The ability to form closer customer relationships, stay at the forefront of market trends, and create competitive differentiation comes at a critical time for marketing organizations across all industries. In today’s competitive world, there are too many companies competing in an environment where there are not enough customers. This is especially true for high-tech and information technology companies where technology advancement occurs at a rapid pace. Now, more than ever, marketing organizations must create clear differentiation by tapping into new streams of customer, market, and competitive data made available from external sources like the public web. We’ve proven that when this is done with some discipline, exceptional results can be achieved.
We’ve seen how a large marketing organization’s ability to discover, synthesize, and act upon public web data can have a direct and tangible impact on their marketing strategy. I’ve had the good fortune to work with HP and other large brands in my career, and they all grapple with the same issue: they are drowning in a sea of data, all made possible by the public web and social media. I’ve realized that in order to see tangible results from social media listening (read: glean actionable insight), technology alone only gets you so far. When combining technology with human analysis, however, quantifiable value can be realized.
The problem with using social media listening technology as a standalone solution is its inability to automatically provide the in-depth analysis that a human is capable of providing. For example, we worked with a major sports team who wanted to increase social media engagement amongst women. A listening platform may provide data about what content women are engaging online, but it will not offer the strategy needed to glean more engagement. Human analysis needs to be conducted in order to understand and digest certain demographic data trends, interpret the underlying reason for engagement, and develop specific social media strategies that will better target and engage female audiences. In other words, the platform only gets you so far. The interpretation and analysis that takes a market research approach to understanding the data combined with the tool (technology) is necessary to glean insight.
We often forget that business, like life, is merely a series of decisions. The success of a company can be directly related to the worth of the decisions made by its employees; this is particularly true for marketing teams. By combining social media listening technology with human analysis, it is possible to take a complex data set now available online and categorize and synthesize it to identify key themes, influential voices, and conversation share. Companies now have access to a vast data set provided by the public web. The opportunity, then, is to convert this data into actionable insight that is directly linked to marketing processes to drive business outcomes.

This is a blog about a journey: a journey from being the customer of an IT Solutions Provider to servicing the customer. A journey about taking my perceived thoughts and ideas about the way I should have been treated as a customer and turning them into an action plan or template for the way I now treat my customers.
Background:
I am a college graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. In my 20 years in the IT industry, I have had a number of different titles – End User Support Specialist, Network Administrator, Sr. Systems Engineer, IT Manager – all with 3 companies. I did a 5 year stint with Company A in the Legal Profession in Ohio, and I served 15 years with Company B in the Financial Sector in Las Vegas.
Over the years, I have always wondered what it would be like to work for a vendor. I was curious about the ability to engage a wider range of technology, more in depth than the “in-house” IT professional usually experiences. In fact, I had multiple offers over the years; but Company B was a great place to work, so I never left.
During the early parts of 2014, I felt things were getting stale with Company B; so I got serious about a career change. I had a great relationship with Zunesis as a customer, so I explored employment opportunities with them. There was an immediate need and fit. In a few short weeks, I signed on with Zunesis; and after a nice week and a half vacation in California with my family, I started a new career.
Zunesis IT Solutions ProviderI had been the main contact for IT vendors for Company B. I have experienced all sorts of sales people:

  • The quiet type who let their products do the talking,
  • The boisterous type who think wining and dining is the way to close a sale (which I never complained about),
  • The “inside” sales guy who is constantly calling just because I had asked for a quote,
  • The “BFF,” that is, as long as there is a pending sale,
  • And, finally, the good ones who handle the relationship the way you ask them to and put the “Customer First.”

I have also experienced all types of engineers:

  • The “Of course I will come to Vegas and help you, stay out all night playing blackjack, and fall asleep in the conference room the next day,” type (not kidding),
  • The “I know everything about everything,” type,
  • And the good ones who are thorough, concise, and do what they say they are going to do. Again, the ones who put the “Customer First.”

As a customer I have experienced several types of sales people and engineers; this experience will help shape the type of Solution Architect I’d like to be as well as the type of sales people with whom I will align. I also bring to Zunesis years of experience as a customer, someone who has walked miles in the customer’s shoes. I bring a refreshing perspective to Zunesis’ motto: “Customer First.”
Stay tuned for my next entry as I describe my experiences in my first six months at Zunesis.

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