culture change

Replacing email blasts with relationship marketing

No, it was the other guy, the guy who bought what worked, the one in charge of the real budget–he wasn’t easy, but he was worth it… ~Seth Godin

THE CURRENT SITUATION: Ever receive an email with a sales pitch? We all do. And what do you do with 90% of these? You do not have time to read them and you trash them. Many times even when the pitch is about something you really want or need. There just isn’t time to open that email and read the pitch, click on the link and do all the digital “paperwork” to get what you want.

Receiving an email blast from a company is different than receiving a helpful solution in the context of a comment thread in social networks. The former is likely to end up in the junk folder. The latter is “in context” and will be read every time. This is why corporations are ceasing email blast campaigns and building relationship marketing teams. This is why corporations are building customized communities based on customer needs and competitors’ shortcomings.

Eleftherios Hatziiannou writes, “Marketers spent fortunes every year for marketing research and data to understand precisely who their target group is, what they want and where they can reach them. Today people publicly say what they want by using social media. Wouldn`t it make sense to learn how to participate in this new kind of marketplace and thereby turn conversations into commerce?” (SOURCE: http://www.peopleizers.com)

THE DEEPER REALITY WITHIN CORPORATIONS: An organization that moves away from email to internal communications networks, such as Salesforce Chatter, Yammer or Sharepoint is an organization that gets the value of relationship marketing. In addition, such an organization gets the value of knowing the context in which an employee/customer is complaining.

Brian Solis, Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group, writes, “Collaboration takes more than the idea of Facebook behind a firewall. This is about aligning people around a common vision, to encourage engagement beyond the teams you know, to create inside and outside experiences that matter to employees, customers, and partners. Enterprise social networks represent the technology to bring your vision to life as they are merely tools that mimic the way that people connect and communicate in the real world.” (SOURCE: What’s the Future of Business – http://www.wtfbusiness.com)

It’s one thing to have an email, a name and a role in our marketing database. And then to blast a prescribed formula to segmented lists. It’s a far deeper action to have a complaint, a context AND an email, name and role. When an organization has EVERY complaint out there about a competitor/themselves PLUS the current contact info for those who are complaining, they have an opportunity to engage in conversations with those complainers one-to-one. This is called relationship marketing.

“We created a contextual social space where people interested by a topic (in this case the World Economic Forum – http://weflive.com/kpmg) could follow what what said about it and the brand was opening a discussion channel in this precise context,” writes Nicolas Dengler of Shore.li, http://www.shore.li

The question is whether they will use such information in a way that the customer truly gets and wants to respond to. Will they mobilize their marketing team to offer solutions one-to-one in social comment threads? Or will they simply do another email blast?

Ted Rubin, a world expert in relationship marketing, writes, “Creating the opportunity for customers to share via a social platform allows people to give feedback/suggestions real-time and therefore increases the brand benefit exponentially.” (SOURCE: http://www.tedrubin.com/blog/)

When asked about the difference between corporations running email blasts and those running Relationship Marketing campaigns, Giles Palmer, CEO of Brandwatch, the world’s premier social media monitoring service, said, “The answer’s obvious, isn’t it? The difference between email marketing and relationship marketing reminds me of a guy driving a car around a town centre with a big microphone screaming their message out versus someone walking through the crowd shaking people’s hands and talking WITH them. If the broadcast message is funny or informative, ok, it’s a way to get to a large number of people quickly. But if it’s not, it’s just noise. And who wants to be remembered as the noisy guy in the room.” (SOURCE: Personal call with Giles Palmer of Brandwatch, April 2013)

This transition from email blasts to relationship marketing IS the future of marketing and sales. And it is the next step in moving from a culture that looks at people as digits TO a culture that sees people as people.

SOLUTIONS:
Solutions for corporations to build relationship include (in order):

a) an audit of all complaints/feedback about a product/service (using listening tech, such as Social Media Monitoring tools),
b) a creation of responses internally and/or with the help of a content-marketing agency,
c) the assignment of an individual/team to respond within 24 hours to complaints/feedback in ALL social streams and comment feeds,
d) the creation of a “living” database where these responses and the resulting sales are documented.

PURPOSE OF SOLUTIONS:

1) To identify who is complaining about our competitor.
2) To offer solutions to these people directly.
3) To improve our products/services through knowing their complaints.
4) To increase awareness of our comprehensive understanding of this market niche AND of what our customer needs.
5) To increase sales.

IN BRIEF: Social prospects are developed THROUGH providing solutions in social comment feeds. Conversion occurs when a prospect finds the solution satisfactory AND better than a competitor’s solution. The process involves: identification of needs through listening, providing better solutions to these needs than competitors, follow up with people who want to use the better solution.

RESOURCES FOR FURTHER STUDY:

1. THE ULTIMATE EMAIL STATS LIST VIA HUBSSPOT:
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33901/The-Ultimate-List-of-2012-Email-Marketing-Stats.aspx

2. THE GRAND GUIDE TO SOCIAL SELLING VIA ELOQUA:
http://www.slideshare.net/Eloqua/the-grande-guide-to-social-selling

3: HOW TO DO RESEARCH IN SOCIAL NETWORKS VIA BRANDWATCH:
http://www.brandwatch.com/knowledge-base/ebooks/

From Here to There: How To Open a New World

“Why are you on the Internet so much?” they asked.
“Oh, I’m finding out about more things every day…,” she replied.

Humanity wants a path to a better world. Individuals are looking for a mechanism, a function, to hurdle perceived obstacles.

There is a whole new world of life-giving products, services and processes busting the seams to become mainstream. And there’s an old world of death-dealing things that now needs to pass away. The new world is as inevitable as the attraction between two people whose eyes dance, where the electric meets the magnetic, a gravity that cannot be ignored.

Fortunately, the network has officially eclipsed the hierarchy. Humanity now sits in an ever expanding set of concentric circles. Connecting laterally is far more effective than “climbing the corporate ladder” in today’s paradigm.

If you want to experience your new world take the following steps:

1. 1 HOUR FREE WRITE: Spend an hour free-writing, where you allow the pen to move across the page without editing yourself. (Suggestion: Write with a pen on a pad of paper. See more on why at Julia Cameron’s page about “Morning Pages” here – http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/ )
2. THREE KEYWORDS: Next write down a few keywords that capture your feeling after doing this writing.
3. SEARCHING THE KEYWORDS: Search these keywords in every social property and social “device” at The World Wide Mind.
4. ARCHIVING THE IMAGES: Save the images, links and text you find that “fit” or “attract” you.
5. MEETING UP: All of these images, links and texts were created by someone. One of those “someones” is going to jump out to you. Find that person’s social handles and send a message. Meet up with that person in the flesh. Spend some time “in the world” of your images. The experience of going from image to flesh is truly amazing.
6. CREATE A NEW WORLD: Once you’ve tasted this alternative universe that emerged from steps 1-5, you have to calculate the consequences for yourself of fully entering that world. Once you do your calculations, develop your ideas and write down your plans, simply go into that world. You just created it.

This process can be used over and over again. And this process can be used by individuals and enterprises, by students and institutions, by citizens and governments.

The Black Box and the White Box: Moving towards better collaboration with markets

“Capturing the full potential value from the use of social technologies will require transformational changes in organizational structures, processes, and practices, as well as a culture compatible with sharing and openness.”
~McKinsey Report, “The Social Economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies, McKinsey & Company, July 2012.

WHAT IS THE BLACK BOX: Wikipedia defines the black box as follows, “In science and engineering, a black box is a device, system or object which can be viewed solely in terms of its input, output and transfer characteristics without any knowledge of its internal workings, that is, its implementation is “opaque” (black). Almost anything might be referred to as a black box: a transistor, an algorithm, a business process, or the human mind. The opposite of a black box is a system where the inner components or logic are available for inspection, which is sometimes known as a clear box, a glass box, or a white box.” (SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_box)

BUSINESS HAS TO MOVE OUT OF THE BLACK BOX: Business must move toward the white box model for one simple reason: more access to customer collaboration. We live in an age where customers and employees work together on products, services and programs. The most effective product lines, service offerings and policy programs involve customers in the development process. The reason this method is so effective is because the customers have a previous experience that contributes value. The professional expert who has worked for years in a specific business niche can benefit massively from amateurs who have tried multiple variations. Major brands are involving customers in the development of next season’s fashion line, governments are inviting citizens to work with policy makers, and customers now lead service communities under corporate umbrellas. As the old adage goes, “many hands make light work”.

MOVING TO COLLABORATION: In business, black boxes have been essential in a competitive market, to protect sensitive internal processes in development. If one’s competitor can see how one develops an application, a program or a product, then he can take it and improve it and beat you to market. Corporations have prioritized black boxes to protect their stakeholders and investment in people, materials and resources. But in many cases, these same black box eco-systems have created misunderstanding and conflict. And these misunderstandings are a primary reason why businesses are moving toward transparency. To state this another way: we exist within a world so clarified by social networks that many businesses are opting for collaboration models. Businesses are opting for white boxes.

Jacob Tell, an innovator in collaboration vs. competition at Oniracom, a leading lifestyle marketeing company, has said, “We’ve chosen a partnership model over a competitive model. This is a proper way to approach business in today’s increasingly networked world.” As a veteran of the Internet and people-person par excellence, Mr. Tell has identified a very true and helpful dynamic for today’s new paradigm of business — a humanized way of being and doing where we come together for a win-win.

THE WORLD WANTS THE WHITE BOX: Mr. Tell is not alone in his sentiments, either. Kim Stokely, a leading trainer of educators in the United States has said, “This time of history signifies the end of individualism and the beginning of collectivism.” The US Intelligence office has just published a Trends 2030 paper that states, “There will not be any hegemonic power in the future. Power will shift to networks and coalitions in a multipolar world.” Tom Oliver, of the World Peace Festival, has stated, “Until now the world has had no method that systematically deals with violent conflict. To fill this void, experienced peace builders from across the globe have got together with government officials, civil society and the military to design a strategy that could prevent war and resolve violent conflict. This strategy works at all levels – from the bottom up and top down.”

The entire human community cries out for a unified and transparent world group of leaders that move from competing black boxes to collaborative methods of dealing with conflict, poverty and disaster. The world needs and wants a White Box paradigm and good 21st century corporations, banks and governments will step into this clear room together. Peace is quite possibly the number one reason for entering this white box paradigm and leaving the black box method.

RESOURCES:

DEEP TRANSPARENCY VIDEO:

HOW TO OPEN THE BLACK BOX – The method to opening the black box is straight-forward:
1. Research your customer using social media monitoring solutions. Listen to what your customer is saying.
2. Design a White Box program to invite your customer or fan into the process of your business. Base the strategy and aspects of this program on what you discovered through research.
3. Design safeguards in this program to protect your business from sabotage from competitors.
4. Allocate inner resources from every silo (HR, PR, Marketing, Sales, C-Suite, Customer Service, etc.) to handling different aspects of this White Box program. Designate one person to manage the entire program and be a liaison between the departments involved.
5. Design the campaign where you announce this program.
6. Launch the program.
7. Be sure to follow up on EVERY entry/suggestion. Allocate resources so that you can do this. This is a full-time job for one employee (or more, depending on the size of the operation).

SOURCES:
1. Here are 9 case studies where social media took out the middleman:
http://barnraisersllc.com/2012/04/9-case-studies-social-media-middleman/

2. The Current State of Social Engagement Inside the Large Enterprise:
http://www.slideshare.net/dachisgroup/current-state-of-social-engagement-inside-the-large-enterprise-engagement-scale-report

3. Transparency.org:
http://www.transparency.org/

4. Twelpforce Case Study Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc6Z5KR-Oys

5. Framework and Matrix: The Five Ways Companies Organize for Social Business:
http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2010/04/15/framework-and-matrix-the-five-ways-companies-organize-for-social-business/

6. Brandwatch
http://www.brandwatch.com/

The Land of Smiles: What a Bank Can Be

A COMPLIMENT IN MONTE CARLO: I received an amazing compliment in Monte Carlo last month. A grizzled and seasoned banker looked at me owlishly over his tortoise-shell spectacles and said, “Mr. Hansen, you come from a land of smiles. But we are bankers and we care about just one thing in life: making money.”

I sat with this compliment for some time, thinking about what it meant for me personally. And, as I sat, I kept coming back to the theme of happiness. How am I happy? How is this banker happy? How is my family happy? How is this banker’s family happy? Is it really money that makes a person happy? Or is it something else?

THE HISTORY OF MONEY: When one looks at the history of money itself, it becomes very clear that the pursuit of money alone does not yield happiness. In The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson writes, “And yet the silver of the New World could not bring the rebellious Dutch Republic to heel; could not secure England for the Spanish crown; could not save Spain from an inexorable economic and imperial decline. Like King Midas, the Spanish monarchs of the sixteenth century, Charles V and Philip II, found that an abundance of precious metal could be as much a curse as a blessing…What the Spaniards had failed to understand is that the value of precious metal is not absolute…an increase in its supply will not make a society richer…”

REAL SUCCESS: The real value that people seek is an in-the-flesh connection to other human beings in the context of love. And no amount of money in the world can buy this. Maria Elita, a Greek-Australian healer, has said, “Success to me is being able to look after my grand-daughter when I can, help my children grow up respectfully, spend time with my aging parents, listen to other people’s stories of hope, kiss my boyfriend often, spend every Sunday night with my crazy Greek family, express my truth as only I can, forgive the past, embrace the future and remember The Miracle that I am. None of my success is monetary or material .. Because TRUE SUCCESS has no dollar value, cannot be measured, and does not need awards.”

My hypothesis is that the “land of smiles” is precisely where the banker in Monte Carlo wants to be. This desired place is, as Miss Elita writes, where the awards have to do with family, friends, kisses and hugs.

Now I could stop there and feel self-satisfied about this little piece I’ve written on this sunny morning with coffee, fresh orange juice, steaming croissants and love by my side.

But I won’t.

Because the journey that I want to take is with this banker. In person.

PiedPiperWithChildren

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS FROM BANKERS: I want this particular banker to find a way “out” of the vault of his office and into the sunlight of his family’s embrace. He has a family, he has a life outside the bank. And that family does not get enough of his presence. And, deep down, he does not get enough of their presence.

Yes, this banker likes his bank and the adventure of business. And this keeps his blood pumping. But there’s a missing piece of the story: how can he take this sense of adventure, this exhilaration of the “hunt”, this heady rush of blood that comes from successful risk-taking and turn it into a gift to humanity? How can he turn his creativity with digits into a creative act for communities, for families and for the world at large. Because that’s what the world needs from bankers now.

One of the world’s most powerful bankers, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, has said, “Investment bankers are just doing God’s work.” But how can bankers fulfill on this statement of Mr. Blankfein’s? Because most of the rest of the world would disagree with him.

WHAT A BANK CAN BE: Banks have always been solid pillars in society, providing a reference point with a promise of strength, stability and assurance. The bank manager has always been a respected and acknowledged expert leader in the community. A facilitator of conversation. An authoritative source of advice and assurance. But this role lessened in the age of mass distribution and mass communication. It became a game of mass advertising, selling mass product through mass distribution.

Online gathering places allow institutions such as banks to reclaim their position of community leadership. By opening up and facilitating one on one conversation within the supercharged online community environment. And as banks listen to their customers and follow their lives, a new relationship between a bank and a customer emerges. In this relationship, the bank brings a new and deeper emotional and social intelligence to working with human beings.

BANKS TAKING THEIR PROPER PLACE IN THE COMMUNITY: Banks should take their place within the community created through human-centered actions, in ways that are consistent with their institutional strength and provision. Acting in this way in the context of community, the bank will gain true human dimension: by interacting with the community and assuming its place as a pillar in society.

This is an incredibly worthwhile objective, which provides added value and a distinct competitive advantage for banks that choose this path. It’s a path bankers can lead humanity along into the land of smiles.