Posts Tagged ‘social networks’

Marketing is Like Commercial Fishing

May 18th, 2011

We are facing a major challenge in marketing with the over-automation of market communications. Let me explain with an analogy about Commercial Fishing .

 Most marketing organizations don’t feel comfortable deep sea fishing. Too expensive, too resource intensive, and too much risk. They tend to stick closer to shore and troll the bay. It is a lot easier to crisscross the bay with nets and pluck out the fish.  Doesn’t require a real understanding of how fish think or even what bait would be used to lure them. We just pluck out our net and they pop into the net.

 The challenge is that their competitors do the same. When markets are new, there is plenty of fish for everyone. We all go out together in fishing fleets (trade-shows) and there is a collegial atmosphere. Plenty for everyone, why get testy? Except as markets mature, the amount of fish in the bay is reduced and all of a sudden tempers flare, competition becomes more intense, the activity becomes more intense, and the fear creeps in around making sure we can reach out limit. What if we don’t hit our numbers? What if our hold is half-full?
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SEC Social Business Framework

October 21st, 2010

Beyond social media and marketing, Social Business is really about internal and external customer experience –a cross-functional responsibility of the entire organization.  To help executives wrap their arms around the key pieces that can be augmented through social efforts, the Social Executive Council (SEC) created the Social Business Framework. This framework is designed to help organizations understand how to align, manage, and bring cohesion to business objectives, company activities, and social solutions. In essence, this framework “operationalizes” social business in a manner that modularizes its components into company-relevant pieces that can then be utilized to build a social roadmap of strategic and tactical steps that facilitate implementation.

This framework also helps executives visually understand the complexities associated with a successful social program, as well as gain clarity on the:

  • Multidimensional benefits of an enterprise-wide social enablement program.
  • The structured business gains when implementing a social communication layer that allows free flow of ideas and reporting.
  • Limiting results gained when assigning social activities to one silo-ed department and/or junior marketing/public relations associate.
  • Opportunity costs of not participating in this program from a financial, efficiency and productivity perspective.

The SEC is an active forum for senior executives to collaborate and adapt the Social Business Framework to their own organization. The impact is too large and too overwhelming to do it alone —the SEC and this framework are here to facilitate the process and help our members gain social market leadership.

The True Cost of “Free” Social Transactions

August 26th, 2010

This week I had a conversation with another LinkedIn Group leader that I wanted to share —our conversation puts the challenges of social media marketing front and center.

We were discussing how the amount of noise has increased within social media networks and that there is a lot of junk out there on, for example, LinkedIn groups. She was frustrated with the amount of spammers posting advertisement and she felt she had to continuously monitor the group to make sure the interactions were professional and relevant.

I told her that the real cost of social transactions was shifting from sellers to buyers.

What does this mean?

If you think about it, we don’t really bother to consider the true cost of our time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, industry forums and communities, blogs, etc. Beyond the value that you get from sharing with friends and colleagues (my wife posts baby pictures up on Facebook for far-away family and friends) there is a lot of stuff that sucks time away that may not only be useless but actually a true waste of time.  Beyond slightly amusing posts my friends share…. do I really need to wade through that and the 50 other meaningless announcements on my Facebook home page to find the one nugget that is worth it?

Furthermore, how many LinkedIn group posts are a blatant sales pitch, job request, and link bait to visit your website before I tune out your group?  How many SPAM emails do I have to delete on a daily basis to keep my inbox clear for my real work? BTW – I delete pretty much everything that doesn’t have a person sending and personally addressed to me. Email marketing doesn’t really work with me. Probably most people are feeling the same way.

There is no question that there is a fundamental shift occurring on the web.   The cost of information distribution is shifting to the consumer from the distributor –social media is accelerating this. Facebook is free to post and to read. However, it costs some time to post, but it is taking a huge cost of time to filter the amount of information to read that “right” post.

Now, this may sound esoteric, but think about this on an enterprise level and from a productivity perspective. The amount of emails, posts, articles, powerpoints, etc. and you realize:

  1. We are overwhelmed with information
  2. It is costly, in terms of productivity, for our employees
  3. Social media is contributing to the problem of noise
  4. We don’t have good information filters to help our organizations yet
  5. Social marketing if done correctly, can help with the problem in that we can use “trusted sources” to credential and filter information
  6. The costs will continue to rise in terms of productivity if we don’t begin to focus on the problem.
  7. Customers actually pay a transaction cost for your marketing.
  8. The currency they use is their attention. Considering how busy many executives are, spending 10 seconds reading your email is a costly time consumer when you consider how many emails they get on a daily basis
  9. If your marketing transaction costs are too high because it isn’t relevant, timely, focused, and credentialed; you negatively impact your relationship
  10. Customers are reacting to the “hidden” costs. Companies that are SPAMMING them are losing attention and actually losing brand equity.

So, what is the solution?

The paradigm shift that needs to be made in order to capture what is going on in the market, leverage the opportunity that social brings, and accommodate the practical lens of the executive, today’s professionals need to think about customer engagement in terms of “cost of attention” instead of “cost of customer acquisition.” With this new perspective, then focus your social business transactions to provide:

  • High quality
  • High value
  • High integrity

This will increase the customer’s perception of your importance, lower the noise in the market, and will translate to the bottom line in terms of financial transactions.  We are all trying to discuss and navigate through the speed of social, but not many are taking account the paradigm shifts necessary to help make social relevant to the enterprise.  I hope this blog post is a step in that direction.  Would welcome your thoughts.

Building A Social Marketing Business Case – Part 1 – Definitions

April 22nd, 2010

This multi-part series will provide information on social marketing and answer the following questions:

  • What is it? (I already can hear, not another buzz word….)
  • Why is a new definition required beyond Social Media, Social Networking, Social CRM, or Web 2.0 Marketing? (gotcha there)
  • So what? Why should I worry about this? Hint: Revenue Generation and Customer Referrals (I assume this would be important to you)
  • What does a Social Marketing strategy look like?
  • What does a Social Marketing Roadmap look like for this?
  • How do I leverage what I am already doing?
  • How do I build a Social Marketing Business Case?
  • How do I measure Social Marketing?

Now that I got the major questions out of the way, let move next into the definitions;

Social Marketing – The re-orientation of traditional marketing to reflect the new post-digital, network relationship oriented, and influencer-driven social interactions. Social Marketing leverages a multi-channel, multi-directional approach towards building relationships with a transition away from the structured Marketing roles of product management, product marketing, marketing communications, public relations, channel marketing, sales support. Instead, marketing is reoriented around enabling the key interactions that support the buying process.

Social Media – Basically, you have the social networks that you participate and the online communities that you own which are built into your corporate website. See my post on Social Media is Like Fishing for more details. Social Media is changing buyer behavior, coming more fluid, and marketing must adjust the model to to support the reflected changes. See my post on the Changing Role of the CMO for further explanation. Read more

Online Communities – communities of interest built upon a foundation of Web 2.0 social networking tools; profile, blog, wiki, social bookmarking, calendaring, media sharing, etc that enable the user to interact with other users and content through the website. See my post on Online Community Blueprint for more details.

Post-Digital - If everything is becoming digital, why does digital matter? The buyer doesn’t really care if the interaction is on the web, they just want to get what they need. A lot of marketing still segments online and offline which creates an artificial barrier to developing a seamless customer experience.