There is a lot of uncertainty in the world, and Customer Educators are being asked to adapt to keep up with constantly changing business priorities. We’ve asked our customers what they’re doing to cope with the current global landscape and how their work has been changing. In this edition, Mark Sanders, Director of Product Enablement at Lotame, shares his insights.
Tell us a little bit about your company. How do you leverage customer education to support your customers?
Mark: Lotame is a global Data Solutions company servicing the advertising needs of publishers, agencies, and enterprise customers and we just celebrated our fourteenth birthday. Advertising Technology is a constantly changing industry from a technical, strategic as well as security and compliance point of view. For us, education is an essential internal and client-facing activity. It’s not a goal to reach but a practice like exercise and nutrition is for your body.
It’s very tempting just to focus on the last mile of education in technical areas for our customers, aka “The VCR Manual” approach. But as we’ve started to support so many different industries and regions, as well as new markets, we’ve constantly looked to support larger and larger education topics. These education needs cut across different competitive landscapes, partner infrastructures, and ever-evolving business practices—each one requiring a unique approach to internalize and feel confident exploring.
How have customer learning behaviors been changing since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak?
People want to see faces. They want to hear stories. They want to understand and learn with people who have empathy for them and their situation. People are at home and seemingly in a different emotional space than if they were in a fluorescent-lit conference room. Also, people are connecting online and on video one at a time and that relationship makes direct communication much more appropriate. Even when someone is consuming pre-recorded video training. They will reach out more. They will ask questions whether it’s over Slack or chat. Slack has never been busier for me than the last few weeks. Introverted people are asking questions and getting answers. It’s a positive overall.
How can Customer Education teams adapt to help customers right now?
They have a license to be creative. This is a new world and you’re allowed to be inventive. Whether it’s finding just the right Slack animated gif or playing with the advanced features of Zoom. Using new tools and experimenting may help you find applications of the products and services you already have that can help solve a problem or fill a gap. And if you want to test something new—why not. You don’t have to experiment. You get to experiment. It’s a gift.
What new colleagues are you engaging with that you haven’t worked with before?
More and more of our teams in different groups are working together to create content and share insights and learnings as part of cross-team education. Communication isn’t the sole responsibility of just one group, it’s a duty for everyone to be able to help the collective team be better at what they do so we can help our clients be better at what they do. Whether it’s our engineering team, our technical account managers, our executive team—everyone has something to share that’s helped them and can help others.
How are you expanding the impact of your team right now?
More one-on-one contact. More sharing and recording of information. Like journaling, you can discover a lot about what you do and what your team does by taking the time to mindful record what you’re doing. Dropping processes that are just there for appearances and looking at small meaningful changes that move the needle a little at a time. Don’t bite off more than you can do. Fresh starts and modest changes.