Don’t forget: you’re selling to people. No matter who you are or what your product is, no matter whether your customer is a CEO or an IT manager or someone in marketing, these are real people you’re selling to. And people don’t do business with people they don’t like.

A lot of marketers get carried away trying to create the world’s best brand. They get caught up in colors and positioning and messaging, and they lose sight of the most important factor — people have to like your brand. If people like you, they’ll buy from you, and they’ll tell their friends about you. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful.

Janine Pelosi, CMO of Zoom, is a maven of brand marketing. She talks about the importance of third-party validation. So much of Zoom’s success has been built on word of mouth. In a world where every company is saying the same thing about their product, you need to get customers to like your brand so that they’ll spread your message for you.

“Early on at Zoom, we were going to be doing things differently. We’re a little bit more old school. We want to bring our customers to the forefront. When I came here, I kept hearing, ‘Zoom, it just doesn’t suck.’ So we ended up putting ‘Video conferencing that doesn’t suck’ on a bunch of billboards all over Silicon Valley, right? Up and down the 101, you’re going to hear it on the radio, the sides of buses, you name it. And it really resonated with people.”

“Now, fast forward a couple of years, we kind of have the opposite. We have ‘Meet happy,’ which people just love, and that kind of came out of a very interesting political climate. There’s just lots of hard things going on in the world, and we wanted a happy message. I think listening to the customer bringing their actual pain point right to the forefront, and then bringing in a great, happy message at the end of the day, really resonated with folks.”

Everybody has an experience with your brand. Every touchpoint, every tweet, every purchase, every moment. A customer’s experience of your brand will dictate whether they keep using their product and whether they tell their friends.

Word of mouth is still the best marketing strategy. And customer experience is the new demand-generation. Make sure customers are happy. Make sure people like you. Happy customers and word of mouth are the most sustainable way to build your brand.

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CMO Secrets Revealed

We got 7 CMOs to spill their best marketing secrets. Here’s what they had to say.