Two stories caught my eye as I was traveling this past week.
Over a period of time
The first one is also a good example of what a true exchange of viewpoints looks like online. Crossing the Chasm author Geoffrey Moore responds to a post written by Randy Bias who in turn offers his perspective on an article written by Moore on cloud computing.
It's a good example of the kind of conversation we can start via blogs and social networks for the benefit of thinking together. I wish we had this elegance addressing issues responsibly in the marketing community.
Bias' main point:
The largest Internet businesses on the planet figured out a new way to operate IT at scale. It was born of necessity. All of those techniques, technologies, and learnings are now bleeding out to the mainstream. They create a radical shift in IT economics, in the range of 10x more efficiency in some cases. This technology shift is “cloud computing” and it will replace enterprise computing over some period of time as the dominant IT paradigm in the same way that enterprise computing displaced mainframe computing.
And its implications (emphasis mine):
The new IT model isn’t for all businesses. Not all can invest in or manage it. Many will simply consume the fruits of others labor over the wire in the form of “as-a-Service” offerings. Quite a few enterprises can and will adopt the new model *behind the firewall* in order to stay competitive. This is already happening amongst our customers.
Moore's counter point (emphasis mine):
the key phrase in the italicized paragraph above, for someone in my profession (consultant and venture advisor), is over some period of time. This begs the question, When? It is when—not what, not why, not even how—that keeps pragmatic investors of all kinds—VCs, hi-tech CEOs, Fortune 500 CIOs—up at night.
The author then goes on to draw out the difference between having an understanding of what is happening and the steps that need to follow to do something with it. Great, the CIO gets it, now how is she going to apply this knowledge? What can she do with it?
It was one of the comments in response to the Bias post that made me connect the dots between this thread and loyalty. Mike Kavis, in talking about the retail industry, says:
Retail solutions have always focused around high touch integration with Point of Sale (POS) systems where servers and network infrastructure have to be added to each store. We turned the industry upside down by moving all that processing to the cloud and literally can turn on a store in minutes as opposed to scheduling people and carriers and visiting stores over a period of weeks or even months.
[...] The cost of executing at a store went from thousands of dollars per down to a hundred. All stores could be managed from a central location as opposed to hiring an army of field service technicians. The cloud made this business model work.
Which frees resources that can be redeployed toward initiatives that directly impact service.
A word from the sponsor on loyalty
Noah Brier has written an interesting post to address a couple of points missed in a NYT story on what we can learn from NASCAR.
When we think about sponsorship, we generally lump these initiatives into "marketing". It's not entirely off base. However, we stop short of considering the value of "made possible by" and the corresponding reciprocity.
When brands sponsor NASCAR they get a real understanding from the fans that they are responsible for the car on the track. The drivers get it, the teams get and the fans get it. This is hugely different from slapping your logo on something [...]
The numbers in NASCAR back this up. I used to have them, but the league and teams generally trot around a number of 80%+ loyalty of a fan to its driver’s sponsor. If Jimmie Johnson is your guy you go to Lowe’s not Home Depot. That’s just how it works.
I do like where he's going on activation as well. Building brand equity is not solely an external activity where a company goes out and buys a bunch of advertising, runs direct marketing and PR, etc. That conversation about the value of what we deliver is fundamentally an internal dialogue.
We look at what we do well, what customers like about our interactions, and double down on taking friction away from internal processes and behaviors so we can do more of it.
Twice in my career, I have run advertising programs in media that were directed to communicating to employees as primary audience. It wasn't the only thing we did, yet it was a significant gesture. And when things clicked on the inside, we rocked it with customers.
Loyalty starts with the organization itself.
Just like the cloud is an enabler in the IT conversation, sponsoring this kind of awareness with an action plan is the enabler of loyalty. Hopefully this is helpful to you as you look at the disruption created by the walls between the organization and its stakeholders becoming wafer-thin.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.