How are Marketing and PR Setting Your Customer’s Expectations?

by Jeannie Walters

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In many ways, publicity and marketing set the stage for your customers, and it can lead to moments of delight or huge disappointment.

Better marketing isn’t the lifeline.

Recently, I was contacted by a marketing agency regarding one of their clients. The retail chain was having serious problems with their business results slipping. Certain stores were losing customers and revenue quarter after quarter, and the executive team was exerting a lot of pressure on their marketing agency to fix these problems.

The leaders of the agency realized no amount of marketing could solve these issues if the customer experience was poor.


It was great the agency saw the intersection of setting customer expectations through marketing and the actual customer experience delivery so clearly. It’s too bad the executive team of the retail chain didn’t.

Where publicity and marketing leave off is where the customer experience needs to deliver. This was one of the things we discussed with Shonali Burke, a leader in PR and social strategy and President and CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, on the latest episode of Crack The Customer Code, the podcast I co-host with Adam Toporek.

Shonali explains, in her lovely accent, how social is the standard now.

“Before social media, you could say ‘ok maybe we have a window of a few hours…’ you don’t have that luxury with social anymore.” Shonali Burke

We also discussed how legal departments need to back off a bit and be human! Saying “sorry” when things go wrong can actually increase loyalty and positive feelings, simply from acknowledging it and helping a customer feel heard.


Understanding customer expectations sets the stage for exceeding those expectations and creating positive customer experiences. If PR and marketing teams are included in understanding the customer experience, just think of the magic that can happen!

Shonali provides plenty of wisdom around how publicity stunts, as we know them, shouldn’t be standalone events but should be part of the bigger communications campaign and strategy. Sounds like another argument to have a customer journey map that includes everyone in the organization!

You can hear the whole episode here, where we also discuss The Walking Dead! I know very little about zombies or the show, truthfully, so Adam fills me in on how AMC has created an incredibly rich and interactive experience. Plus there are tips about how a zombie is best killed. So get ready for the zombie apocalypse by listening to this episode! (You’re welcome!)

We had a great time chatting with Shonali and hope you’ll listen!


 Listen and subscribe!

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Image credit: Niuton may via Creative Commons license

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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