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Social Media Marketing: value-add according to whom?

February 12th, 2009 by Lesley White · 6 Comments

As I was riding the bus into town this morning I was thinking about the notion that somehow many marketers turned the world upside down and no one seemed to notice. It became, all about ‘what message do I want to push’ and ‘how do I want them to feel’ and ‘how do I convince them they will love/need/want Widget A’. Many marketers are lost and confused.  They hold long meetings to try to establish why customers aren’t buying “Widget A” over the competitor’s “Widget a”.  Widget A being clearly superior and worth an additional $25 since it incorporates a lexicon-algorhythm-solutions-generatormatic-thingie ;)

Time to wake up.  The company and brand were never at the centre of all this.  It was always the customer.  Only now with borderless access to information and highly connected communities ’they’ are onto you, or us, faster than before: exchanging information, pointing out weaknesses in logic, unsupported claims and anything else they perceive as spin. In the new world order the customer is your boss, your employer.  Well they always have been, it’s just that the reality is only dawning on many now. So, how about treating them accordingly?

The next time you have an opportunity to speak to a customer or connect with them online, how about using this as the starting premise? Is this (ie what I have to say, or show, or tell) going to:

  1. be useful (help them make a more informed decision, or make their life easier)
  2. be interesting (add insight/something worth pondering) or
  3. entertain them (add joy/fun).

If the answer is ‘yes, I think so’ then check and recheck.  Is this ‘value add’ according to the company, or to the customer? Before putting it out there go back to listening, monitoring conversations, trends and ideas.

Rule number 1 of Public Relations is know your target audience.  In other words the more you know about your ‘customers’ the easier to put yourself in their shoes and then ask, “Would this be interesting to me, useful to me, fun for me?” Customers have always been our bosses, our employers.  Online research helps us work out better how to please them and hopefully, with great creative spark and ideas to interpret that information and put that knowledge  into action, delight them.

Tags: Lesley White · network pr · Digital Communication · New Media Measurement

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Carl Gallagher // Feb 12, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Interesting post Lesley. Very true. I know many clients who are great at keeping up with the latest buzz and hype (and will spend marketing dollars there), but don’t understand the connection between doing this, and ensuring that it is the right strategy for the people they are targeting.

  • 2 Gerry // Feb 12, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Nice theory Lesley; alas I think genuine ‘customer-centricity’ may be too hard for many orgs…even in our empowered media domain, looks like biz-as-usual (ie optimise ‘n’ leech) for now. Also on ‘know your audience’, I’ve just posted a case of Web2.0 spam on my blog. Gerry

  • 3 Lesley White // Feb 13, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Carl, Thanks for stopping by. Sounds like you are having to do alot of client education too?

    Gerry, I live in hope. Some switched on companies are already out there and those who do embrace true customer-centricity will be extraordinary.

  • 4 Recently linked (11-Feb-2009 to 13-Feb-2009) - zumio // Feb 13, 2009 at 10:04 am

    […] Social Media: value-add according to who? - Lesley White on value add: "The company and brand were never at the centre of all this. It was always the customer. Only now with borderless access to information and highly connected communities ’they’ are onto you, or us, faster than before…" […]

  • 5 Kimota // Feb 23, 2009 at 8:44 am

    This is definitely true and, although obvious to many in marketing, is still like teaching quantum mechanics to a puppy to many business managers brought up on the old-school thinking that whoever shouts hardest and longest wins the customer.

    I continually come across businesses wanting to use Web2.0 methods such as Twitter but treat them in an old-school way by making everything about the call to action and the quick push to a sale instead of determining real value from the relationship.

  • 6 Kate Richardson // Feb 23, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Unfortunately clients have other customers and they include bosses, sales staff, trade etc and this sometimes gets in the way of being at one with their target audience

    I had a client say to me today, the strategy is not about (insert interesting platform) it’s about (insert brand here).

    In this case, I think it’s just a lack of education

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