Category Archives: Online Marketing

NPS podcast

Podcast: Promoter CEO Talks Growth & NPS Best Practices

Many people don’t realize that despite the Net Promoter methodology having been around since 2003, it wasn’t until just a couple of years ago that it started to become more widely adopted.

In fact, if you were to apply NPS to the Diffusion of Innovation theory, the methodology is barely beyond the early adopters and has only recently crossed the chasm.


When we founded Promoter in 2013, Net Promoter was still only being used by large, enterprise-level, Fortune 500 type companies.

Today, that has completely changed.

But, as the first company to introduce the Net Promoter System into the small and mid-markets with a tailored SaaS-based solution, we literally needed to build the market from scratch.

Recently, I was asked to be a guest on the B2B Revenue Leadership podcast, hosted by Brian Burns.

During our interview I discuss how Promoter began, the ways in which we grew (and continue to grow) our business, and some very practical advice for anyone looking to get the most out of their NPS efforts.

Please take a listen and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.


Why Marketing Campaigns Fail

I have something to confess to you. It’s embarrassing, and I was struggling about whether to tell you about it. But first, I have a question for you …

Why is it that most of your marketing campaigns aren’t as effective as you’d like them to be?

Come on now, it’s just you and me here chatting. You know what I’m talking about. You had grand plans, didn’t you? You thought that last one was really going to go viral, right? But it never hit that critical mass, did it?

How do I know? That’s where my confession comes.

My last campaign for bombed.

That isn’t quite honest. It did get a lot of views. But those views never turned into paying customers, so really it just made a lot of noise for no return.

But why did my campaign bomb? I have spent a lot of time thinking about that, and I think that the answer to that question might just be applicable to you and your marketing campaigns. It’s always easier to laugh at someone else’s misfortune, so maybe by studying my failure, you might gain insights that will prevent you from making the same mistakes.

Let me tell you a little bit about this campaign. Elections in 2016 had been a huge hot button issue. We thought it would be interesting if we ran a national Net Promoter Score® survey in order to gather sentiment that might give insight and clarity to the election. So we invented something new … The Net Presidential Score.

Could we predict who would become the next POTUS by NPS score?

Could we predict who would become the next POTUS by NPS score?

You can read about it more on our blog but it worked much like any regular NPS survey. We asked on a scale from 0-10 how likely you would be to recommend each presidential candidate to your friends and colleagues. Then we posted the results for the world to see.

At the time we came up with the idea, it seemed like just the kind of campaign that could go viral. Who knows … maybe we would even be invited to discuss the idea on TV. The sky was the limit.

And if you looked at our analytics, you might have called it a success too.

But the conversion rate from views into customers was next to nil. I sat down with one of our advisors recently and explained the campaign to him. I asked him where did it go wrong? What he told me was really insightful.

He said that he always looks at marketing campaigns through the lens of a Venn Diagram. He took a napkin and drew three overlapping circles.

Venn Diagram

In the first circle was what your product does. In the second circle was what customers want — their deepest desires. In the last is what the press/media/Facebook/Twitter wants.

Here is where I first wanted to interject. I wanted to argue with him. Facebook and Twitter in the same group as press and media? But then I realized that Facebook and Twitter are two of the primary places that I get my news these days, so I just kept quiet.

The Presidential election stunt was clearly aimed at the press/media part of the Venn diagram. It also overlapped nicely with the product circle. But why did it not end up converting to paying customers? Because it missed the third part of the Venn diagram.

The Presidential election stunt didn’t overlap at all with the deepest desires of our ideal customer.

How many times have you watched a funny commercial on TV and had no idea what they were trying to sell? Same problem. The campaign might be viral. It might show off your product. And still nobody cares.

Who gets this right? There are plenty of examples. In TV, Budweiser almost always hits the trifecta. Funny commercials that go viral, show off the product, and overlap with the deep desires of their customers. Another TV example is the Axe body spray commercials or Old Spice.

Or, how about this video that has been seen over 33 million times:

One of the most brilliant examples of a company hitting the trifecta was done recently by a customer,


During this past Holiday season, launched a campaign called “Careculator”. The concept was to put a price tag on your friendships online — via Facebook.

The way it worked was you’d connect your Facebook account and it would analyze and calculate the amount you should spend on each friend on Christmas. The calculation was based on the number of times your friend had engaged with you (i.e. liked your post, commented, shared, etc.).

As a marketer, I was impressed. Like, seriously impressed.

Price of friendshipThe calculator was fun and ingenious, but what really made it smart was that they made it super viral. I mean, of course I’m going to share the amount my friend is worth on Facebook. In my case, it was my wife. And I was sure to rub salt in the wound.

But, what really completed the trifecta was the final component to the campaign, which was to recommend gifts that were available on that fit within the dollar amount calculated for each friend.


They absolutely nailed the trifecta.

Product/Customer/Media. You need all three. You can’t just pick two. The graveyard of failed marketing ideas is full of ideas that just pick two.

So don’t let yourself fall into the trap. Let our failed campaign serve as a reminder for you.

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.


A Statistical Exercise, NPS is Not

With Rogue One upon us, we’d like to offer you some sage advice for avoiding the Dark Side of NPS…

In a recent post, we showed you how Chime changed the scheduling of their surveys to better align with their customer lifecycle to drastically improve the accuracy of their results.

What Chime had discovered was that by waiting to survey new customers until their next quarterly batch survey, they were only hearing from customers who had chosen to stick around. In other words, the customers who had tried their product and for one reason or another decided not to continue, were long gone.

Obviously, feedback from lost customers is just as important to the growth of your business as active customers. In fact, you could argue that critical feedback is even more important in some ways.

Chime ultimately changed their approach by automatically triggering surveys to be sent roughly 30 days after a critical event occurred which effectively allowed them to hear from EVERY customer, not just the active ones.

This is just one example of how simple decisions can dramatically impact the accuracy of your customer engagement results.

Another example is a question we get asked quite often, “Which customers should we survey?”, or stated another way, “How many customers should we survey?”.

In short, the answer to both questions is the same … all of them.

Why EVERY customer matters

The Net Promoter Survey is unlike a traditional survey or traditional research in that it’s NOT an exercise in statistical analysis. This is a fact that often gets overlooked and can have a large negative impact on your results.

Within the Net Promoter System, ALL customers matter.

In a recent discussion with one of our customers, they had mentioned that they were only surveying a small subset (10%) of their entire customer base. When asked why, they explained that 10% represented a large quantity of customers and provided them with plenty of feedback for a “representative sample”.

Plenty of feedback is great and given a high enough percentage of responses, you could most likely draw concrete conclusions from the trending data, but you’ll still be missing out on the complete benefits of the process.

Unless you’re only concerned with your overall NPS score (which if you’re Promoter customer, you should know better by now), failing to survey ALL of your customers is simply a bad idea.

Imagine you have all 100 of your customers in a room. 30% of them are detractors and likely to churn. But, which 30 customers is it?

Surveying only a portion of your customers will likely allow you to extrapolate your data and conclude that 30% of your customers are going to churn, but wouldn’t it be better to know precisely who those 30 are?

I think the answer is obvious.

NPS is not about high-level aggregate statistics, it’s your customer’s personal invitation to tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong in their individual view.

There isn’t a diminishing value scale to additional responses like traditional surveys, it’s actually the opposite. With NPS, the more customers you survey, the more results you get, the more the value of the survey increases.

Simply put, more feedback means more individual opportunities uncovered. And equally as beneficial is the ability to tie those opportunities to the individual customer and not a statistical subset.

With NPS there is no such thing as too much feedback, even if that’s 10x more that what you believe is needed. There has never been a company that has failed from too much meaningful customer input.

There has never been a company that has failed from too much meaningful customer input. #NPS Click To Tweet

And, to put all of you statistical nuts at ease, the added benefit of running your NPS campaign correctly is that by doing so, statistical relevancy will happen naturally.

Now, I fully understand that there are a few logical questions and concerns about surveying 100% of your customers, so allow me to quickly address those:

Concern A: We have less-active/non-paying and active/paying customers and we don’t want to skew our results by mixing both together.

As Chime has shown, trial/free/inactive (or whatever your term may be) customers can unearth amazing opportunities in your business. And, determining why they are not active could be the key to 10x’ing your growth.

Solution A: There are a few ways to benefit from the insights of both customer segments while still maintaining a separation.

  1. Create separate campaigns that run in parallel. All of your active customers in one campaign, which would effectively represent your TRUE Net Promoter Score. The other campaign would cater exclusively to your inactive customers. (Also see When to create more than one campaign)
  2. Create filter attributes. This is as simple as adding a column within your database that identifies the customer as either “active” or “inactive”. Once these attributes are in place, you’ll be able to filter your data to reflect each of those groups individually.

Concern B: We don’t have a large enough staff to handle all of the feedback that is coming in.

If you follow our advice, you should be personally responding to each and every customer that takes the time to give you a score and/or feedback. Without a doubt, this can be a time consuming process, but it pays off in droves and should be at the top of your priority list.

Solution B: The easy answer is to create an internal cross-functional NPS team to champion the initiative, but that’s not always realistic. The immediate solution is to drip your surveys over time.

For example, if you have 10,000 customers, dripping your surveys out over 90 days would mean that instead of being hit with 3,000-5,000 responses over the course of a few days, you’d receive a much more manageable 30-40 responses each day over the course of each quarter (based on our average response rates).

If your business or service is more transactional in nature then you’ll end up surveying on a daily cadence automatically which is reflected by the engagement patterns of your customers.

Concern C: How can we possibly unearth any insights within a mountain of customer feedback?

Trust me when I say that too much customer feedback will never be an issue you can’t overcome.

Solution C: Now that you’re properly managing the amount of feedback you’re receiving each day by dripping your surveys over time, you’ll also be able to tag the feedback at the same time.

Tagging feedback trends is as simple as identifying what your customer is talking about (i.e. customer service, price, product, etc.) and assigning a sentiment (positive, neutral, negative).

NPS trend report

Tagging feedback is the easiest way to unearth new trends

Your tagging efforts will all be worthwhile when you see the trending report that comes as a result. That mountain of feedback will be refined down to the most critical insights ranked in order of importance. Best of all, this will be nearly 100% accurate unlike automated text or sentiment analysis tools (more on this in a future post).


The bottom line is that while statistical relevancy can be a small factor in NPS surveys, it should in no way limit the number of customers you survey. Doing so will only limit your results and potential opportunities to drive increased retention and growth.  

When done correctly, NPS will be your biggest offensive weapon against the Galactic Empire. Sometimes you just need to get out of its way so it can help you to win the battle. 

May the force be with you!

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.


Why Marketing Automation Doesn’t Work for NPS

I was at an event the other night with one of my kids. The organization that hosted the event had hired a magician to perform for a room full of 8- 10 year olds.

The guy was kind of a hack, but did well by a child’s standards.

One of the tricks he performed was taking a newspaper and making it appear that he was tearing it to shreds. Each time he teared, he folded the paper over on itself, making it appear smaller and smaller. At the end of his routine, he snapped the paper back into shape with the flick of his wrist.

The kids were amazed. The adults … well they were excited for the kids.

Needless to say, he wasn’t too protective of his “magic”.

As a marketer, it reminded me of how I feel sometimes when I’m trying to be really clever in how I automate messaging to customers and prospects. In a way, I’m trying to act like a magician and wow the recipient with a completely “personal” message, while at the same time diverting their attention away from the true trickery.

If my recipients were 10-year olds, I might get away with it. Unfortunately, they are savvy adults. People that know the difference between a canned message and personal communication.

This is where we fail as marketers. We believe that our magicianal (my word) talents are so superior, that we can trick our customers and prospects into believing that we actually wrote that email just for them, or we favorited that tweet because we’re following their every word.

The truth is, nobody is buying it. Those that respond are just those that happen to be in the market for what we’re offering. As much as we want to believe it, our mail merge isn’t tricking anyone.

Sorry marketers, we suck as magicians.

Sorry marketers, we suck as magicians. Nobody is buying our 'personalized' emails. Click To Tweet

And, this is why Promoter doesn’t offer the option of automating messages according to scores.

I’ll admit, as someone that is directly involved in responding to customers, it would be much easier to automate the messages that go out to anyone identifying themselves as a detractor, passive or promoter. In fact, as a marketer, I’ve argued for why this should be a feature.

But, my argument was dismissed, and here is why:

Detractors are in desperate need of intervention: As you know from previous posts, up to 50% of your detractors are going to leave you (churn) within the next 90 days. If you want any chance of reducing that percentage, you need to act quick and it needs to be personal.

Not only that, but you also need to address their specific needs. Maybe your customer service is slow, or your product is lacking … you need to respond in kind. A canned response won’t do.

As unhappy as they may be, your customer took time out of their day to tell you exactly what you need to know to keep their business. Maybe it’s unattainable, but maybe it isn’t. The least you can do is give them the courtesy of a personal response.

If you have even as few as 100 customers and your LTV is $500, that’s $25,000 at risk. I think everyone (even marketers) would agree that it’s worth a personal response.

No two Promoters are equal – I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Promoters represent the biggest growth opportunity your company has today.

If you read “The Anatomy of a Promoter” you’ll know that while up to 50% of your revenue is driven by your company’s advocates, it’s likely that it accounts for only 20% of those that are willing to recommend you.

You can’t activate the other 80% with an automated message.

You need to look at each of your promoters as unique opportunities. Some have large networks, others are personally connected to potential clients, or even investors.

If you want to properly activate your promoters, you should look at each of them individually and see where they bring you the most value.

If you automate your message to your promoters, you potentially leave a ton of revenue on the table.

You can’t learn anything without listening – This is probably the most important point, and one that most marketers overlook. If you truly want to see any value from the NPS process, you need to actually read each piece of feedback that you receive.

It’s a fairly easy and straightforward prescription. And, this is at the core of how Promoter is designed.

Without actually reading the responses of your customers, you not only run the risk of losing them, but you also miss any easy opportunities to improve your business. You’re also missing out on a literal goldmine of trend and sentiment data from your customers verbatim feedback (what we call trend analysis).

NPS feedback tagging

Within Promoter, you can add tags and attach sentiment to quickly identify trends.

Listening to customers and tagging their feedback to identify trends is one of the easiest ways to not only retain current customers, but also grow revenue exponentially.

If you’re not willing to do this, NPS is mostly meaningless.

At the end of the day, whether you’re a marketer or director of operations, closing the loop with customers as part of NPS is not a system you want to automate. It’s a place where customers are candid, and they deserve a personal response, each and every time. This is the most important engagement you can have with a customer, use the opportunity wisely.

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.


A Secret Tool Used By Elite Bloggers to Grow An Audience

Have you ever started a blog, been really dedicated to it for a few months, then give up when it didn’t seem to have any traction? Nobody was reading it and you poured hours and hours into it. It’s easy to feel like what’s the point of it.

And what are elite bloggers doing that you are missing?

After all, you see these insipid posts all the time with crummy content that have a thousand shares and dozens of comments. What are they doing that you are not doing?

The answer is that they work smarter, not harder.

Successful bloggers know exactly what their audience wants to read and writes to that audience desire every week. Amateur bloggers write posts haphazardly about whatever strikes their own fancy in the moment.

So if you want to move from being an amateur blogger to an elite pro blogger, how do you find out what it is your audience wants you to write about most? And how do you keep track of how well you are delivering on their desire?

The thing that separates amateurs from professional bloggers is their incessant desire to please their audience coupled with detailed tracking on the progress towards that effect.

Step 1) Setup A Mailing List

A mailing list is the backbone of any successful blog out there. If you don’t have a mailing list, it’s like owning a lawn mower that doesn’t have a pull starter… it will never turn on. With a mailing list, the moment you publish your post, you can reliably send a barrage of traffic to it.

Screen+Shot+2015-12-17+at+3.10.30+PMWhether you post to your own blog, to LinkedIn, or Medium, or Huffington Post … being able to reliably send a bunch of traffic to a post is a huge asset. On places like LinkedIn, they will notice when a post seems to be doing well and promote it to others automatically, making it even more popular.

But without your own mailing list, nobody will notice when you press publish. So go to MailChimp or AWeber now and get started.

Step 2) Ask New Subscribers One Question

When people sign up for your mailing list, you should have an auto-responder with just one question: What is the biggest challenge you are facing with X?

Where X is the general topic of your blog. Make the email short, but personal. Include something personal about yourself in it. For example, it could read like this:


Thanks for signing up! You know, when I was first getting started weaving baskets underwater, I thought I would never ever be able to hold my breath long enough to make any progress.

I would stay up at night crying to my wife until one day she said: Come on, stop being so lazy and start practicing holding your breath instead of complaining about it.

Sometimes it takes that encouraging voice to help you get over your challenges in life, so I’d like to offer you that opportunity now. If you tell me your biggest challenge with underwater basket weaving, I promise to get back to you with a potential solution.

Just reply to this email!



The response rate for this kind of email will surprise you and the honesty will touch you.

And also it will fill you with new ideas. You will start noticing trends of the things people have the most trouble with, and can fine tune your posts to target the biggest concerns your customers have.

To learn more about this technique, take a look at Ask by Ryan Levesque.

Step 3) Follow-Up With Net Promoter Score

Many of the best bloggers I know have a mailing list and know their reader’s biggest problems already.

But only the most successful bloggers know how to measure their success and fine tune their message using Net Promoter Score.

With Net Promoter Score, you ask just one question, but a different one than when they first signed up: On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend my blog to a friend or colleague?

If you want to know how to calculate your score from all the responses, just follow this easy guide that I wrote.

But the most important information for a blogger comes with the follow-up question: What is the biggest reason you gave me that score?

Notice that this follow-up works well whether the score they gave was good or bad. If it was bad, they will tell you what you are doing wrong. If it was good, they will tell you what they like best.


The biggest difference between elite pro bloggers and everyone else is their obsession with understanding their audience and delivering them exactly what they want to read week after week.

The problem is that most people don’t know how to begin understanding their audience better. But now you have three key tools that will bring you light-years closer to this goal.

Setup the mailing list and start building real relationships with real people and your readership will take on a life of its own.

Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.