Posted tagged ‘jay deragon’

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?

Hell yes, I Want Customer Service

June 3, 2008

This post is in response to social networking strategist and expert Jay Deragon’s post titled Do We Really Want Customer Service?

Granted, we may actually PREFER life if every service to which we subscribed and gizmo we bought functioned the way it was intended — nay, the way we hoped in our semi-euphoric state just before we signed the deal, paid cash for our new “toy.” But that would be what people call Utopia, a land where there is no crime and everything works the way it was designed.

For that matter, we might ask, “Do we really want doctors?” or lawyers, or teachers, umpires, line-judges, prisons, mechanics, body-shops, dishwashers, replacement bulbs, or divorce courts. Things break. That’s the nature of the beast, and we have to learn to live with it.

If we didn’t need customer service, there would be no need for doctors to help cure cancer or keep us well, lawyers to help right the injustices against us, teachers to impart knowledge, umpires to call base-runners out at third, line-judges to decide if the serve was in or out, prisons to incarcerate criminals, mechanics to fix our cars when they break, and the list goes on…

Therefore, when things do happen, when life throws a curve-ball, there needs to be someone there to help us get back to where we desire to be. Rather than wishing the services a company provides be different, we need to accept that there will always be something we would change, and be open to measures those companies are taking to make “customer service” less painful.

Marguerite Reardon of CNET writes: Comcast has hired 15,000 new customer service agents and technicians over the past 18 months to help the company answer calls and provide service to customers. It has also rolled out new high-tech diagnostic tools for agents in the field and at call centers to help better assess problems. Comcast has also started re-dispatching field technicians if it looks like a certain technician may not be able to get to his next appointment.

Customer service agents are also starting to work on Saturdays and Sundays to schedule and serve customers when it’s most convenient for them. And it’s offering real time online chat services so that customers can talk live with a customer account executive.

Kudos to Comcast, which even has a team that monitors the blogosphere, and immediately addresses customers’ concerns or problems. Click here to see what we mean. Working to make the customer service issue less painless for customers should be on the front burner of every major company in the business-world today.

And I think other large companies like Verizon are also hiring teams of people to monitor blogs. So, Jay, in answer to your question, do we want customer service, my answer is Hell yes, but I want it to be faster, easier, and less painless than ever before!

How ’bout it

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

March 24, 2008

tre-cover.jpgThe convergence of technology that accelerates the power of relationships and facilitates dynamic communications– peer to peer and to entire communities–is revolutionary to say the least. The book examines the factors that are influencing the emergence of The Relationship Economy

 The book defines The Relationship Economy as: “The people and things we are connected with in our personal networks who or that distribute or consume our capital, which in turn influences our individual production outputs.” The book analyzes the factors that are influencing an emerging economy based on the sum of factors driving massive and significant changes to the way everyone will work, play, and live.

This emergence will have an especially profound effect on businesses and individuals. While individual factors are self-evident, the collective factors, taken as a whole, are the basis for individual conclusions for strategic opportunities that can be gained from the new economy. 

The book provides the knowledge, tools and suggested skills necessary for improved comprehension of the strategic issues required to succeed in The Relationship Economy, and provides the context of actions that enable success. It covers an emerging opportunity for the global community of users/consumers/prosumers/citizens, consumer brands, corporations, non-governmental organizations and governments to play a critical role in forging this new carbon neutral economy: The Relationship Economy

 This book details an emerging economy, driven by factors that are affecting massive changes to the way people work, play, and live. This emergence will have an especially profound effect on business. While individual factorsare self-evident, when taken collectively, they are the basis that individuals use to identify strategic opportunities to be gained from the new economy. 

Starting with a foreword by Doc Searls, Co-Author of ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’, this book is a foundational resource for individuals and entities to use as each begins to plan for participation in the accelerated changes brought on my technological advances of the World Wide Web. The goal of the book is to enable all parties to gain perspectives, knowledge, and insights as to the dynamics of technology, the impact of changes brought on by the social Web, and what factors should be considered for the purposes of planning for success.

How ’bout it?

Carefully Not Casting Stones

March 11, 2008

tre-cover.jpgDuring her South-by-Southwest (SXSW) interview of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, profiled Business Week writer Sarah Lacy was heckled by Facebook enthusiasts as she asked questions. She was noticeably unsettled by members of the audience shouting disruptively, “Ask something interesting!” and “Let US ask the questions!”

After the interview, Lacy fired back via Twitter, “Seriously screw all you guys! I did my best to ask a range of things.” Social networking strategist Jay Deragon makes a very good point in today’s post: “When people attack others it typically represents the desire or need for one to put others down as an attempt at putting themselves up. In reality when we attack others we are actually putting ourselves down.”

Think about that. Really think about it. If we think back in our lives, we come across times when we were insulted by someone who only wanted to insult us to make himself appear to be more athletic, intelligent, handsome (you can insert any adjective to express what the other person wanted to feel).

Personally, I pride myself on grammar. It’s a passion of mine, the same way cars or politics are passions for others. I graduated with a degree in English and Journalism, so I learned not only what to write and what not to write, but also how to write what I do so that it can be understood the first time it is read. However, this does not mean that I am perfect – I’m far from it. When my son comes home from school to write story, he reminds me, “Daddy, you can’t start a sentence with the word ‘and’.”

And because he’s just learning how to write, and grammatical rules are new to him, I let it go. It was not until in college that I started to use and at the beginning of sentences and paragraphs. A journalism professor said on numerous occasions, “Paragraphs need transitions. There’s nothing wrong with using the word and as that transition.”

There really is no need to show publicly someone that his/her grammar is incorrect, unless, as Deragon says, you are a teacher.  Most of the time, it’s best to remember that just because something is true, it doesn’t necessarily need to be said aloud.

Rarely, do I point out someone’s grammatical errors publicly. Most of the time, I don’t point them out to the author or speaker – even when it’s a one-on-one situation. However, when I find an error in the blog post or marketing collateral of someone whom I respect, I will, most times, send an email to the author rather than drawing attention to the flaw publicly in the comment section.

I agree with Mr. Deragon that when one publicly points errors out, or shows someone else’s deficiencies in some area, these actions are to make that person feel more important or better about themselves, in some way. But when someone comes us to say, “Oh, you’ve got spinach in your teeth,” it’s probably not to make us small or less than competent, but rather it is to make our image look the best it possibly can.

How ’bout it?

The Virtual Relationships We Create

March 7, 2008

relationshipfactor.jpgYesterday, we were on the playground after school talking with other parents. The discussion inevitably turned to the ubiquitous nature of the internet and email. And then one mom said, “What I don’t get is why people spend so much time online and in virtual worlds!”

Clearly, she doesn’t get it. We had just reviewed five benefits of social networking, and it was all we could do to keep from launching a monologue about reasons people seek to “connect.” Sure it may be a little futuristic to think that people can enjoy spending time online and never leave their homes, but it’s the cold, hard reality that sometimes people do prefer to spend time online than with their families. It’s not necessarily right, but it’s true.

In the 21st century, we are able to shop online, order custom-made computers online, chat, play and converse with others from all over the globe! People can even shop for groceries and have them delivered to their doorsteps! In the future, who knows how connected we will be if we continue to form relationships with others across the country and even the world?

The key to being successful online – whatever your intentions are – is to begin by forming relationships! Relationships are the backbone for everything. People have relationships with doctors, coffee-shop clerks, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, pastors, therapists, and the list keeps going! Whether we use Facebook or other networking websites and platforms for business purposes or simply for fun, the key to connecting with people is to form a relationship with each of them.

We are the people with whom we surround ourselves. The same is true online. As networking strategist Jay Deragon says, “We are who we know.” If we read someone’s blog or other information he or she produces, we get to know them, and therefore are affected by the way that person sees the world.

At a networking meeting late last year, someone told us that the only difference between the person we are now and the person we will be in a year are the books we read, the people we know, and the contacts we make. Add to that the relationships we create, and you’ll have something that you can etch in stone!

How ’bout it?

Five Reasons to Network

March 6, 2008

tre-cover.jpgWeb 2.0 has enabled individuals to leverage social networking skills for numerous reasons whether personal or professional. Given that the experiences of individuals are different as are the objectives I wanted to share my perspective on five points of why I find it useful. These points are based on an analysis of multiple forum posts of “power networkers” and what has made them successful as well as my own personal perspective on the emerging Relationship Economy:

Who you know is what you know. Individuals carry unique experiences and knowledge. When someone shares his or her experiences and knowledge, others learn and grow from those experiences and knowledge. Learning is a process that involves listening and study. Many of us have “heard a lot” from our life experiences, whether personal or professional. There is no better process for learning than hearing others’ experience and particular knowledge on different subject matters.

What you know is who you know. Your experiences and knowledge has placed you in a particular circle of influence. Whether it be in a job where you exercise your knowledge and experience, or in a personal community, i.e. church, neighborhood or personal interest group, people are typically attracted to others who have experiences or knowledge in common. Through sharing of knowledge and experiences, the collective learning increases .

To Learn More increase your network. Different social networks have different demographics. I know from personal and professional experiences that my learning has come from the network of people I know, both on and off-line. The reason I like to increase my own network is because I want to learn more from others.

Market What you know and Who you know. Whether it be online or off, sharing for the purposes of helping others gain is a fulfilling process that pays incredible dividends. In business you gain new prospects and opportunities by networking with others and sharing what you have as potential value for others. When you add value to others, they in turn tell people whom they know what you’ve done for them. It is through this process that your network increases, as does your value.

A Commitment to a Never Ending Journey. As soon as we think we’ve learned it all, our life can become very static. Learning is a journey that involves people connecting and sharing. To get the most out of on line social networking, one has to realize that it is a never ending journey that requires time to learn and time to use it to meet whatever objectives individual is trying to accomplish. Whether it be a business or personal objective, social networking can add significant value to accomplishing any objective.

The exponential curve of learning is significant and only constrained by the market’s adoption. As more “adults” begin to learn and adopt social networking skills, the faster the curve of learning will progress. From a personal perspective, that is one of the reasons I am committed to helping individuals, companies and entire industries learn the power of social networking. I am selfishly motivated to learn.

How ’bout it?

The Markets Are Changing

March 5, 2008

tre-cover.jpgWhile the benefits of the social web are innumerable, one amazing characteristic of the social web is that it is changing the marketplace. We are seeing major companies, like the cable giant Comcast, sit up and take notice of what their clients and customers are saying on within the open networks of the emerging space.

For instance, when we wrote about the poor customer service of Comcast compared with AT&T, we got a phone call from one of the Comcast execs not asking us to discontinue expressing our displeasure or to remove the post, but rather to inform us that measures are being taken to improve customer service – which, the caller admitted, has been at times “bad” – and customer satisfaction.

The social web is making companies take notice of what the masses are saying. Facebook groups like “The Conversation on Comcast” are allowing people the forums to express their thoughts about the company – both good and bad – without going to the trouble of actually creating a blog devoted to the subject.

As social networking strategist Jay Deragon says in his blog, “The social web is the new marketplace of influence fueled by conversations and relationships formed at the intersection of people and technology.” Concerns are being expressed in these conversations or “rivers” and Comcast execs are starting to take action. When other/more companies start to realize that though their customers aren’t telling them directly, they aren’t necessarily happy with services or products, The Relationship Economy will be in full swing!

The market is changing. It’s becoming better informed, better connected, and smarter than ever before. The influence is moving from the big to the small; from the companies to the individuals – one by one until it reaches Critical Mass. Is YOUR company ready for the shift?

How ’bout it?