Archive for the ‘customer relations’ Category

The Groundswell

May 18, 2009

groundswell

Finally got my hands on and read The Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff.

At a first glance it seemed the book does not contain anything new for me, but sinking deeper I realized that there are a lot of fresh ideas for everybody. We all have heard of such social web tools as blogs, forums, wikis, and on-line communities but there are so many ways how to use them. Some ways are smart and beneficial for the user and for the community, some ways are better to be avoided.

The authors provide an insight in the opportunities given to the businesses by those social technologies.  Some most important things which are emphasized throughout the book are:

  • Decide what are your goals and who is your target audience before employing any particular social technology tool (and remember, it’s not about you, it’s about people you want to communicate to; it’s not about your company or product, it’s about solving your customers’ problems).
  • Choose your tool wisely depending on what you want it to do.
  • Always be open and honest, it will ensure the bond with your audience and also your credibility.
  • And most importantly be willing and ready to listen (people on-line will have what to say about you, and it wont necessarily be good things) and to act accordingly (not ignoring, not shouting back but talking to and solving the problem).

In addition to well written ‘theory’ Charlene and Josh provided a lot of interesting and educational case studies in every chapter, helping the reader grasp the idea better.  And sometimes the unusual approaches to problem solving using social technologies can be very inspiring and lead to new development of tools and make their usage even more efficient.

I recommend this book to anybody who is in marketing, communications, customer relations, PR or in general has to maintain a relationship with people inside and outside the company.

Groundswell blog.

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Understanding your customer

February 22, 2009

passing the key

It has always been an important matter to understand your customers: what are their needs, what do they want and how do they make the decision to buy or not to buy your product. In times of economical difficulties (like global recession) and major changes (like a fact that by 2040 or even earlier hispanic population in US will surpass the white non-hispanic inhabitants) understanding of customers are crucial.

I liked the creative approach of a real estate broker who used his knowledge about his customer to his own advantage. “Hispanic would-be homebuyers were allowed to spend a night in the house so they could invite family and friends for dinner prior to making the purchase decision. The family decided to purchase the house after getting positive feedback from the guests.” The knowledge of an importance of family members and their opinion in a hispanic family secured the real estate broker a deal.

Pay attention to who are those people you are going to sell your products to and customize your approach accordingly. It will definitely pay off.

The Best Way to Find your Potential Customers

June 15, 2008

The potential customers. Who are they? Where are they? How to find them? Which is the right path to take, which will lead us in the right direction? Simple questions but sometimes so hard to answer.

Latest Web 2.0 ideas have influenced marketing: go online – twitter, blog, socialize – and your customers will come to you. But as Lewis Green mentioned in his blog post – if it will be our only way of looking for the new customers, it will lead us to the failure. Why?

Because many of decision makers are not exposed to social media, they do not know about twitter, they do not have time to read blogs, and they do not use social networks. All those tools are good, but they have to be part of integrated marketing strategy and communication. You can not wake up one day and throw all the “old” communication tools – email and traditional media – away. Web gives you one more option. It is complimentary.

Think of your potential customers: who are they, how do they look, what do they do, what are their needs, exactly how you can help them, where you can find them. Go out, meet people (personal contact is very important and it works). Send follow-up emails. Create informative newsletter that answers your clients questions and gives solutions to their problems but is not selling. Send them links to your blog posts. Only all those means together will give you the expected result.