Everyone wants to know how to sell better, yet everywhere we turn, we have people who want to learn to become better buyers. Directionally, these are push and pull. The question we asked yesterday was do we push through the current challenges as is, or do we alter ourselves to meet this new landscape? There is a similar tension there.
There are two forces that are meeting somewhere in between to help build and shape context - that of media, which was traditionally push, and that of community, which in its nascency was pure pull. They are both changing and meeting more in the confusing middle. Confusing because to a certain extend unpredictable.
But not impossible to navigate. Quite the opposite in fact, if you're willing to put some skin in the game both on the front end and on the back end of where the two meet - interaction and analysis. The context, the playing field, is story. I will say it again for those who are constantly searching for the Holy Grail in value props - story wins, because it can be adapted and built upon by the community in the media.
Your clients and customers are not only making up their own minds, but social proof, social capital and trust economies are forcing many businesses to realize that their communities are making up their minds collectively. That the value proposition is only as steadfast as the values of those who put it to the test.
Interactions of the micro kind
By definition, when I hit publish on this post, I am still pushing content out there. However, you may comment, link to it, quote it, build on it, etc. In marketing, we still call all the times you come in contact with content from a company or a brand touch points. A phone conversation and a customer support call are still content.
What digital is allowing us to do, is to shift from orchestrated touch points to voluntary micro interactions. In other words, when I put my content out here, I do not necessarily know or can predict within a certain degree of accuracy how much you will interact with it. However, the mere fact that I am exposing new ideas and stories to your reactions and engaging in interactions with you, allows us to build context together on the front end.
In measurable terms, there are 772 posts here, 169 trackbacks, and 4,775 comments - roughly 6/7 per post. If you consider that this includes the weeks and months that only 5 people read my blog, 4 of which were in my immediate family, this is not bad at all. However, there are other interactions occurring off this content on sites like Twitter, FriendFeed, plus what was revealed to me by running searches on Google.
Feedback can also be of the non explicit kind. And that is where the media comes in.
Analysis without paralysis
Behind the scene, there are plenty of tools embedded in media that allow you to measure right about anything. I use a combination of Google Analytics, TypePad and Google Alerts for the bulk of my insights on data about this blog. I should probably become more sophisticated with the tools, but the three so far have given me a good sense of what is going on.
Here's a snapshot of my recent traffic from Google Analytics:
You can see that Twitter is a big referral site. My take is that people have the ability to sample the content in bite size formats, they have interactions of the micro kind, and then feel comfortable coming in for more. My being moderately active on FriendFeed is providing additional traffic.
If you've been reading me for a while, you know that I take particular care in providing images and charts that break down the information in a visual sense. I'm a visual thinker - I can see what I want to represent. You are responding to that. I was comparing the ranking on this chart with that of Fred Wilson, and thinking about the meaning and value of the difference, as he suggested.
Delicious comes in at number 11 and Facebook at number 13, which is remarkable given that I do not have an active profile on the social network. There is lots of information here.
When I look at the top search key words, corporate blogs and start a blog top the charts. I can do a cross reference with the topics of my recent event speaking and workshops and there is a direct correlation. One of the associated brand kind.
Media and community, interaction and analysis. We are headed for a more systematic approach to all the micro results we can elicit, with the caveat that the relationship piece, that on the response end, is where the adjusting by listening needs to happen. Marketing by context building is where (1) knowing your friends comes together with (2) value - we help architect it by (3) listening.
Gavin gives us a thought-provoking angle on planning for context over planning for placement and Sean tells us about a system for measuring change through stories. These references are great examples of bridging the inside with the outside of the business. You can act big by thinking small. Isn't this also one of the reasons why you are embracing the digital space?
Where are we headed tomorrow?
© 2006-2009 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.