This morning, I’m the keynote presenter at the J. Boye Conference in Philadelphia for the online communication track. We’re talking about how to connect with your customers. Not just reach, connect. It’s a different ballgame, one that needs to integrate what used to be — and still are — many company silos.
Imagine this scenario. A customer walks up to you asking to locate a technical support rep. Because you’re curious, while you find out the name and look around to see where that person is, you ask how you can help. The customer proceeds to give you a list of problems that need addressing. He looks and sounds really upset.
So you decide to learn more about him and ask, what part of the organization are you from? What’s your role?
This immediately shifts the attention from you to the person with the issue. The questions are not to buy time, they’re to understand the point of view of the person asking them. Point of view goes to context, and needs to be part of the conversation. It’s what leads to connection, while you fix the problem.
From too many, to oneMarketers are still working their way to understanding the one customer in front of them. The more technology allows us to see what people are interested in — for example implementing a lead management system that shows you their digital body language — and what they say, the better we can be at presenting information that is timely in a personal sense.
Technology is your friend. However, there’s something else that helps you navigate that tension between community needs, marketing goals, and editorial voice.
Engagement by any other nameIt’s the new buzzword — engagement. What does it mean? How do you get there? Depending on how regulated and/or conservative your industry and company, you get there one step at a time. Starting with adoption, going through collaborative filtering, content creation, and ending up with fully social as a business.
What are those activities?
- bookmarking, tagging, adding to groups
- liking, rating, endorsing, voting, commenting
- blogging, fan community participation, creating videos, podcasting, allowing uploads to sites, encouraging co-creation
- adding friends, networking, creating a fan community
For example, Rubbermaid found that, when they add reviews to their free-standing inserts (which are mailed/put in newspapers), conversion for the coupons increases by 10%. This is proof that reviews impact ofﬂine advertising and in-store behavior (Rubbermaid case study, April 2010).
Why is that engaging? By providing collaborative filtering, it directs the Rider (our rational side), while it motivates the Elephant (our emotional side) [see more about the metaphor]. The company that integrates both components while it shapes the Path gets the desired action.
90% of us go online before making a purchase decision
In Google we trust, and while we ask our friends what they think about a product or service, we use search to get all the information we need as back up for our decision — remember when we talked about writing compelling content? There needs to be proof of value with the value.
This means that companies need to:
- start thinking like a media company — and out-teach their competitors
- understand customers content needs — what do they like and share?
- integrate — think sum greater than the parts
In other words, see the whole online experience as coordinated, even the parts not controlled directly by you. How do you get there? By choreographing the experience, creating the context. See 4 hot new trends in marketing as context building for reference.
Mobile and social are inWhat do these two have in common?
- they’re always on — we’re both mobile and social, often at the same time
- have immediacy — we reach out to others as a matter of course, now in our pockets
- they’re measurable in real time
- thanks to the network effects, they have global reach
- subscriptions continue to grow — both people signing on social networks and getting smart phones
Digital media is the room in which you hold the conversation. It still comes down to saying, doing, or producing something valuable for your customer. Do you agree/disagree with this statement?
Engagement = trustWe’re back to the future.
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.