Digital-First Leadership

Ep.43- Moving Customer Experience to the Digital Front with Lisa Apolinski with "The Most Amazing Marketing Book Ever"

July 18, 2023 Richard Bliss Episode 42
Digital-First Leadership
Ep.43- Moving Customer Experience to the Digital Front with Lisa Apolinski with "The Most Amazing Marketing Book Ever"
Show Notes Transcript

On this episode, Richard is joined by Lisa Apolinski, co-author of The Most Amazing Marketing Book Ever, along with Richard and over 30 other experts in marketing. Lisa shares her insights on the importance of customer experience in the digital world, emphasizing the need to make customer experiences personal and build trust through human connection. They discuss the risks of underestimating the power of micro-influencers and the impact of corporate culture on brand messaging. Tune in to this inspiring episode of Digital-First Leadership with Lisa Apolinski.

Richard shares a weekly LinkedIn tip through text message. Sign up by texting the hashtag LinkedIn to 415-534-9722. OR sign up for his weekly LinkedIn tip by texting the hashtag #LinkedIn to 415-534-9722. Stay updated on the latest changes and make the most out of your LinkedIn presence.

Lisa Apolinski wrote Chapter 6: Moving Customer Experience to the Digital Front in The Most Amazing Marketing Book Ever

Host: Richard Bliss

Guest: Lisa Apolinski

- Lisa's website at for additional resources.

Purchase The Most Amazing Marketing Book Ever

Podcast Manager: Kimberly Smith

Welcome to Digital First Leadership, the podcast that explores the essential principles and strategies for leading in the digital age. In this dynamic podcast series, we dive deep into the realm of digital leadership, equipping leaders and teams with the necessary tools to thrive in today's rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Richard Bliss [00:00:22]:

Welcome to the show. I'm your host, Rich Bliss. You're listening to Digital First Leadership, and I appreciate the emails, the LinkedIn messages, the text messages, all of the communication that I've received back from those of you who are listening. It's been great to be able to have that experience and interact with you as you've interacted with my content and the content that's coming from my guests. And I've got some great guests. But before we get started, one of the things I wanted to do is remind all of you that I put out a weekly LinkedIn tip. You can keep up to date all the changes, and here's the phone number. This is how you do it. You send the hashtag LinkedIn to the following phone number 415-534-9722. That phone number. It's not my cell phone number, and I appreciate those of you who regularly text me on it. But just be aware, I don't check it every moment. That will text the hashtag LinkedIn, and I will add you to my list. And every week, I'll send you a LinkedIn tip of what's changing with the algorithm and keeping you up to date. So I appreciate those hundreds of people who have already signed up, and we continue to grow. All right, today my guest is someone who technically we had never met, but we are co authors of the same book. I'm joined by Lisa Apelinski. Lisa, thanks for joining me.

Lisa Apolinski [00:01:44]:

Thank you. For sure. It's a pleasure to be here.

Richard Bliss [00:01:46]:

We are talking about the most amazing marketing book ever, right? We have our copy, TADA, and it was an experience and opportunity to be part of this. Mark Schaefer, a friend of both of ours, organized and brought together through a community over 30 authors to talk about a variety of different topics. And Lisa, your chapter. So each of us wrote a chapter. Your chapter I found fascinating, particularly because of our podcast, because I'm going to read it here. Moving customer experience to the digital front, which I really like because we talk about that a lot on the show. And let me introduce people to you by reading what's at the end of your chapter as an introduction. You okay with that?

Lisa Apolinski [00:02:27]:

Totally. Good.

Richard Bliss [00:02:28]:

Lisa Apelinski is a digital growth expert and speaker who has been dubbed by Forbes as America's digital content futurist. She's the author of several books, including Grow Your Market Share in a Zombie Apocalypse your Business Survival Guide, when the Unimaginable Happens. You can find out more about her and her agency at Three dog right now. Let me just spell that out. WW dot the number three Three dog, right. Did I get it, Lisa?

Lisa Apolinski [00:02:59]:

Yes, perfect.

Richard Bliss [00:03:00]:

Excellent. So what we're going to talk about is this idea that you mentioned here in your chapter of moving your customers to the digital front. Because in some ways the pandemic accelerated this. But this is kind of sometimes a challenge for a lot of customers, isn't it? Or it could be a lot of businesses, isn't it?

Lisa Apolinski [00:03:19]:

Oh, absolutely. It's surprising the number of even large Fortune 500s that still struggle with incorporating the digital experience into their customer experience. They still want to keep it separate. Thinking brick and mortar is one, or in person meetings is one. And then we'll just stick a website on the end and call it a day. And they are missing so many opportunities for community like we talked about, for conversation and for connection, which is important for people who want to actually sell in the world.

Richard Bliss [00:03:56]:

Yeah. And you identified something there, community. Because we came together through a micro community that was driven by Mark Schaefer, that is communities called Rise. We joined that. So tell me a little bit about how you came into the Rise community.

Lisa Apolinski [00:04:12]:

Sure. So I've known Mark, oh God, I think it's going on eight years now. We actually met when we were both speaking at another conference. And he is just someone that I absolutely admire. He to me is the gold standard of marketing, as I think we all agree. And I did his Uprising conference and then I found out about the Rise community on Discord. And I was know there's anyone I would go into Discord and get uncomfortable with that technology, it would be Mark. So I joined and it was amazing how in this group of I think there's several hundred people in there, this micro community developed and it was, hey, what if we wrote a book together? And it was like, wow, that's an interesting concept. And it just went from there. I mean, it's kind of unbelievable. And the fact that we have a finished product that know, number one new release on Amazon, not too shabby.

Richard Bliss [00:05:13]:

Yeah, that's pretty exciting because a lot of people had never written a book, had we're kind of a first time author. And so Mark did a great job of herding and shepherding all of us to that common goal.

Lisa Apolinski [00:05:25]:

And I have to say, even people like me know this is my fourth book. I have a fifth one coming out. I learned a so everybody was able to gain a lot of experience from that because Mark again has so much knowledge, such a depth and breadth of knowledge.

Richard Bliss [00:05:45]:

Well, and what this book is for those who aren't familiar, it's actually then diving in and tapping into the depth of knowledge on each individual specific person. So in your case, you've been a full service agency for a long time, but you recently have made a shift to, I think you referred to it as a niche of a niche. So that shift is kind of indicative of what's happening, isn't it?

Lisa Apolinski [00:06:09]:

Yes, absolutely. So I've had my agency for over eleven years, and things have been great. I came from Fortune 500 companies. That's what I'm used to just delving into their issues. And I noticed a shift about a year ago, and I resisted it. I was paddling furiously against the tide, trying to stay in a certain spot for the sake of just doing so. And once I realized that things had shifted and I actually should be looking at content and how business owners and executives use their content for business development, which is something that I not only do every single day, and I have for eleven years, eleven plus years, it's something I had already been teaching my clients. And I thought, this is where the need truly is. They don't need another person to help them build a website. Not that I'm saying that's not important, but so many resources out there. This, I felt, was an area where I could be relentlessly helpful.

Richard Bliss [00:07:20]:

And let's talk about that shift that you're referring to, to be specific around this concept of content and coaching these leaders, teams, and businesses on content. So talk about that shift. It went from where websites we've got, and putting content on a blog, a website, to the shift that you are now talking about. What's that shift look like?

Lisa Apolinski [00:07:40]:

So the shift that I've done is I've taken the Fodder and the framework that I had already been teaching and made it into a full, interactive, intensive, hands on and results oriented program. So my clients that come in, they will need either assistance with their strategy, how they reach people, how they go to market, how they're positioning their personal brand, how they're dealing with their customer experience, how they are creating brand ambassadors, how they are using PR and podcasts and interviews. And this program meets them where they are right now. It is maybe 15 to 20 minutes of our weekly calls about a framework. And then we actually get into the nitty gritty and we create together whether it's a strategy, social media, posts, content for the website, rewriting something, helping with podcast, interviews, whatever it is. But every single week they move that needle. At the end of the 90 days, their content is transformed. And they've learned all of the strategies and tricks that I use to be able to use content as their business development tool. So they stop doing dumb ass marketing activity, questionable ROI?

Richard Bliss [00:09:03]:

Sure. And we see that all the time, is that the content just like they just keep doing it because that's the way they've always done it and unaware of the changes. Now, one of the things that you identify in your chapter, which I found fad, there are several things that I found fascinating, and I wanted to ask you about several of them. But as you move the customer experience to the digital front, there were a couple of things that you identified, one I felt was interesting and I wanted to explore this. And that was as you move a customer to the digital front, you identify point number eight that corporate culture matters more than you think. Now, I got to tell you, when you read that at the first blush, it's like, how in the world could my corporate culture have anything to do with the digital interaction that my customers are having with my brand and my company?

Lisa Apolinski [00:09:52]:

Yes, and I actually mentioned it in an earlier comment too, so I didn't realize the weight that I put on corporate culture and I'm like, yeah, that kind of makes sense. So the reason why your corporate culture and the employees that you have that are representing you and your brand are so critical, it's this idea of what kind of a community are you trying to develop? And how is your brand purpose and the reason why you exist being put out into the universe via all of these employees? Corporate culture drives that. When you think about when you started your business and what you were hoping to achieve and there's a pureness to it. There's this belief in good things like rainbows and the government and all those things and there's this desire to be helpful and to solve, to be a partner and to have solutions. How are you making sure that the employees that you work with, the vendors that you work with also reflect that intensity? That passion for serving your community through knowledge, through being known, and through being relentlessly helpful and who you hire is just as important as what they're selling. If you are not looking at your community and your immunities can be various things, right? It's not just all the prospects or all the clients that get together. It's the employees that I have. It's the vendors that I have. It's the support systems that I have. All of those things impact how your customer sees you, how you show up and the experience they have from that. And everyone has a cell phone right now. So how are you being seen not only on social media but with video and with comments and all of that, all of that contributes to how someone is going to see you. And your know, I hate to beat up these, you know, elon Musk and Twitter, a lot of good people left and now the experience, if you are even on Twitter anymore, it's not as good. And now Meta is taking advantage of that and is about to launch a new product that's going to compete and a lot of people are looking at that and huh, maybe I should move over there off of Twitter. It had nothing to do know, it had everything to do with that corporate culture and that shift in corporate culture now, it doesn't mean that it can't shift back but it does have a seismic impact, these small decisions that we make.

Richard Bliss [00:12:57]:

Yeah. And in Elon's Musk, there were some pretty major decisions. And the Twitter experiment will be interesting because as we talk about community, we recognize that community can't exist by yourself. And so unless everybody in my community moves, then I am hesitant to make that move myself. So Twitter being a perfect example. That one of the things it has going for it is it's Twitter, right? I'm on Twitter. Why would I get rid of my Twitter account? It's like, yeah, I might not use it as often, but somebody who mastodon being the perfect example, everybody's like, oh, let's go over to mastodon. Okay. But unless everybody goes over and when I mean everybody, the news channels that I follow for the weather and for why there's a helicopter over my head to what's happening in the world sports teams, I go there for my news.

Lisa Apolinski [00:13:53]:


Richard Bliss [00:13:54]:


Lisa Apolinski [00:13:55]:

And that's where those micro influencers come in, micro communities. And those micro influencers, it's no longer just about the larger community, it's the smaller sub communities within that can also move things along. Right. So if you start seeing other micro communities moving, or your micro community moving, that's definitely going to impact your decision on where you invest your digital dollars and your digital time within your customer experience.

Richard Bliss [00:14:27]:

It really comes to trust on so many of these, which is one reason yeah. Where do I trust? Not trust that they're going to tell me the truth, but just trust that that's going to be there, that it's going to work, that I can connect. One thing that you said about these influencers in your chapter also was the idea of moving the customer experience to the digital front, that your customers becoming micro influencers. I can't remember the term here. I could look it up. You called it turn customers yeah. Into micro influencers. What was the thought behind that?

Lisa Apolinski [00:15:03]:

I mean, there's always going to be people that kind of drive our behavior. There are always going to be people that we look at, we've talked about Mark Schaefer that help us to think about what we're doing and the choices that we make. I believe that a lot of these major influencers and that kind of reach people are starting to question, well, what's the driving force behind that? Is it revenue? Or are they actually trying to show up for their community for good? And that's where I believe this shift into micro influencing is happening. These smaller groups that are within these communities that are still aligned with the overall brand purpose. But maybe they've tweaked it a little. Maybe it's that brand purpose within a brand purpose where there's an additional thing that this subgroup is passionate about and want to see change. And if you're not paying attention to the micro influencers within your community, you're going to have, in my mind two major obstacles. Number one. If you're not making sure that the micro influencers understand your brand purpose, they will reimagine it and turn it into something else. And that can be good, and that can also be horrible, depending on what they change it into.

Richard Bliss [00:16:28]:

Absolutely right. Go ahead.

Lisa Apolinski [00:16:31]:

Yeah. And then the second thing is, do they fully understand if they are behind the brand purpose? Do they fully understand it and are able to articulate it to their sub communities? I look at it as you have your federal government and then you have local municipalities. The stuff that happens at the local level can absolutely impact all the way up. It's the same idea within these communities. If you don't pay attention to what's happening within your micro influencers, you could actually lose control of your brand messaging and your brand purpose, and it can go wildly outside of what you had envisioned, or you're missing opportunities for people to be your mouthpiece and to share their experiences with your brand. Because it's not about what you're selling. I'm going to say that again. It is not about what you are selling. It is about the results that people believe they're going to get by using your products and services. It's that future state. That's what they're paying for.

Richard Bliss [00:17:43]:

Yeah. That brand that you're talking about, of taking control of your brand, your message out there, or to somebody else know, it's a very personal story for me because I tell people, look, I'm from Olympia, Washington. I mentioned that to you right before we got on the recording. My brother John happened to live where you live in Arizona. And I'm in the tech industry, and I used to live in San Diego before I moved here to San Jose. Well, those are all, like, not really private, but just like okay. Except unless you google it. If you Google Richard Bliss San Diego, you'll get a very interesting LinkedIn hit at the very top. That Richard Bliss from Olympia, Washington, living in San Diego in the tech industry, has been arrested in Russia as a spy. And his brother John is in the press quoting, saying, Richard is not a spy. Well, that's all true. That's all true because there are two Richard Blisses from Olympia, Washington in the tech industry living in San Diego with a brother named Just. My mother called me, where are you? I mean, that was the first thing she said. I said hello. She's like, Where are you? I'm like, I'm not in Russia, okay? I'm not in Russia. But that's a very personal experience that I've had where if I don't take control of my own narrative, something or someone else will. Now, the last thing we want to touch on is this idea of making it personal. When you talk about moving experience to the forefront, that digital for your customers. Let's talk about that. You heard my personal side of that. What do you mean by making it personal?

Lisa Apolinski [00:19:21]:

What I mean by making it personal is thinking about the human to human contact. It doesn't mean that you have to divulge everything about you everywhere in the digital world, right? But what it is about is adding in stories. Whether it's your origin story, how you started your business or client stories that help other people relate to they can get from where they are now to where they want to go and this other person did it. And I can see myself in the story which means I can see myself working with you to succeed. That's what I mean by personal. I hate the term and I hate it. I hate the term B to B. I hate the term B to C because you are purchasing from people. You purchase from people you know and trust. People to people, person to person. If you want to put some kind of a wall or veil or something glass between you and your customers you're missing that human interaction and that connection that's again where that community helps to build that trust and connection. It's not about divulging every personal aspect of you and every secret you have available but it is around showing that human interaction and human nature so that they can see themselves working with you. They can see that you are investing in the relationship which you can do by providing knowledge and thought leadership and being relentlessly helpful whether or not they become a client in a day or a decade. Simply by showing up and looking at how can I serve my community first and foremost and then I can see how I can help solve their problems. Whether it's purchasing my products as solutions, whether it's working with me or for me or me connecting them with someone else in the community that can help them. That's really what I mean by being personal. It's not about here's my mailing address and here's it's not about that. But if you whitewash everything then you are living in a sea of sameness and all you can talk about are your products and services and the features and benefits and that is a MeToo strategy and MeToo strategies have never worked. It is a race to the bottom in terms of price. That's the only thing you can differentiate when you actually talk about solutions and that future state of success. You're now talking about the value that you provide to your community and to your prospects and that's a very different conversation.

Richard Bliss [00:22:13]:

It really is. And a lot of executives leadership today, they struggle with that. They've hidden behind press releases and marketing speak and that type of thing. And so this idea of putting their personal voice out there is a challenge and it's something that we continue to see growth happening. It's a huge opportunity for growth.

Lisa Apolinski [00:22:29]:

Yeah. And it's not only that the executives struggle with it. Their board of directors might feel like I'm losing control over this executive, even though that executive has a fantastic personal brand story. It's something they could leverage to help elevate their entire community and their business, but they want to control it somehow. We're in a time right now where if you think you're in control of your customer experience and the digital experience, you're not. You're just not. You haven't been in control in quite some time. Hate to tell you it was pre pandemic. You just didn't recognize it, and it's more so now. You have to let go of some of that control, and that's where that corporate culture comes in. Can you trust your employees to show up, show up professionally and share their personal stories and have that human interaction and not have it be detrimental to your business?

Richard Bliss [00:23:31]:

Lisa, this has been great. I certainly appreciate you taking the time to share some of your insights to talk about what you're able to do at Three Dog, right? And this idea of content, coaching, content, helping teams and organizations understand how to put that digital experience out there for their customers. Thank you so much for joining me.

Lisa Apolinski [00:23:51]:

Thank you for having me. Richard. This was awesome.

Richard Bliss [00:23:53]:

You've been listening to Digital First Leadership. I've been your host, Richard Bliss, and our guest has been Lisa Apolinsky, who's been talking about this idea of customers experience in the digital world and putting it out front. And again, Lisa can be found at WW dot. The number three Three dog, right. I wanted to say Three Dog Night. You almost got me on that one, Lisa. That's how we thank you for listening. And again, for those of you who wanted to get the text tips on LinkedIn, every week, it's 415-534-9722. Just text me. Hashtag LinkedIn. I'll send you an automatic response, and then every week I'll send you a message that won't be automated, and we'll get that out to you. Thanks for listening. I always find something inspiring from our guests and that today has been no different, so hopefully you have as well. Thanks for listening again, take care.

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