This article comes from Sara Steffen’s talk, ‘Strategically approaching reference activities & tailoring customer experiences’, at our Las Vegas 2023 Customer Marketing Summit, check out her full talk here.

Engaging with customers is not just about transactional exchanges; it's about curating a journey, an experience. With this article, I hope to shine a light on how to approach reference activities strategically and tailor experiences that keep customers coming back!

Before we begin though, let me give you a brief overview of my journey. I spent a good decade at Cisco, where I worked in numerous roles, before finally finding my calling leading the customer marketing team.

Joining Nutanix five years ago, I continued to focus on customer marketing, which expanded to a broader customer experience role. Today, I manage a team focused on customer marketing, advisory boards, user groups, and our Nutanix University, making it a thoroughly customer-oriented team.

I can safely say that over the years I've learned a thing or two about shaping customer experiences and building brands. I'm truly passionate about the potential that lies in customizing activities and meeting customers exactly where they are on their journeys. After all, each customer is unique, and their journey should reflect this individuality.

So today, I am thrilled to share some insights I’ve learned along the way on how we approach reference activities and tailor our customer experiences. We'll dive into four key strategies for success, customizing activities for our customers, building personal brands, avoiding the Do Not Call list, and measuring our progress from a customer perspective.

So, grab a coffee and settle in for a hopefully enriching discussion on all things customer experience!

  1. Customizing the experience
  2. Building customers' personal brands
  3. Avoiding the "Do Not Call" list
  4. Measuring progress

Customizing the experience

The key to successful customer engagement lies in meeting them where they are in their journey and providing them with a personalized experience.

I’ll give you two examples of our approaches to two distinct experiences that were hugely successful because of our tailoring to their exact needs, characteristics, and goals.

So the first one is Isaiah Nathaniel, the CIO of Delaware Valley Health, who came to our attention right when COVID hit, and he had to transition his team to remote work within a day. Thanks to Nutanix's technology, he managed to do that seamlessly, so he became a great advocate for us.

We cultivated this strong relationship with Isaiah by aligning with his ambition to build his personal brand and his desire to be an industry leader in the healthcare space. So by giving him the platform to do that, he's been a fantastic and enthusiastic partner, consistently engaging with us for over three years.

The Wounded Warrior Project, another one of our customers, on the other hand, was more reserved, declining multiple offers for events or videos. So instead, we took a different approach, coming to them with a GivingTuesday opportunity, allowing them to maintain their narrative while promoting their connection to Nutanix.

By customizing this approach and appealing to their position as a non-profit, we made charitable giving the driving force in this relationship.