Posted tagged ‘conversations’

The Marketing Rules are (Still) Changing

March 6, 2009

tre-coverAs the world has witnessed the collapse of billion dollar companies such as AIG and Merryl Lynch, some of us stood by and were only able to watch in horror as if we were watching the Titanic sinking after hitting the iceberg. “It can never sink. It’s just too big,” they said. One can almost hear the naysayers scoffing at anyone who predicted such a catastrophic failure as what happened on Wall Street. “No, the banks can never fail. The government won’t let that happen.”

Look where it [our confidence] got us. Over the past two or three years, we have taken special notice to some blogs, names and phrases, such as, “Relationship Capital.”

The Relationship Economy is a system in which we are worth who we know and what we know. For example, I personally have just over 2,400 so-called “friends” on the online social network known as Facebook. A year ago, I had exactly 67 “friends” on that same network. Realizing that the shift from a goods-based/knowledge-based economy to a relationship-based economy, I started adding “friends” like crazy. Today, with my 2,400 + “friends,” I am more valuable than I was on March 5, 2008.

I’ve made connections to people all over the world, most of whom I will never meet or even speak to on the phone. And while I would say many will prove to be fruitless, I have made some really good connections to people in some very high places with companies such as Dell, IBM, Apple, HP, and, my favorite, Comcast.

The marketing has changed in the past six months. People are coming to the realization that the social networks are becoming more vital to businesses rather than just a fad. People are watching television online, listening to the radio online, getting their news online, and companies are capitalizing on the world’s ability to connect online.

So what’s my point?

With people spending so much time online and our ability to remain connected to the world, via Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and RSS feeds, the marketing has changed locations and forums, but the message is still the same: “LOOK AT HOW GREAT MY PRODUCT IS!”

That’s where the marketing guys come up short. Rather than talking to us, they need to be talking with us. Finding out what it is we need. What we want a product to give us, etc.

In The Cluetrain Manifesto, written by Doc Searls et. al., says that marketes are conversations. It does little to aid your bottom-line if you are speaking in a language none of your customers can understand. Therefore, the relationship isn’t there.

Now, some companies have adapted their marketing to The Relationship Economy, but the big-boys–the banks, the insurance companies, etc.– have not. That’s why they collapsed in ’08.

Companies have forgotten that they aren’t all about million dollar homes and large offices with gold trash cans. When a person is made to feel important, that is when you will develop consumer pride and brand loyalty. But when a service call is not kept, the call is dropped, or the company doesn’t seem to care about YOU, the consumer, that is when the walls they have built all around them start to crumble.

The move toward the relationship economy is coming, and I think it may catch many big companies unaware.

How ’bout it?

Will YOU Adopt the Social Web?

January 16, 2008

communications-factors-logo.jpgGreat pundits have asked, “Do conversations fuel innovations?” The social web, Web 2.0, and the host of social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and (our favorite) Link to Nashville have enabled people to connect with others for either professional or personal reasons.

We connect with family we’ve not seen for years through the social web; we stay in touch with business partners who could potentially live thousands of miles away; we generate leads for ourselves and for others. But the most fundamental characteristic common to these three uses – and we’re ignoring the selfish reasons some people use the social web – is CONVERSATION!

Without conversation, the “virtual” online relationships begin to falter. The Communications Factors are key to the establishment and care – nurturing, if you will – of the relationships we foster through the Social Web. Conversations, by nature, are two-way exchanges of information. Did you get that? We said “two-way!” There are literally millions of blogs on the social web – having to do with anything from needlepoint to the latest and greatest technological advances in the areas of neuroscience or stem cells – and many, if not most, are simply monologues.

In order for the conversations to fuel innovations, they cannot be monologues! Granted, monologues can fuel innovation, but just think about how much faster innovation occurs when two or more brilliant minds get together. Possibilities are endless!

The key to engaging brilliant minds

Expand yourmind. Think about things, innovations, and characteristics of an area of interest by reading an innovative book or blog which actually makes you question what you have been taught. Then, find some colleagues whose opinions differ from your own. Make yourself think “OUTSIDE THE BOX!

Join (or start) a group that meets to simply talk about something which interests you and your friends. Have passionate/heated conversations with others and try to “win” them over to your way of thinking. No matter what the outcome of the (in)formal group is, remember to shake hands (hug, kiss, whatever) when the conversation is over and do NOT begrudge someone else for having an opinion other than your own.

Utilize the various platforms online (mentioned above) to create relationships with others. Have honest, thought-provoking conversations with people. Connect, collaborate and share. Establish yourself – through conversations you have with others on the web – as an expert in a specific area.

We now have the ability to connect anywhere through our smart-phones. Wireless connectivity is becoming more mainstream than ever before, and it is just one tool with which we can engage the social web.

¬†How ’bout it?