AuthorConnect Chat: Ken Schmidt on Customer Loyalty and Marketplace Dominance

Ken Schmidt, former Director of Communications at Harley Davidson, gives insider tips on how to dominate the marketplace.

Noise. It’s a sublime metaphor for vastly improving the competitiveness for virtually any business in any industry. It’s what we need for marketplace dominance and to generate customer loyalty.

Let’s bring that metaphor to life. Imagine a motorcycle whipping down the street in front of you right now. What sound is it making? Would you know who built the bike? Probably not. Products look and sound virtually identical. But if a Harley blasted by you, you would know. It all comes down to this: distinction.

What’s Buzzing With Your Company?

1. What are people saying?

2. What do we want them to say?

3. What are we doing to get them to say it?

These three questions create a general roadmap that Ken Schmidt provides for approaching marketplace dominance and customer loyalty. As you can see, the most important thing for a business is its reputation. It is the thing that helps beat out the competition and dominate the marketplace.

Why Reputation Matters

We define businesses by the people behind it. That’s why we refer to businesses as “they” rather than the actual products that the company produces. Businesses aren’t realizing this, so they’re competing by price.

Take flat-screen TVs for an example. There are so many companies producing them that their values have significantly dropped. You probably aren’t even aware of the flat-screen TV brand you have at home. You choose the brand that you want to talk about, that has a reputation beyond producing a good product. But because none of these companies have a strong reputation or defining people behind it, people focus on the next primary purchase criteria: low price.

On the contrary, Harley takes a different approach. The salespeople aren’t there to sell, but are there to be a source of delight. They are there to make sure the customer has a good experience and will spread the word to those around them. Harley has created a culture where customers are given an experience rather than facts and statistics regarding their products.

Harley’s salespeople focus on this quote: “It’s my job as a leader to be visibly passionate, to create an environment where we are constantly focused on advocacy. On delighting people so that they’ll tell others of not giving people what they expect—giving them something more. Letting them see that the effort we put into everything we do to make a different noise.”


For the full AuthorConnect Chat, check out the video below. Purchase copies of Make Some Noise for your team to understand the importance of reputation and “noise” in dominating the marketplace and maintaining a loyal customer base.

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This post was written by Shelly Ye, the Marketing Intern at BookPal.  She is currently reading The Emotion Code by Dr. Bradley Nelson.

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