Category

Media

Want More Sales? Trust in Me!

By Corporate Strategy, Marketing, Media, Social Media

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about sales and how social platforms and processes have affected them. Sales, in case we’ve all forgotten, is the mother of all ROIs. No matter what marketing or business development efforts you engage in, the rubber meets the proverbial road at sales. Did all our effort generate more closed business, or didn’t it?

The social, mobile web has unleashed a torrent of attention deficit issues. There are so many “opportunities” thrown at us everywhere, so many chances to “connect” and “share” anytime that it takes a LOT to get our attention, and the usual cold call or marketing drivel just doesn’t make the grade. At all. As soon as we see an ad, we’re out. To make matters worse (for the seller), we can get most of the information we need to make a decision online these days. To rise above the crowd, companies need a serious advantage, a serious leg up. So what is that leg up?

Trust.

Trust? Wow, OK. So how do you build that with perfect strangers when you’re under a lot of pressure to close new business from the higher-ups? Well, it’s not simple, but it’s well worth the effort. The good news is that one really great feature of all these amazing new social, digital and mobile platforms is that they provide an unprecedented opportunity to LISTEN and absorb conversations that may be taking place around your brand, industry, and process that were never previously available. That means that if you choose, you can start anticipating your customers’ needs by paying attention the conversations they are already having without you. It’s like 24-7 market research that helps you know when and how to interact with a potential customer so that your abilities are aligned with his needs.

Will this chair fit in my office? When’s the payback on that power purchase agreement? Do I need seven or eight generators to run my office? What’s the best way to select a delivery company? When you couple listening with a decent content development strategy, you can become the go-to thought leader in your space because you listened to these questions and created content to proactively answer them. Trust can be further established, often with people you haven’t even talked to yet.

So when you DO finally choose to engage in a sales call, you might have already provided the answers to a potential customer’s business problem via some other process like a white paper, tweet or an online referral. If you offer those solutions freely, in a consultative way, even more trust can be established. You have the proper context at the right time to sell successfully. At that point, it’s not even selling—it’s helping.

To win business these days, you have to be engaged in a lot more places, and over a longer period, to establish trust. Trust is the only way to hold a prospect’s attention in the attention deficit world.

Find Your Brand’s Cheerleaders

By Corporate Strategy, Marketing, Media, Social Media

Bye Bye BirdieI’ve been having some really interesting meetings today and my head is spinning with contradicting thoughts. Most of them have to do with the nature of “marketing” as we know it, and I’ll admit I find myself wondering if I can ever advocate for it again.

Most of my colleagues would react with something like “what, are you TRYING to get fired?”

But before we go too far, what I mean is that I doubt I can ever really advocate for it the way it used to be, when it was all top-down messaging from marketing departments flush with quantitative research telling them what to say and how to say it. Words like “convince,” and “convert” seem somehow antiquated, as if the era of command and control is just over.

“Dude, what is WRONG with you?” my friends will ask.

What’s wrong with me is that in this era of social software and ubiquitous mobility, a period of ever-present content and messaging has meshed almost completely with daily life. The inexorable move towards technology and digital footprints among even the youngest and poorest demographics means that content sharing is like talking. Hell, it’s REPLACED talking at my house. Some people are even convinced it’s maybe, sort of OK for computers to start doing the messaging without much input from humans at all!

I’ll pass, thanks.

So what’s my point? I firmly believe that in order for commerce enablers to continue to succeed, they are going to have to get human again. They are going to have to use all their smarts, tools, and capabilities to find groups of people who share their values already, who have personal reasons for wanting to consume or advocate for their offerings. They have to seek out and find their cheerleaders, their true fans, and deliver more than those folks expect on a regular basis. They are going to have to enchant them, because there are too many inputs all day long for anyone to give a brand a second thought unless they do.

Sure, the era of Big Data is just beginning. But to what end? My opinion is that it has to be to find those cheerleaders and make them happy, because the era of big marketing to folks who don’t share your values is on the way out, if it’s not already gone.

Discuss.

Meet the Media, C’ville ***POSTPONED***

By Media

***DUE TO A POWER OUTAGE AT CITYSPACE IN DOWNTOWN CHARLOTTESVILLE, THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED AND WILL BE RESCHEDULED ****

The members of the media in Charlottesville are really curious: who are these local people using Twitter  to follow them? Who are the Facebook fans of local TV, newspaper, radio and other news sources? Why do they engage with the media and one another using social platforms?

At the same time, members of the community seem to enjoy engaging with members of the media online (either on Twitter or Facebook) so much, that it seems only natural to move that conversation from the online space to “In Real Life.”

So we’re taking the conversation to CitySpace! Along with our friends from Charlottesville Tomorrow, Jaggers Communications is conducting an experiment:

  1. What happens when you put members of the media in the room with their fans and followers?
  2. What kind of discussion ensues when the online conversation goes offline?
  3. What would the community say to media, and the local media say, when addressing the community, about how social media is used in Charlottesville?

Let us know if you plan to come, and invite others here: http://twtvite.com/meetthecvillemedia

Why Spotify is More of The Same Old Thing

By Communications, Corporate Strategy, Marketing, Media, Social Media


Anyone who knows me at all knows I’ve been a semi-pro musician for a loooong time and that I love to follow trends in that industry. Please read the following quotes:

Spotify have always had something in common with the record companies…
They’re just another exploitative middleman and in truth don’t care about the music or the artists, they only care about themselves. When a shop gives you free tomatoes does it make you love them? … or does it leave a bad taste once you realize they’re screwing the farmers on your behalf?

Kenny Laurenson
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i’d feel sick after reading this article, but i’m listening to aretha.
all an artist is asking for is r-e-s-p-e-c-t. is there any other business in the world that could operate this way? could you imagine going to the gas pump, without prices listed but you had to buy and they’d charge your card an undisclosed price?

marvin etzioni

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Spotify ties its service to Facebook or Twitter and thinks that’s cool? Paying for their premium service should mean privacy. I can’t even set their app to not post on my FB wall without losing the ability to listen to music. So for something that could be so cool, it becomes just another piece of malware.

Bye bye, Spotify

Dave Abbitt

Spotify was supposed to be the new model for legitimate, social sharing of music. Everyone was excited because they could listen to anything they wanted, anywhere they were. The holy grail!! It was going to take iTunes for a ride, usher in the new cloud-based model. But it turns out they are paying artists a pittance, mostly shilling for the labels, and sucking your profile from Facebook right into their vortex. They also do a pretty disappointing job with search, catalog accuracy, and curation.

I have decided from all this that the intersection of privacy and commerce is essentially nonexistent; comments like those above along with the IPO of Facebook signal the end of any hope of that dream for me. Now that they have unending pressure to increase revenues every quarter, they will be forced to exploit all of our data for their own purposes and folks will run, not walk away. If the reactions of these Spotify users are any indication, we should be prepared for a revolt against big data without transparency. Hell, maybe I was naive.

What do you think? Am I overreacting? Is there a way to have profits and privacy?

In Which I Cave to Oxford Comma Pressure

By Communications, Media

I was never an Oxford comma person. It always seemed superfluous to me, and my history as a public relations professional, which required writing according to A.P. Style, ensured that I was Oxford-comma free.

And then there was this:

. . . and a family dinner in which my adult son and his fiancé, my husband, and my 15-year-old daughter all ganged up on me and made the case for the Oxford comma. They were convincing.

In addition, this year, I started working with Rusty. He’s an Oxford comma guy. And unless I want to spend all my time editing out commas, I think I just need to move on and accept it.

Where do you stand in the Oxford comma argument?