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Archive for December, 2010

I am a customer. You are. We are. But if we sometimes have unstoppable pulse for something to buy. And if it’s possible that’s probably because we learned HOW to buy…Think it’s no sense? I mean, there’s probably a path for us to learn how to make better shopping,  You’re now wondering how we stand for this and where we come from, to consider there’s a “school for buying”, kind of “step-by-step” education with knowledge, behavior and techs.

See for example, social shopping, as it’s easier to get something valuable from anybody before buying anything, the contact and influence abilities have explosed with social web and communities. Living a valuable experience leads you to want to speak of it and share it with “friends”. But living a disaster in a shopping act, drives to danger as well. We can say that, facing these new behaviors, we get more aware of our sensibility, in a relation, standing for a buying decision. And we do, brands and professional shoppers must stand for a new way of convincing consumers.

 

 

1) for a good sale, now how to make you “bought”:

How incredible it can be, doing a good sale starts as you may be desirable, and slowly being bought “pulled” than pushed by salesmen. Customer has to get value, beyond the simple buying act and be aware of giving money to acquire use and pleasure. Increasing passion for consuming, means for a brand being in an “always-on” growing experience, that gives customers a kind of addictive lesson: clues, rewards, games, viral behaviors…all shapes of masterclass can be driven to get customers in a breathless stand. Doing so, giving you an exclusive advantage taking and keeping the attention of your potential customers to come again. Customers that may come to buy again and learn how to make a better choice, buying act and say it to lots of potential non customers. The learning process is so started, enabled and accepted, by the fact customers wait for a regular conversation (offer push, informations, promotions…). They can so share all this whole “nurturing” process with friends and closest contacts.

2) the jungle of knowledge and information:

We used to live in a “modern and urban” jungle: noises, trouble, movements, all that can scramble messages and sheer essence of information: “giving pieces of knowledge to improve awareness”. Boost of media, mobility and our addiction to information (being secured as being someone who “knows”) keeps us apart from core information in fact. I just only regret this huge amount of information troubles the ability anyone has to judge something relevant. And maybe the next goal is to “know better” than really “know more”. Web, crawlers, indexation and sort, RSS and bookmarking can help to make the real difference. Comparisons sites only adress the “how much” side of buying act, and even comments, forums or moderation can sometimes be “tricked” as well. The DNA of social shopping is an interesting side of what could help us to cope with the forest of offers we stand…or not.

3) profiling and getting clues:

Modern shopping is discovering how to be discovered. Checking footsteps of every move and buy. Being profiled to get more advantages of being a customer. Then your walk is finding clues delivering you more knowledge about what you really like, how you really live and why you are buying things you buy. Getting these clues, is according to be naked and low your defenses about curiosity, and some faces of your private life. Answering surveys, getting vouchers and use it will increase your participation and the road to your tastes. The best shop in the world will give you the following promotions after considering your full profile and buy after buy, you enhance your ability to choose more and better: an achievement in your buyer’s job…Experience is enlightning your passed path and allows you to drive better. Give a little of yourself, piece after piece…to reveal you in the light of your buyer’s profile: all you need is participate, give truth and transparency, because if so, you’ll have a bright payback. The scale of auto-learning…levelling your own experience and awareness for consuming.

4) stairway to heaven: the moment of truth:

You did go up for this intoxicating moment and like it: you ask for more. I said addictive, you know, you see?

Brands that can manage all these process softly, with an incredible experience of service, are not really intrusive, but just like your best friend…personal shopper? best trend setter? You reborn: relearning how to buy, you become more aware of promotions, messages and delight of leading the truth. Brands that treat customers well like old friends, may have loyalty and return…wallets are opening more easily to tip over on temptation. Even the marketing expenses are more valuable and relevant, as they are in fact “relation expenses” on long term relations. Imagine if you may be able to offer training sessions for all your customers…on your products and the way they MUST be used in real life for them: could we draw you back your toy?

5) the pleasure is contagious: already learned, already buzzed:

Lots of social toys have bloomed like angst…to be localized. Foursquare, Plyce, Tellmewhere, Gowalla and other Facebook places are nothing but accurate tools of modern social shopping: discovering places, check in, share view and comments (and then read others’ comments) and get some promotions on retail places (McDo, Starbucks…do this now). The chain has been designed to hold: as you progress in your expectations, you’re dying to say it, you buzz anywhere you can to be the influencer to come, the “friend everyone dreams of” for the best tip. Blooms of social platforms further, you can draw lots of audiences and become a special agent for brands (tip: for companies who missed the train, do something for us…they are supposed to be your best salesmen…). As you pay money to spread your messages and communication strategy, buzz is not really free…Being trusted by bulk means being trusty and really who you say you are: service and customer oriented. And fully personify the whole process to get the best of it.

6) raising the level of awareness: shopper’s experience educates the crowd

Building the flying wheel to breakthrough situation is now an ongoing process, that stands as a funny way to enroll people. Used to better consumption, educated so far to profiled promotions that save time and money, and targeted offers you can share, you are a better “student”, a better customer…And you want to share with others this status for you. You start to call your best friends, neighbours, parents to be a close influencer. You make them play, participate to mailing lists, subscribe them to private sales, invit them to shop with you. A kind of silent job, brands shall not ignore to care with their best outside talents. The more you attract, the more you like the game you’re in. Doing so, you learn how to be a personal consultant for best tips, good affairs and relevant sales. Your whole experience grows inside you as it spreads outside, just around you. I guess this shows you different and visible for others to come.

Now you’re ready to make your own courses, training session and buying lessons. While you’ve been targeted, focused and marketed as your own, you are able to give it back for crowd. Not that you’re ready to open a shop, because you’re best as a shopper than as a seller. Sure, you’ve been educated, you passed your exam of “advised customer”. Now you can open your wallet with serenity and take pleasure with it. And spread the word everywhere.

 

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As I progress in the discovering of social platforms, I meet a whole group of evidences and assumptions, drawing a kind of “best practices” or “most encountered”. And it shapes as the long way of spending time to build something strong and sustainable. I tried to underline the long tail to truth and trust, that magnify the social network pleasure. and compared players as “assets”, who valued, time, participation and relevance to build global community value.

On my way, I borrowed some elements to BCG, and famous matrix for companies’ portfolio, to make a similar research between players, engagement and value (even if I don’t really like the term for a free global chain of collaboration). We can find some common facts with “influencers”, in the way participation seems to be quite in relation with popularity and influence, as soon as there is relevance in sharing and talk. Don’t forget before act, listen is the first key to understanding the global noise…

I found 3T as key concept to build and walk into social engagement: Time that goes, Trust which raise as you are relevant and reliable, and Truth. But where does start truth? And when does it trigger, in the global involvement? Who is responsible of truth, and what gives us total control on it?

Everyone involved in such process has one day, crossed through this concepts of starting blind, taking direction in the dark forest of web links, RSS and informations. And Everyone may be recognized now in a complete profile or way. But one thing I know for sure: the most famous one is probably the quietest, spending time to “time”, and taking it to mesure each part of encountering and thinking. You can go fast and touch the stars, but also crash you down. Building trust needs time, and giving credit to “your” truth too.

As you can stare, there’s probably a long tail too for relations…those who can count on. Social media means at start, discovering, listening and staring lots of noise, events, posts and information. Some you can hate, some you can like. But anyway this is not the most important thing to bear in mind. What we can stand is that at this step, lots of people don’t go on and vanish. On 10 people, there’s probably 3 who continue their quest and maybe only 1 who can stay in a long term investment…That means lots of dead end and “lost” time…I used quotes as I don’t really think it, because any path can learn you something, that can be used one day.

Leaving the first step needs humility, in starting the conversation: finding relevant topic, adding ideas that raise the debate and giving al for nothing. World of exchange, without any “return on investment” mindset, that’s the long story of growing influence. Influence you sometimes wait for a long time and like a boomerang, comes back to your ears: your first “friend”. The one who comment and found attention to your thoughts.

First dead end: blacklist, bulshit and boring people. You met them, and wish they leave, kind of forrest gump 2.0, lots of troubled guys who pollute the sheer timeline of conversation. Yes, it’s an entertainment too, but spamming for fun (eg as fun is sometimes too individual…and may be misunderstood) spread some fog about the collaborative efficiency. I won’t speak about blacklisted (spammer, followers hunters, robots?, rude people or “no limit” behaviors). Stop. They stopped themselves, killed, suicided.

But you may prefer the royal way, gearing up your condition, finding your vocation and spending time enough to have a rocket path to heaven: if you work in PR or decide to use blogs and communities for your own carrier, you can become a star…A-list influencers get there quickly, but this needs a lot of investments:

  • be relevant “best shot at best time” and learn how to improve it
  • find the good viral spots: you have to show they are right to trust you
  • be “liked”, guess like the famous FB button
  • always listen and reward your audience: many thanks, RT or spreading the news…for nothing of course
  • share, share and share: “dare web square for share”; don’t miss an opportinity to be useful and help someone in request or trouble…

I could (you can comment too) add bunches of others things you should do…but there’s one that you must not miss: be yourself. there’s nothing more boring that discovering a hidden (bad) face/side, having been faked…some taste of bitterness that never goes out. But that’s life, you might be exposed to.

I would like now make a short trip, next to “social capital”, that helps you to swim easily in these oceans. I’ve been whispered and somekind, blowed with a new wind of “socialization”. Carried with the new “whuffie effect” book from Miss Rogue (called Tara Hunt in real life, from Canada), blogging at horspigcow(dot)com. No, not with animals, but with her verse of social capital, kind of never ending asset we can grow with. Another way to discover the power of human relations, growing inside that can move mountains in fact, if we train it and know how to get the best with it. Still there, no particular rule but be perfectly straight, honest and right with your audience, never trying to exploit it without agreement and rewards in someways. Is this the new asset, if we can really talk about “assets”? I would say yes while it’s a long time run, and asks lots of time to see the sparkle of enlightment…And that’s why lots of fellows give up before…Don’t confuse “speed of reaction” of web interactions with be too in the hurry…

And then comes the real path…poetic, chaotic and progressive, it drives you step after step to different horizons and levels that give you piece of experience: experience is a fuel that addicts you to more and reveals sometimes a hidden face of your personality (tip: second lives in gameplays…). This way is set with several encounters, informations and aggregations that build your own circle of influence, your “X-ray” footprint in network walks. A fairy tale? Maybe. A tale? Sure if you decide to be a storyteller too, giving others the best, with nothing to give but enthusiasm, kindness and experience. It took time to build web network infrastructures, standards and wires. It takes time to play with it, even if speed and our ability to zap is increasing, digesting more for more is crap. Time to get Trust, Time to tell the Truth. and Time to enjoy being in a tremendous network, spreading thoughts and opinions. For real, for fun and for mankind.

 

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