In business today if you don't add value or have a unique offering or experience then you risk becoming either commoditised, disintermediated or both. That equals either reduced margins or lost sales.
Every business needs customers and sales. In the old days of strong conventional media influence (TV, radio, print) there was a direct relationship between advertising spend and sales. This benefited big brands and advertising industry "wizardry" model. Brands were at the centre of the circle. In todays increasingly fragmented media landscape that model no longer stands true.
The Customer is at the centre of the Universe - smarter, with rapid access to information, sharing and a click away.
From an advertising point of view todays consumer is less influenced by interrupt and repeat forms of irrelevant advertising messages but increasingly influenced by trusted friend word of mouth.
Think restaurants - you've been searching for a good local Yum Cha - one day you're talking "Yum Cha" with a trusted "foodie" (note relevance) friend and they recommend a place you haven't heard of where the food is great. Note: A point on "trusted relevance" - if my Aunt Mable who's idea of a great meal is Fast Charlies down the road then her opinion does not hold much credibility, weight or "influence".
Word of Mouth is increasingly the most important element to new buyer decision making.
Think of McDonalds and how they've effectively implemented "cradle to grave" targeted and engaged kids who influence their parents decision making - the paths of least resistance.
It is easier to market to friends then strangers.
Herein lies the challenge for all businesses to become customer centric, engaged, marketing to influence the influencers, creating tribes and a groundswell.
Five Elements of a Social Media Approach
In terms of social media then in my opinion it's very much like running a pub.
- you need to create or meet a unique need (overall Digital Media Strategy),
- people need to know about you (Marketing),
- their first experience has to be great (Experience) - worth sharing,
- you need to provide a range of tools (the technology) and content for them ("sneezers") to share
- and then you need constantly engage with the market, service existing customers and innovate.
The 5 Elements Digital Success
- Fast – news, ideas information spreads like wildfire
- Easy – technology – share, implement, create
- Personal - conversation, engagement, trust
- Creative – be remarkable, step out side the box
- Return on Investment
Social media questions to begin?
- Where are you now and where do you want to be?
- List all your current customer touch points - is it fragmented and departmentalised? What communications channels are most used and effective?
- Do you have a centralised CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System - are your customers on Twitter and Facebook? How often do you talk?
- Who are the influencers in your customers sales process and external industry experts in your market - how well do you know them? Do you read and comment on their blogs.
- Why do your customers REALLY buy from you and what can you do to improve?
Footnote: From "Sneezers" to "Flamers". The local Yum Cha we'd become customer advocates "Sneezers" (about a 1/2 dozen visits in the last month) dumped us in a terrible corridor table yesterday (ie should never offer this to any customer) - a matter of being too greedy for the $$$. We walked out, to be offerred a better table. We ate becuase we were hungry but will never return.