Call us spoiled. All kinds of products endure an ever-compressed race to market. Never mind the modern marvel of technology it may be. It still has to be absolutely right.

Our tolerance for failure is low. Back in 2013, James Surowiecki suggested in The New Yorker’s “Requiem for a Dreamliner?” that it wasn’t that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s initial issues were so bad. Especially when compared with the launch challenges of other historic aircraft. But it was that our standards have so radically changed. That dissonance between reality and expectations has only widened.

Expectation of Perfection

This zero tolerance for product refinement extends to services and customer communication, too. The bar keeps getting raised. And are we keeping up?

Customers today expect customization. Suggestions informed by past purchases. Record-keeping that facilitates interactions. Fill out a form once and you’re done. Click, order and a quality product soon lands on your doorstep.

If it’s not just what you wanted, slap on a preprinted return label and away it goes. And all along the way, receive updates on orders. Thank you’s for your business. Enjoy anytime-anywhere access to information. All on a first-name basis.

Our patience for businesses without this institutional memory and high level of execution is low. And dropping lower.

Automation to the Rescue

Technology got us here, and it’s our only way out. Automating your communications requires identifying customer engagement points, then coordinating and leveraging efforts to make those interactions as perfect and painless as possible.

Here’s a checklist of actions to take if you haven’t already.

  • Link sales and marketing departments.
  • Improve your lead quality by enhancing what goes in.
  • Invest in a clean, updated, targeted database.
  • Rank leads with a clear, numeric methodology.
  • Identify conversion points on your website.
  • Use responsive design to auto adjust to the media (smartphone, tablet, desktop).
  • Generate inbound leads rather than relying on buying email lists.
  • Schedule emails for timed outreach.
  • Nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content.
  • Use auto emails for responses triggered to an action.
  • Set up online listening and aggregation tools.
  • Monitor analytics and adjust efforts accordingly.
  • Budget for ongoing refinement and enhancement.
  • Deliver magic that’s also reliable and replicable.


Emphasize Long-term Over Quick Fixes

Take your best marketing practices and apply them to how you approach automating your marketing communications campaigns and digital customer touchpoints. Ramp up your speed of execution while reinforcing your commitment to the customer – and to getting it right. You can do it.

This column ran in the September 13th issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.