Archive for the ‘Archive 2009’ category

Flashback to Web’s Impact on American Business

September 27th, 2009

As part of the preparation for a recent presentation, I pulled together research on the Web’s impact to the Fortune 100. Our belief is that social media will be as disruptive as the web for a number of reasons; which will each have their own posts over the next several weeks;

  • Addresses some of the challenges with search engines
  • Represents a shift from intellectual driven purchase management to a more emotional model
  • Provides contextualization for people to organize information based upon personal lenses
  • Represents the transition from static information management to a more dynamic model (only going to accelerate)
  • Evolving to enable people to address the challenges of information overload; ie. inbox, search, communications, etc. Social media will enable people to begin to sort through the morass of information. (Yes, it is contributing to the challenges today, but the tools are emerging to assist in attacking these problems in unique ways.)

Comparison of the Fortune 100 lists from 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, and 2009

What Is Keeping You Up At Night

September 16th, 2009

Probably not the same 7lb. mini-me like I have, but I suspect that how to make more money is probably on the minds of a good number of people. With the economy still down, even those who are doing well are insecure. For some, the challenges of how to compete in the future may weigh on their minds. If you have a lot of mouths to feed, employees and dependents of employees, you don’t take your responsibilities lightly.

To that end, you may have had to do lay-offs, surely cut costs, and constrained the world-domination plans (well, at least market domination). With the glimmer of hope that the recession will end, you and your team are starting to do planning for jumping on the recovery.

You are starting to look at product releases, eyeing markets that don’t seem as competitive, possible acquisitions, and even possibly, someday… large scale hiring. As the world recovers, what is different? Sounds like the last recovery….

Yes and no. Yes, the business factors are the same, no in that social media is going to fundamentally shift your business. Much like the web did in the last decade, this will be disruptive. Not a fad, not a maybe… I am here to tell you that it is coming.

Don’t see it? Well, pull up a copy of the Fortune 50 list from the late 80′s and compare the list to the late 90′s… a lot of seat changes… Social media represents social search which is really tapping into the emotional side of buying. Don’t think emotions play into your markets? Words like TRUST, VALUE, DECISION are emotional words… the market is discounting advertising messaging and weighing referential opinions and reviews much higher that the all of the marketing messaging. They are fact checking you, asking your customers, doing their own buyer reports…

Social media is disruptive. For those who can socially-enable their business, markets, communities, products, and organizations; change will allow you to grow much faster than the competitors, for the rest if will be an uphill battle….

Traditional Sales and Marketing Roles are Blurring

September 7th, 2009

Reposted in full version from www.salesjournal.com blog as guest columnist

I can hear the collective groan from the Sales Journal readership, but social media is blurring the traditional lines. Sales now needs to be concerned with participating in linked-in groups, answering linked questions, participating in community forums, reading blogs, sharing tweets on twitter, sharing photos, Facebook, etc. along with their traditional lead generation activities. Sales organizations now have to worry about broadcast messaging to communicate the product value proposition and greater educations across a wide audience.

Marketing now has to focus on the 1:1 relationship whether out on the social networks or in the corporate community/website. Marketing now gets measured on lead productivity, the value of discussion versus broadcasting, and the effectiveness of their ability to assist the sales pipeline. This is far more intimate and front-line than many marketers have been traditionally involved. Additionally, the marketing organization has to worry about the specific prospect’s motivation and the customer experience.

Social media changes the rules as the relationship dynamics are more fluid because the buyer behavior is changing. The 1:1 conversation can now happen in a public forum or be forwarded (re-tweeted) to a broad audience. Customers are also doing buying research on social networks and blogs.

In the last few years, this research has gone from search engines towards social search where they value the recommendations from participants over the traditional advertising messages from marketing. Also, they buyers are doing their research prior to engagement with vendors. If you are not in their research, you are not on their short list. This means that you have to do education prior to engagement; which is the definition of evangelism.

This is causing a considerable amount of disruption in the market and within companies. You can see the whole emotional spectrum played out; fear, skepticism, frustration, doubt, distain, and even elation. Marketing is being held more accountable for results and Sales is being held to a higher standard for managing communications.

I see this as the natural evolution. Customers don’t want to be “sold”, they want “to buy”. That means they want education earlier in the sales process; which means you need to adjust the way you support their buying process. Hence, the shift in roles between sales and marketing to align more along stages of evangelism versus functional silos. Sales and marketing should be held accountable to the same results if they are working on the same objectives. The roles will be more fluid, but the expertise is still there and can be very synergistic if leveraged correctly.

Three Areas for Thought

On the People front, you need to assess how your sales and marketing organizations are aligned. Are they designed to optimize the business or the customer experience?

On the Process front, you need to rethink your approach to branding and content development to empower Sales to have the 1:Many conversations. Can you create component messages that can be tracked and measured?

On the Technology front, do you have the right tools to support the 1:1 and 1:Many conversations across social media, manage the library of corporate IP & marketing content, and manage the lead conversion from the social environments?

A Shameless Self Promoting Plug

August 12th, 2009

I had an opportunity to be interviewed on the Atlanta Business Radio Show this morning. Can’t miss any opportunity to evangelize on social media and marketing. Here is the link to the podcast (my portion of the interview starts about 15 minutes in):

http://atlantabusinessradio.businessradiox.com/atlanta-business-radio-interviews-nicole-siokis-with-momcorps-and-social-marketing-strategist-matthew-rosenhaft/

Actually, I want to thank my hosts, Amy Otto and Lee Kantor, for a truly fantastic experience. It was my first radio interview and they made it very easy with the right softball questions to help me out. Also on the show today was Nicole Sioskis, regional owner for Moms Corp (www.momscorps.com) is a specialized matching service for professional mothers (and some dads) who desire to work part-time or on a project basis with organizations that need high-caliber talent on a part-time or project basis.