The company I work for is moving fast!

So in this time of people worrying about their jobs and the economy I am in a somewhat unique situation.  The company is growing so fast and hiring on new people, my worry comes from how to position myself to not get overlooked and to maintain an understanding of how I fit in.   The management has not clearly mapped out the strategy for employees for the next few years, or they have not conveyed it down to us.

To add to this my boss has now become my co-worker as she focuses on having a baby and we have a new boss being brought in and moved to CA.  This is because the VP of Marketing, who is in CA, wants to have his direct reports close to him.  So we are hiring like crazy, moving people around, and shuffling out those who are not necessarily needed.

I am not worried about job security but let’s see if I still love my job in 6 to 12 months

The transition of Web Marketing to more Social Marketing on the Web

Article written by Francois Gossieaux about the new thinking required when it comes to web marketing. I think its a great, short and succinct example of how we as an industry are evolving.
Link: http://thecustomercollective.com/TCC/31206

If you are trying to leverage communities as part of your marketing, there are a few things you need to approach differently. Some of them have already been described in other posts but I wanted to reiterate them here as part of a bigger picture.

1. Think consumer tribes – not market segments

As I described last week, the most important thing to know about your potential community members is how they behave with one another. That is much more important than to understand the market segment to which they belong based on market characteristics. That does not mean that traditional market segmentation will not allow you to discover tribes in some cases. As someone pointed out last week when we presented this concept at the BRITE conference, traditional market segmentation might have uncovered the stay-at-home moms as a segment in the health market. While true, traditional market segmentation would have described them by age bracket, income level and other such characteristics – and not by the behavioral characteristics that are so critical to understand how to structure the initial community.

2. Think network – not channel

Many marketers consider social media as another channel through which to push stuff to their customers and prospects. What they do not yet understand is that the conversations that are happening between those customers and prospects are much more important in making buying decisions than the conversations that they might have with those same people. So of the essence are the people networks through which the most influential conversations and recommendations are flowing, not the inner workings of social media as a communications channel.

Related to that is how marketers create and distribute content. Instead of creating lengthy white papers and long in-depth case studies, successful marketers are chunking up their branded content, or as my partner Lois calls it “social mediafying” their marketing content, so that it has a higher chance of being picked up and redistributed as part of the network conversations that matter.

3. Think customer-centricity – not product/brand/ or company-centricity

To be successful in today’s marketing 2.0 world, marketers need to rethink many other traditional marketing concepts as well. In most cases all it takes is to recast those concepts in the context of the consumer instead of around your products, brands or company. Examples of concepts that need to be reevaluated include:

  • Value proposition – instead of being product-centric, a value proposition needs to become consumer-centric. Look to position your offering as a customer-centric solution, not as feature, function, benefits.
  • Brands – most brands are product or company-centric. They need to become customer-centric. How do your customers feel about themselves in the context of your brand? Do they look cool, smart or informed? That is what really counts.
  • Focus groups – are usually “focused” on your products or company. They need to become customer centric. Get insights from ongoing customer communities instead of having focus groups, and don’t run those communities as focus groups.
  • Product platforms are important, but in addition to that companies now need to look for customer platforms. When a company as diverse as GE can find consumer platforms, that means that most other companies can find it too.

So recapping – every community-based marketing 2.0 activity you undertake needs to have the customer at the center of the activity. When you think about how to engage with those customers and prospects, think behavior, not market characteristics. And remember to always focus on the networks that matter.

If you are running communities, make sure to participate in the 2009 Tribalization of Business Study. You can take the quantitative survey here or you can visit the new companion web site at http://www.tribalizationofbusiness.com.

Blogging using iPhone

I am trying to find a good piece of software that will allow me to easily blog from the iphone. I don’t want to have to email myself a blog post anymore if I can avoid it.

I am currently Q&Aing iBlogger. However, it crashes everytime I open it to try and view my blog….

but I have an email into the developers and hopefully we can work it out.

Also, leaving Amsterdam tomorrow to come back to the US. Finished SalesForce User Training and strategiology for online leads… yea thats right, its a word I made up!

Is the corporate website dead

I have been doing more and more research lately on this phenomenon. It has become more apparent each week that when it comes to customers buying things they rely more on

– word of mouth (from friends, family, co-workers),
– social discussions (blogs, forums, wiki's),
– review sites (Cnet, Pricegrabber, consumer reports)

to the point that when they actually visit the corporate website it is more for core values, costs, or contact info; in other words their mind is already made up.

Luckily, it means if they visit your website they chose you.

What is interesting though is that I don't think many companies are seeing higher conversion rates on their sites. So what does this mean? This is still a trend that is moving slowly first of all. Also, although they visit the website, after their mind is already made up, they are web savvy enough to know that they can get the product cheaper somewhere else online. Another idea is that they are visiting the corp site to see if the company can provide any more information that the customer missed online. Hmm maybe on that last idea.

So what this could mean is the corp website is not so much an ecommerce engine but more of a final check of the customer's decision, if the page sucks it could lose the decision but as long as it is somewhat adequate the decision stands, or maybe its just a tool to make the somewhat hesitant buyer feel comfortable with choosing their product.

The focus instead should be on how to get your information out their on other sites for others to comment on, review, and discuss and THEN make sure you are listening.

What does this mean for website content? Well it kind of does not change much. The website should try to confirm what the customer is there to find out. Highlight what you believe are the core values of the product and why people choose your product. Focus on relevant benefits and bring to the surface customer reactions to your product (even if somewhat negative as long as you show how you plan to improve.) The corp website needs to try to be the social "beginning" of the discussion. Gathering all comments out there in the web and showcasing will help, show the customer that you are listening. Make it easy for customers who have already chosen your product feel comfortable with their decision.

But for the love of good marketing please stop just putting up fluff, marketing mumbo jumbo, non-relevant technical internal company speak. This does NOT gain trust of customers and can now-a-days hurt your brand.

And now I will get off the soap box, its open for anyone…

Jon,,
(Just a web marketing minion)

Sent via BlackBerry from AT&T

Brand essance building – myths and truths

So being in Sweden discussing how we want our brand essence to speak for us, this url was passed along to me. Its a great post that describes the myths and truths around creating a strong brand essence.

Let me give quick example. You want your brand essence to be cutting edge and innovative and so you design a cool company logo and a well thought-out front end website. BUT… if the lobby to your office has old, dated furniture, customer service is handled by some woman reading a script in India, and the shopping engine is hard to use the brand essence won’t resonate.

http://azzarellogroup.com/blog/2008/10/24/whose-brand-is-it-anyway/

Lenovo Mocks Apple Air Commercial – Way to go Lenovo!

Nice! This is a few weeks old but I just caught wind of it and think its quite well done.

On the road again…

Just a short trip up to Philly. In and out in a day, should be back tuesday night.

So quick thought on airport food. Its way over priced, under sized, and pre-packaged. Sounds like a concert or movie theater. But I understand this and we all accept it. But a restaurant is a restaurant anywhere right? So why is it that 7 times out of 10 when I eat at a restaurant in an airport the order is messed up! I mean come on, its a smaller than usual size menu with limited options!

I just don't think that is acceptable.

Jon,,

Sent via BlackBerry from AT&T