should be congratulated for beginning this journey to becoming “customer crazy.”  Now the trick is how to make it come to life every day.

You’ve got four huge priorities:

  • Deliver a great customer experience
  • Grow
  • Drive profitability higher
  • Build your V Team culture into a competitive advantage

I submit that these are much more than words; they are a serious corporate commitment to building a better business future for every customer and employee.

As part of this transformation you are being called to “focus outward on the customer.”  Sounds easy, but we all know how hard that can be. Customers can be irrational, unruly, uncooperative, and even dishonest.  Remember the George Quiz? But, they are still the boss!

This is where the Customer CEO nine powers we reviewed come in.  By being “tuned in” to these critical customer needs, you can begin to realign your attitudes and actions.  But, it’s hard to embody one new thing much less nine, isn’t it?  So here’s the key takeaway I would like you to most remember: a pair of shoes.

It doesn’t really matter what kind of shoes you conjure up, whether they are Converse red high tops or the slightly more expensive Jimmy Choo’s.  Just focus on the shoes, specifically your customer’s shoes.  Imagine swapping your shoes with those of your customers.  Then, walk in them for while.

Are they too tight?

Really comfortable?

Too loose?

Worn out?

If these shoes could tell the story of their owner, what would it be?

What path has your customer walked to decide to be a customer?

Obviously, these shoes are a simple metaphor to help you be more aware of your customers’ needs.  Your customers want you to develop more empathy for what they are really going through in their hectic lives.  Sometimes all it really takes is a little understanding.  By the time they have the time to walk into a Verizon store or sit on hold with a call center, all they want is help to do the jobs they are really trying to get done.   But you can’t really help them if you don’t take the time or opportunity to understand them better.

Use the shoes as a visual cue to stop thinking of your customers as mere subs.  Subs are statistics.  Your customers are people!  And never forget, they are your Customer CEO.

Chuck Wall_Hand Drawn HeadshotChuck Wall is a Knowledge and Strategy Adviser. He is the author of “Customer CEO: How to Profit from the Power of Your Customers“. He blogs and speaks about strategic business growth, customer insight, and marketing.  You can follow Chuck on Twitter @customerceo and LinkedIn

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