I've been thinking about the integration challenge with social media. Advertising, marketing, and public relations need to work together - and in this environment, they need to put the customer is the driver's seat. I'm sure you'll find reason to build on the analogy or help me rebuild it.
With social media, new marketing means taking a look at how you design and build your whole business. We said before that execution is key to results. How do you get all your marketing communications working together to deliver performance?
For starters you design a product or service the market wants - use research and feedback to gain insights both learning from the past and looking into the future. Believe it or not, even though you may be covering the same road, you want the customer experience to be very different in the end - to set yourself apart.
Just like a good Pininfarina design, you want to achieve beauty, elegance, and functionality with your marketing communications, so that you can convert content - the communications (I did not say messaging, did I?) fuel - into performance. Start by discovering or uncovering the people who need your services.
Since it is possible to take analogies too far - please don't take them for a ride, do allow them to test drive what they could experience in a normal day with you. The authentic impressions will help you convert them faster than showing a polished front with no backing.
So how do aspects of communications that are good at creative, at relationships and at sales work together? These five areas are examples of online tactic ideas, you can integrate off line activities as well - different demographics and buyers are more responsive in different media.
(1.) thought leadership
Content is the fuel of marketing and with the social Web it is more important than ever. Valuable content is the 95% of your online game when you've taken into consideration the 5% that search engine optimization (SEO) brings to the table.
Who says you can lead only with articles in the Harvard Business Review? Thought leadership is judged by the reader (your customers) the community (their peers) and the industry (your peers). So it equals valuable information and insights.
Give people ways to share your content. Use bookmarking widgets, email to a friend option, RSS feeds. Also use outposts with embed codes like SlideShare.
This is not just SEO. It's being where your customers are and giving them a compelling reason to invest their time and attention with you. Not just reading your message, potentially kicking the tires on a product demo or checking out your service with you.
It's being in the right place at the right time to get them acquainted with the experience behind the brand.
Give people ways to find your content. Participate by bookmarking good content - yours and that of others - and commenting, adding ideas on Delicious and FriendFeed, for example.
It's no secret that if marketing's fuel is content, its engine is sales. Listening occurs between fuel and performance. There are may tools available today to start a good listening program and online it is easier than ever to get to know those who are talking about you and help them talk with you.
In addition to the mechanics of tonality or sentiment, time frame, quality of mentions vs. competition, potential for response and by which department, reach of mention within each network (link backs, retweets, followers, web traffic, subscribers, etc.), you can take action within your listening program. This week we will take a deep dive on one way to do that.
Give people easy ways to talk with you. Enable comments and trackbacks on your blogs, implement chat boxes on your site.
We described before how being responsive increases your reputational index. Let's separate for a moment public display with responding. You don't need to look responsive (public display) to be responsive. In some cases, a personal email that communicates how you're going to fix the problem is in fact a much better option.
In some others, indeed showing true responsiveness by taking action will give you higher mileage. Make sure you do it for the right reasons, though.
Give people ways to know you're responding. Answer online and then follow up with details by email, for example.
This means leaning forward and having that interaction with your customers. Without this the rest is a house of cards carefully constructed but not believable. A very smart and practical business leader I talked with recently described it this way - lean forward, take the initiative, listen aggressively.
If you think about it, the one time when you have the opportunity to really appreciate your car make and model is when you take it in for service. Is the interaction going to cost you big time, or is maintenance an opportunity to deepen the relationship with the brand?
Give people an exceptional experience. Period. No matter where they contact you, lean forward and embrace the conversation. While you're at it, share with them the data you have about their purchases and transactions.
In social media, it's possible to integrate your marketing communications disciplines so they can help you with these five areas. We'll look more closely at how in a follow up post.
Today at Fast Company Expert blog we take a look at the importance of information sharing for customer sentiment - and good service.
What are your thoughts? Can you interpret your customers' dreams and design an experience like this beauty here? As a customer, I'm pretty sure you still find a way to make purchases when the experience you receive is worth it. Am I wrong?
[image of marketing-refurbished 2006 Ferrari 612 Kappa, special build by Pininfarina]