According to Forrester, it might be confusion, politics and the shock of the new. Get past that and you’re faced with a world of opportunity — to reinvent pieces of your business that haven’t traditionally been considered “marketing”, to rethink your approach to audiences and new markets, and to get creative in involving your customers in all sorts of innovation. This week’s Five For Friday is all about making change happen. Here are The Five for the week ending May 11th:
How to Cure Social Media Paralysis
CMOs and Marketing VPs agree that social has a huge impact on how consumers view brands, and yet they’re still not moving to incorporate it into their overall marketing strategy. Why? Confusion, company politics, and endless new distractions lead to a lack of movement, according to a new study by Forrester. More importantly, Marketing heads know they need a strategy, but can’t seem to come up with one. A few pointers: learn from others who are already working off a successful social strategy. Be willing to evolve and change as you go along — don’t jump ship if your first entrance isn’t exactly a hit. Reorganize, refocus, and try again. Finally, differentiate between platforms and plan accordingly. It’s not coincidence that some of the most successful companies on social networks have people devoted to each platform, sometimes audiences within those platforms. Think of social as a loose collection of many opportunities to engage and build relationships, in real time, rather than just another way to beam out your company’s agenda.
Customer Service A Strategic Imperative For CMOs
Consumers are pickier, harder to please, and more informed than ever before. There’s really no fooling them any longer. What to do? Ramping up efforts to truly pay attention to your customer service is a fine start. Bad reputations spread faster than ever — so who wouldn’t want more stories about how simple and enjoyable your customers’ experiences are, and fewer customer complaints. Zappos is a well-known leader in the category of customer satisfaction. Unlike many other companies (especially online retailers) they make the idea of satisfying their customer a company-wide obsession. It isn’t about just having a streamlined feedback box, call/email service or team looking after the issue–the pursuit has to permeate the company from top to bottom and side to side. These days, if you’re not worried about what’s making your customers happy, you’re not worried about staying in business. Social media is certainly a necessary part of the mix, but it must be implemented wisely and strategically–a wrong move can land you many more angry customers. Think hard about how social fits into your company’s overall marketing/customer relations strategy before launching the tweets.
Content Is No Longer King
As you know, content and the way that content is distributed has seen a massive upheaval. But while everyone’s been making a fuss over content and media, the real aim here should be (and has always been) to reach an audience. And how exactly are you planning to use all these new distribution channels to reach your audience? Don’t sideline it or make it somebody else’s night job — or even worse, someone else’s problem. Create a position that focuses chiefly on audience development. Draft a strategy based on how those audiences are finding and using your content. Develop systems to organize and manage all that audience data, and use that information to put content where your audiences want it.
Are You Targeting a Phantom Market?
Good piece about choosing the right markets to enter to further your growth agenda. Using Kellogg breakfast cereal in India as as the primary example, it goes on to say that it’s not always so easy to simply capture a small fragment of that huge, established market. Sometimes your company needs put in the legwork to identify a brand new market, and deliver on its needs fully. How can you accurately gauge market interest and their value for your company and product? Get accurate, honest insights into the existing markets and consumer behaviors. Don’t assume anything without solid data to back it up. After you have that, create an innovative product that is made for this real market and offers something the competitors don’t and that the market genuinely wants–even if they don’t realize it yet.
Five Things All Companies Can Learn from Kickstarter (and Amanda Palmer)
Marketers and companies can learn a few things from Kickstarter’s runaway success. It’s a crowdsourced fundraising platform driven by a community of individuals who believe passionately in the projects they choose to fun — and those projects can be almost anything. And the impact on the projects can be jaw-dropping. Amanda Palmer is a singer who raised nearly half-a-million dollars to fund the recording, distribution and marketing of her latest album (an advance far greater than she would have received from even the most major of labels). But aside from the obvious upside for project starters, the system bakes in ample upside for the funders — and that’s where the biggest lessons for businesses lie. Benefits for funders (aside from the satisfaction of giving of course) include perks unique to each project and creator, and this excitement makes something that’s normally tedious (fundraising) into a really exciting, social exchange between creators and the people who want the creation. The point is: allow your fans, customers, communities and/or audiences to engage creatively with you and one another, bake in the right kinds of benefits and rewards, and the results may surprise you in the best way.