When I first started to Argentine tango, it was a very exciting experience—the music, the other dancers, the way we moved across the floor. I fell in love with it all. This honeymoon period lasted for several months, as I was blissfully unaware of what I was actually doing. Then, as I began to learn more about the techniques and intricacies of tango, I realized how much I had to learn!
Since then, I have been to Argentina three times, spent countless hours perfecting my own craft, and taught hundreds of others how to take their first steps in tango. Through this process, I’ve learned that there are some key principles that everyone needs to pay attention to in order to have a great Argentine tango dance experience, whether it’s their first time on the dance floor, or they have worn out several pairs of shoes.
Interestingly, it turns out that many of these same steps apply to my “day job” as an Art Director at Cadient, where we’re focused on crafting a great online experience for a wide range of patients and HCPs.
1). Don’t Just Go Through the Motions
Your partner can sense when you’re not present and simply going through the motions. This leads to an unsatisfactory experience on the dance floor, and likewise in business, a bad experience for your customers. Connect with what your customers need, and then be fully present in your communications. Focus on the fundamentals in each aspect of the campaign, and be attentive to your customers.
2). Be Responsive and Ready to Adapt
A great tango experience is like a dynamic conversation of dance between the leader and follower. A leader gets to initiate the idea, but needs to wait for their partner’s response, and not force the dance to go exactly like they planned. Rarely does a dance turn out like expected. You need to respond to what actually happens, not to what you expected to happen. The best dancers lead, and then listen.
For marketers, it is important to keep in mind that campaigns rarely turn out exactly as planned. It’s easy to fall into the scheduling trap where we figure out everything ahead of time and don’t actually listen to what customers are saying once the dance begins. Don’t become so fixated on your campaign goals that you miss valuable feedback along the way.
3). Listen to the Music
Tango does not happen in a vacuum. The music, the setting, the other dancers all influence how your own dance unfolds. A great dance experience incorporates all of these factors on the fly, creating something truly unique and memorable.
There are a lot of distractions for today’s marketers as well, and rather than ignoring the noise, great marketers need to dial into what is important and incorporate these external signals into their campaign. What are other customers saying, what are competitors saying, what is the overall state of the industry, what trends threaten to change the entire marketplace?
4). Form an Authentic Relationship
Authentic emotion and movement drives connections, but it requires that, as a dancer, I know who I am, and that I’m dancing in a way that is true to myself. Dancing from this place of integrity and experience allows me to connect with a dance partner. For brands, this type of authenticity is equally important. Today’s customers want to know who you are, and what you stand for (and that you have the skills to back it up!). Communicating from this place of authenticity is what ultimately allows a brand to deliver a valuable and meaningful customer experience.
5). Keep a Beginner’s Mind
The best dancers I’ve met never stop learning. In fact, dancing is a craft that you can practice for decades and still feel like you have something to learn. This not about a quest for perfection; it is about embracing an ongoing process.
For marketers, it is also critical to stay fresh and continue learning. There are countless skills to keep up-to-date—new insights to glean, new customers to serve. If you approach today’s marketplace like you know everything, you will suddenly be taught some very painful lessons!
The best thing about tango is that for me, it is not a passing fad. I know that I will keep dancing the rest of my life. As I continue to uncover more about the subtle dynamics of dance, I’ve discovered that creating a great experience on the dance floor is something that also helps me create a great experience for our customers. Now that’s something to dance about!
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- Get Up and Dance! 5 Steps Tango Teaches About Great Customer Experience - November 19, 2014