May 23, 2014

The Truth about Selling in a Social Marketing World With social marketing, it can be difficult to understand how to sell in a world when you are told NOT to..... Don't sell just create great social marketing; you understand the advice but reasons don't pay the bills! So how do we reconcile - 'marketing great reasons' with actually 'selling' to keep your business going? Here is how I like to think about it.... In years gone by, we had two and selling. One gave the reasons and one built the relationships so those reasons were heard. Now we have the web and the web replaces the miles of driving up and down the motorway delivering those messages. We don't need a car, we need a content strategy to define the right road to the right customer! So does that mean that sales is dead? Should we put all of our resources behind marketing? No. BUT we do need a mindset change. We need to think about teams of people, rather than functions, teams who create the ideas and the reasons why your are different and why people should buy from you. We then need to 'sell' these ideas and reasons to our internal teams so they understand, and buy in to, the real difference your product or service makes to the market. The best way to do this is to communicate in person, have honest open discussions that link the concepts to your business mission, your business plan and the goals of those individiuals. We then create content that travels up and down the motorway! Each time a potential customer interacts with us they sense our passion, they sense our message, they sense a unified brand. So IT creates a website that reflects the message. HR recruits talent that buy into the message. Finance develops reports to show not just the numbers but the measurement of the objectives. Production search for ways to improve the efficiency, quality and speed of the core elements of the service or production. Credit control act as problem solvers. They highlight issues which are causing issues to the customer, they don't accept credits as part of the business they work tirelessly with the business to remove excuses not to pay. Choose your department - they don't do a "job" they are on a mission to use the skills of their department to help strengthen the reason to buy. You then leave the selling element to the customer. The customer WANTS to buy - it is just that their inner mind is looking for reasons not to! The more you remove the problems, the more you give reasons why they SHOULD buy, then you remove their inner resistance and get them to convert their own mind. You follow up, you make every transaction the same so that the customer then acts as a referral engine to their friends. They are not the sales people for your brand as some would say....they are your marketers. They give reasons why their friends should convert THEIR inner...
Using Mobile Surveys for Immediate Customer Insights Mobile surveys is something that intrigues me - so I asked Mark Penson to share his insights into mobile surveys (watch out tomorrow for our interview on The Engaging Brand podcast). Here are Mark's views on gaining valuable customer insights. Forget Email Surveys: Use Mobile Surveys for Immediate Customer Insights Paper surveys have probably been around since papyrus. We’ve always been interested to know what others were thinking, right? We’ve all seen the surveyors at the grocery store, armed with clipboard, pen and paper form, intercepting folks lugging bags out to their cars to ask about products and services. In-home surveys came via parcel post, in over-stuffed envelopes with any manner of surveys, from private businesses to the city collecting opinions about new urbanization plans. As PCs became more popular, so did online surveys. But while they improved ease of distribution compare to paper, email surveys still left a lot of qualitative room for improvement. People are busy when they’re online at work, and doing any number of things on their home computer that have nothing to do with waiting to take a survey. Alas, harried shoppers, people sorting their mail and over-worked employees are not ideal survey candidates. After all, the more reasons you give them to avoid your survey the less likely you are to get valuable feedback—if you get any feedback at all. Email surveys aren’t keeping up with the times When email surveys don’t automatically land in a recipient’s junk mail folder, they’re often ushered there by the very person it was intended for—hardly the interaction the surveyor intended. It’s no wonder that email response rates are off the wrong end of the charts these days, and getting further afield. When responses do come in, the value of the information is limited. Why? Because of the lag between the interaction with the brand and the customer actually answering the survey. The business has to collect the email address, get the email to the right department or outside resource to add to the database, and then work it into the survey stream. If the email address is an accurate one, and if the survey doesn’t land in the trash, an email survey often lingers for days before the recipient gets around to answering it. This lag works against the collection of time-sensitive consumer insights like wanting details of a customer’s experience to a car dealership or a bed-and-breakfast. Or soliciting the nuances of a meal or event. The value of the insights, and the details consumers can recall decreases as the time between their experience and answering your survey increases. It’s logical, but for too long has sufficed as the norm. Clearly, email surveys’ role in collecting viable, valuable consumer feedback to inform marketing and other functions is limited at best. At worst, it’s a waste of time and money. It’s time for a new norm. Use people’s mobile devices to ask them about your brand—while they’re experiencing your brand Fewer and fewer people leave their homes...

Anna Farmery

Social Marketing Architect, Speaker, Author and in spare time completing PhD on the future of the social business model

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