CMO Club Fall Summit Breakouts 

Jeannine Davis D’Addario, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Guitar Center; 
Heidi Matheys, CMO, Valvoline

Key takeaways


Special events work Example: “Bringing in artists for talks with customers and staff on how they created music.”

Building empowered staffing Example: “Assuring employees are empowered “in the moment,” to help the customer solve a problem or close the sale using all of the tools they have in their toolbox to make that happen right there on the spot.”

Create an environment where people want to stick around. Example: “At Guitar Centers, we allow musicians to play any instrument we have for as long as they want, even the $10,000.00 Martin hanging on the wall. Even if they don’t buy anything, we know they will eventually make a purchase.”

Differentiate from the competition-“We’ve changed the distrust of the auto mechanic by allowing the customer to stay inside the car during oil changes and service. They can watch a video feed of the mechanic working on the car. The customer is part of the process. It’s about trust and transparency.”

Going beyond communicating digitally with customers-“Going beyond to offer something of value and functionality besides the actual product through digital applications and technology.” Examples: Online ordering, delivery services, and loyalty marketing.

Researching the customers in really intimate ways.-“Using multi-media to connect with the customer experience, their joys, their pain, their pleasure points. We created a video that speaks to the concerns of the customers and shared that with them, let them interact with us about those concerns, which gave us an opening to let them know how we can help.” Examples: “Where once we made products marketed to distributors and dealers, we now can make apps and services to manage that product and have a one-to-one experience with the end user.”

Take the anxiety away from the customer Example: “Using technology, we created an app to alert when a (pest) trap has been triggered, so the customer doesn’t need to constantly check and re-check the trap on their own. In a B2B situation, a large warehouse can log on to a customer portal and instantly see where the trapping activity is and tailor programs to target that area.

Journey. Having things that other retailers can’t provide, being able to touch and feel the product, hold the weight in your hands, feeling free to experience the product.

Think past the direct consumer to the end user. “What’s really important is the retail center reps who present the options and packages during on-boarding. They are the lynchpin. We need to think of them as customers, understanding who they are, keeping them informed and engaged, finding out their skills and passing on that knowledge to the end user of the product. Example: Many of our reps are musicians, so we offer “Gig Leave,” a chance for those musicians to work in the field as musicians without losing benefits or their job, keeping them connected to the end users because they are end users as well. Also, we offer a 35 % discount to our reps, giving them access to the great gear we sell.

Example-We’ve been looking at not only customer journey maps but employee journey maps, how to remove those friction points that customers may not be aware of but that are impacting their experience with us. Making their (employee) job easier in addition to benefits is a powerful way to impact the customers.

The human touch-point is about trust. It’s what differentiates one company from another. Example: “We take in a lot of used instruments. One day, a widow came in with her granddaughter and a guitar that had been sitting in her husband’s closet for many years, hoping to sell it for two-hundred dollars. The intake rep said he’d love to make the purchase, but he would be writing a check for $195,00.00. We decided as a company not to make a PR push with this story, but to share what happened with our employees as an example of great customer service and sticking to our principals of honesty in our business, which sets us apart from many others in the used instrument business. It became a huge urban legend, shared by employees and customers to this day.”

CMO Club Nashville summit day 1
Tanika Vital-Pringle at Breakout