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Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Don’t look at me this way and probably because of you. Not the way that Marketing is a dead function, useless or released away, but the fact it all has changed…To be more focused on where, I’ve started a short list of assumptions that show in which range things have changed. You love or hate Marketing would not change that datas shifted in many parts, exploding audience, collaboration and brand footprint in the web marketplace. But let’s figure out how…:

  • connect to customers: i think it’s in the title…If you didn’t see the fact that customers want to be considered as a real people, with advice, voice and opinion, and not as number or a cash machine!
  • stop deafness: listening new insights and voices for brands shapes marketing of products and services…from the outside of the company
  • ability to make marketing accountable, with one of the “three dimensional” skills of CMO: quantitative methodic
  • staring at “where” are customers are (and “fish where the fish are”)
  • a temptation to make marketing a C-level role to strategic level
  • starting the socialization of customers with SCRM where systems are not owned by companies but fully controlled by customers
  • achieving the shift between manufacturing culture to consuming culture, with social stones
  • be “there”, after all: where are really the customers (the difficulty is the mobile era that boost the necessity of being ubiquitous for the brands)
  • “messages are bi-directional and morphing”, because brands must listen and stare at what’s going on now, from the valuable opinions all around social web
  • customers have a voice and know now, how to use it: being too much deaf would produce deaf services and products for empty market
  • “the monologue has passed away”. Try to sort of the noise confusion and get the smartest ideas from out of the box…
  • “embrace the challenge of new medias”: the abilities to “talk” to customers boosted in a multi-directional shape means using the tools where they talk, listen and take informations. The new platforms for audience…
  • reinvent marketers curiosity: more than ever curiosity is the most efficient skill to “open world” communities, and makes you “breath the trends”
  • “fail can become an option” for learning, experiment and grow the value purpose. Shorter cycles, decisions and experience samples and protos
  • customers, but employees, partners, audience, suppliers…do marketing for you too. Let’s party with them, and grow communities!
  • “like” the likers: be aside all who make effort to click and send love to you
  • identify virtual tellers and workers who shape their own opinion of your brand
  • know and learn or grow your new skills as: creativity, design but dealing with figures and datas. And if you hire, don’t hire a marketer but an artist, social inspired.
  • “marketing is experience”: make us free for customers and create the CEM for your brand (Customer Experience Management)
  • “marketing is experiences”: allow customers to share fails, tests, samples and experiences, even make them build their own with your brand/products. You can’t even imagine how fertile, collaborative and addict are your silent fans…and btw, they will shout it on the web!
  • “the customer is not an idiot, he’s your boss” ; live with it or die!
  • the new management paradigm: push/pull balance with innovation, customers, market. Marketing as a regulator, “community manager” more than the brand dictate

All lot of reason why marketing we knew has changed and is probably dead, for brands that didn’t realize it. The sum of research on the subject is huge, but always turned from the companies that stare markets, without really engaging with the customers, or doing it their way, but not on the control of who buys: the customer. Think of how you can be patient and demanding as a customer, but beyond your simple need: being considered. A best seller know as “cluetrain manifesto” lead us, 10 years ago, the frame of what’s now, concrete and operational. For those who didn’t read it, you’ll find a totally actual subject in these assumptions, with customers who were already fed up and felt upset of “bad” practices.

Renewal is king and the necessary “central” function, protected from “one to many” is dead. The fact is now to put it in the center of the debate: social platforms, everywhere, anytime of the consumer’s life, to improve experience, collaboration and efficiency, dealing with “markets” not as targets but “doers” and influencers.

Products, services, sales propositions, all are on the shelves, but on the “social shelves”, driven to success or death. It’s up to you to decide how you deal with it and which marketing you deserve. Or decide to set up, now, for your teams…

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Loyalty is in the end a very important part of the value of any relation. Build a trusty system means years of taming and needs lots of efforts and demonstration on how you can deliver promises, and keep them alive in a long term. This concept stands with any part of modern communication and relation and rise with it. We can quote “loyalty calls loyalty”, when we see that the most loyals subjects do, because they like and spread it. While we’re facing a big shift in the way brands speak to targeted customers and drive their whole relation, customer could be considered as less “loyal”. Because of his mobility, he becomes less “catchable”, I mean in advertising terms, underlining the new technologies that keep him alive “on” with the brand: mobile devices. The way we look at customers intentions and try to catch his “brain awareness” changes. In fact, could mobile be an awesome opportunity to enhance loyalty or a silent threat to lose audience?

The mobile facts: some figures worth more than long talks…(source: ITU)

  • more than 5 billion mobile subscribers in the world
  • nearly 1 billion has access to 3G services
  • mobile networks access: more than 90% of global population and 80% in rural zones
  • already thinking of 4G networks, increasing speed and services
  • web access will overtake PC and domestic devices (wired), within 5 next years
  • 450 millions users on web mobile, end of 2009 (IDC)

This “jack-in-the-box cumulated figures” means that any people on earth (nearly…) can receive a simple message from any brand that wants to catch him…got it? Hate or like? Chance or fear? I think everybody will (have to) find rules and own behavior and reaction with this new environment…

The Loyalty goodness

Loyalty seems to be an actual goal for everyone: brands, couples, retail, habits…Why? Because it costs far less to nurture and care an “established situation” with uses and automatic behaviors, than draw, seduce and attract new ones. True for customers, new comers, new process…and new husband/wife. Now living in a always wired era drives us to more “online” behaviors, acquired to lots of any information. These new habits mean that we’re more demanding about brand communication and customer care, even if we’re not customer yet. This eco-system, self-feeding situations seems to find a regulation with user generating content, added by any citizen, in mobile situation. The more we are touched by mobile communication, the more we’re in fact, tied softly to brands, increasing our silent loyalty and attachment to companies. Loyalty is key for long term forecasts and ongoing business models, that can improve portfolios for brands.

What we see is a necessary change on how you target customers: awareness is not captured like any other situation and needs accuracy, what I see: bad moment for a SMS is a dead-born message…Life duration of a SMS and our ability to use it is in fact, few seconds…snatch for catch is the real art and skill of mobile communication. Even with PDA spreading everywhere, majority is often limited in size, shape and kind of message your mobile device can manage. Intrusion is as bad as choose a bad moment to send your message: as mobile is personal, you can’t be wrong with your target. Any disruption between the message and the profile of the targeted customer and you will have a storm against you: the action will give you the exact upset situation for the brand…So be careful. Last but not least, “personal” means directly linked to the individual and you can pledge for mistake or misunderstanding, or hide behind bulk message: you are supposed to engage conversation and give arguments, if the customers speaks to you…as an individual people.

Virality is a perfect territory of expression to spread loyalty. But no pain, no gain. Spread loyalty in fact means no more but no less than spread trust, through your customers…So they engage them in a risk they were not obviously prepared to assume, and will shame you if you betray and show them, they were wrong to do so…Absolutely disappointed. For a long time. All your efforts blowed in a single SMS…? That worths to think twice before act…Mobile tagging (stickybits, u snap, shop savvy…), geolocalization (foursquare, plyce, gowallah, tellmewhere, waze…) are so cute ways to follow you (without being too intrusive first…) and hold the link and relation between a brand and a customer. A personal and mobile one.

The independance riot

Lots of things, reactions and strange behaviors told us in history to care about machines control…This holy link for brands can quickly become a nightmare for customers, because being in mobility means sometimes a moment of serenity and  is particularly “my moment”. Do I like to be disturbed? It may transform our attitude in a sharp reaction, the “action-reaction” of throwing away all our good intentions and thoughts about the so called “friend” brand. Do we want “independance” or do we like to be plugged “all-wired” entity? Are we supposed to be en “engaged consumer” at all prices and times, where does our engagement start and end, as any sign of further involvement means we do accept, assume (like?) the ongoing phenomenia of being followed with our cute device, as a personal spy, shouting more and more commercials…

This schizophrenic question and dilemma may drive to bunch of protestants fence, leading to a community riot, boycotting brands and company, products and attitude. By doing this, “Lots lost lots”, underlines the surgerical need to be very careful about the final goals and uses of mobile opportunities. Remember independance drove people to blogs, forums and parallel sources of information, where trust can be refound. And I think it’s dangerous to lose with impulsive actions, trust you spent months to build. Moreover when it’s for sales matters and start to be boring with the mobile target, that just wanted to go apart from the “promotion noise”…

Human is anything else than an independant and rarely wants to be linked, promised, as he never asked for. But being opti§n doesn’t mean everything is allowed though: like the butterfly effect, a small SMS can raise a viral revolution…

Drawing the necessary conclusions

Nothing is really grave or irreversible in fact. We have what we ask for, when we see such passion for mobile devices, it must be important for us not cut the link with anything…And remember there’s a switch off that can resolve conflicts and harassment. Use it anytime it’s necessary…Brands too, sometimes switch off, when you have some claims on the way…

 

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Considering that famous book by G. Moore, that en-lighted the real chasm threat in launching new products or services, and achieve them to the next step for huge mass markets, I’m wondering, how could 2.0 could help, improve, support the chasm tomorrow and changes driven by interactivity. According to need of a launch session for new products and services, while these products or services can be sometimes not really ready to be launched, boosted by urgent, economics, and competitive goals (!), we saw it can exist a chasm that even good ideas don’t cross…Targeting a mass market requires talent, good product, and innovation advance to make the difference. But if innovation is a lifestyle for geeks and early adopters, shifting the trial to a mass success needs. Fortunately, geeks and EA are awesome levers to get empowerment for news things to be hugely used. And where can one find geeks and EA, most of the time? Yes, on social web.

Chasm20

We all have the opportunity to see how social sharing and participation can have changed relation mindsets, providing warming contacts, experts advising, communities rising and breakthrough boundaries and time. See how a novel, buzz or information can be built or denied in few seconds, or participate now to empower politics polls and decisions (mentioned that with last Obama’s victory with bulk social web virality). Necessary, but not the only thing to be done. New products/services have to be launched in an accurate, scheduled and secret plan. Too quick sometimes, making the idea real, but keeping bugs for the end users…Look at how cars models, can be back at fixing stations, few moments after their beginning of life…Microsoft products? Found lots of reasons to launch them, and thousands of users not really happy with new releases. I think business cycles now gear up. Innovation cycle, in some sectors can be so short, we mix several phases in one, already thinking to the next step. That’s probably why now, time is a strategic value, and all that can keep us from wasting it, is key. 2.0 and social web can help a lot to “cross” and have quick feedbacks on launch, polls, ideas, improvements, tests and corrections. And usually, addicted people to social web are particularly clever about new things and like to give you, for free, new ways of thinking. Meaning that, if you built a community, to worry about your launches, they will know how to handle it, and will cope with competitors that won’t miss to be cruel. But if you don’t, your products will go on an invisible of ocean, with potential users, who wait like sharks for new food, question is how they will “digest” the straight venue and what they are going to say about success or lead to die?

Chasm might be deep, chasm might be short, but chasm is a strong reality. Imagine you’re subjected to a judgement step, and more you prepare before, more product or service has a chance to succeed. If you want to give chances to survive, well organize first launch as if you were driven in front of the bulk scene: products/services prepared to be understood by many of the target, will get more chances to mass market, than fashion ones, excluding if you’re dealing on a niche market. We saw that maybe target of 2.0 is a new valuable field to get audience, advises and early tests for new services or products. But how can 2.0 helps this to increase the chances to cross the bridge (build one)? On the chasm.

I think it’s in listening and working with early users that you can do it, and social boards, like betas, experts panels and communities gear up the way information turns. The more you listen, the quicker you work with it, the greater chances you’ll have to correct, evaluate misfits, features, quality problems for bulk success. And social web for sure makes you saving time for that, if you can spend some time to build a network and give it news regularly. Each part of the market has its own behaviors: innovators are pure tech lovers, early adopters next, may feel there’s a real use for the innovation in field, and early majority, that’s the main problem, has to be guided by other early majority members, which wait for a main change in their life, because of the innovation. And if this brand new thing doesn’t ensure them, with entourage for done a good tip and be sure they will have all kinds of support, customer care and so long, there’s no chance for tech to be adopted, by mass early majority. And then may enter web 2.0 power: linking people, advises and take the role of customer care…While we saw that innovators/geeks prowl on social networks, no need to be clever to think that they will give all their advises and share their experience to ensure and make a better sale than you…they know the product, they know bugs (!), they can guide you to adopt it by several “old good rules”…And while trust is an essential rule for communities leaders, looking at the most influencers can be really relevant, giving them samples to test and keeping eyes on back timeline. That’s how it goes, that’s now how advertising stands place, while buzz is exploding. Ignoring power of social leaders is like ignoring power of www community As I already said, “customers are the best sellers for a brand”, and to go further, “social leaders are strong guides to burst your brand and your products”, crossing the chasm, convincing early (sleeping?) majority to come and buy.

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According to Marketing fields, I asked myself about the different kinds of KPIs we can find to follow, mesure and value the real interest and performance of marketing. You think you know, obviously, the answer. Don’t get me wrong but, it’s another complicated matter in fact. Never ever asked you anyway? mesure the unmesurable, trying to catch the exact effects of the wide range of marketing, because no one has ever managed with it. Can we define particularly, the differents ways of involvement of marketing in business cases? Do we have words and figures to straightly say in a sentence, how report for marketing efficiency? I still search, by myself…
Overlooking all old rules, I found and tried a whole definition of what could be “marketing tricks”, to nowaday business ; correct me and let me know if you’re not OK with, but, first let me introduce you to these basic rules:

marketing, says one, could be “conception, settlements and control of any resource – social, technical, material, commercial, scientific…- in the aim of optimize the value for the customer in buying a good or a service, compared to the risk” ; we can underline this way 3 main ideas:  marketing is time, marketing is value and marketing is risk.

So we have with these 3 steps in marketing KPIs follow-up:

  • Marketing that gives value to customers, with quality, offer in aim of optimize customer satisfaction
  • Marketing that minimize the risk for the customer to be disappointed in buying product or service – risk that can be collective by the viral effects –
  • Marketing of time, time to be “just in time” and time-to-market wise, with innovation

kpi

According to the large responsabilities of marketing, we must now ask ourselves about “who is driven and targeted by these KPIs?” ; we already knows that it can’t be one people or departement, but a wide range of functions in corporation. There’s no less than marketing managers, CEO and general manager, but suppliers around : promotion, sales, delivering – supply chain -, and probably after sales: sales administration, call services and customer relationship management.

I can try to give out a piece of solution, with evaluation of performance monitoring, from different points of view:

– Obviously by customers themselves: is what I have is what I was supposed to, in the value offer of the firm?

  • what may pay customer (price edge) for my product or service = value for renunciation?
  • what is the difference between “perception of value” and “price”?
  • mesure of misunderstanding / gap between “promise” and “received”?

– Performance, from marketing itself, in the added value they have in the value chain of the firm

  • evaluation of ROI from “marketing and promotion expenses” and return on sales
  • supply chain costs driven by large ranges, several selling channels, compared to necessary depth of the purpose
  • contribution of marketing skills in value chain: know-how, know-when, know-with

– Performance, from general board, judging how the firm is understood outside by different leaders: press, customers, suppliers, partners, financials…

  • market share
  • positionning and changes evaluation effects
  • benefits
  • shares performance

– Social trace in social community: how is evaluated the effects of the firm’s products, on consuming behaviors?

  • notoriety surveys
  • social object
  • laws and sustainable development framework: social, economics, green behavior
  • rise of consumers satisfaction after consuming

Well I dare, but it’s anything like some tracks and thoughts about how we can handle with these matters. The way is long and unfortunately, there’s no really scientist approach, by the difficulty of each concept and define exact responsability in companies. But we know thing must be done, to give the good resources, where we need, and give up the rubbish ones. Companies are rarely endless financial resources, and they have to manage closer, to make shareholders, employees and banks, increasing partnership and trust. Having a strong KPIs board, adding marketing matters, can help this.

I would really be pleased to have some comments, adding advises, and maybe experiences, shared on follow-up. Let me know…

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Salesman is a hard job you know. But customer is too. And just like husband and wife, it’s the couple of the year !

Be careful about your neighbourhood, friends, family…customers. There are not invicible, there’s a no way track, a dead end job where economics, troubles and unstability may drive them. Selling is an art, giving pleasure, uses and products where one can buy it. It’s unbelievable how it can be a burst way to explode ourselves, in achievement, goals and even philosophy. But one can take the trap, if you’re not advised, blinded by ambition and foolish games. Let me introduce you to another plan, in more clever path, with ABC of selling maze…

  • Let’s consider that, with “no target, no customers…”; what is it all about ? You can run, like a nut dog for quantity obsession, “raping” customers (who are not in fact, because they didn’t choose to be…), giving more than they need and want. Think about it: when you start to shoot, first you stare at the target. If you don’t, you fail. When you imagine to sell, it’s the same music…if you don’t target the audience, you won’t find the best customers, those who are going to buy more, and more longer with fidelity. But you will sell anything, to anyone, breaking the brand integrity, and making your action a short time effect. OK you decided to shoot in a more accurate way. you get the target ready…
  • Well, you’re tired because you targeted all that moved, and still have no sales…Why ? “no customers, no sales“, it’s obvious. When you targeted, selected some islands of potential buyers, you must now talk to them…ranking them by parts, marketing items : age, job, potential wages, household with or without children – don’t forget they are real agents of potential spendings -, activities, hobbies, where and how they live, and so long. You start the famous ranking and segmentation, that is going to be the next milestone of your selling plan. Not for pleasure, but just because you don’t talk to a 10 year’s old boy as you do with his parents or grandparents…And even if the product is the same – I suppose it’s not, but anyway! -, the way you’re going to sell it and to talk about its qualities, is obviously the same way…Several paths for several customers, but for the same product…You start as well to write some selling bullet points for salesforce: presentation, pros and cons, selling notes. You enforced the tools, ready for the next step…
  • No products, no sales…” ; that is…have you identified the right ones, is there enough quantity in stocks, what is the speed of turnover, and production cycle ; are you limited, have you to select how many to sell or can you sell to anybody ? yes, you know like me, that a good salesman can even sell a product that doesn’t exist…;-) ; but that’s not a responsable behavior: you will shoot once, then you’ll be out of order by your bad boy reputation…Don’t forget the triple AAA, in Coca Cola worldwide strategy: Anywhere, Aware, and Available.
  • Take it easy, still few steps to success. More difficult than ever…”no method, no sales“. You’re strong like a bull, enforced by tools, products, lots of targets and selling notes. Anyway, how are you’re going to cope with it, do you know all the story of customer’s needs ? It’s like you drive a car as you’re blind. Full crash for sure, end of the story. You have to spend time to understand the “needs” of your customers. They will thank you a thousand times, more than the product itself !
  • The method is simply, listen…Nowadays, we forget too much listening our environment: advises, tastes, behaviors -yes body’s langage too-, experiences. It’s not hazard case to be there in a collective thematical website, yes, but web2.0 settlements, not at all, it’s just to share, stare, listen…yes practice what we call “active listening” to note the tinest detail about what the story of the product might be for your customer. Not for another. For this one. Each customer has a story to tell, considering the product’s finally use. Before closing the deal, don’t forget to know the right story; if you don’t, you will be hated first, but the brand you work for, will get a serious kick in its reputation…

Ready ? ready for a long story, embracing the job, ready to spend time and time, hearing stories, troubles, but hopes and destinies of future good deals, good sales. Sales you won’t never forget, you’ll be proud of. Sales customers want and call back. Because, products are there to be used, but there to tell stories too…Be a part of these stories, be the main character, the prince which saves the bride.

Coming soon: why can’t anyone be a salesman ?

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On June 5, I went to Diegem, near Brussels, to think tomorrow event, organized by An de Jonghe, CEO of TrendQ, 2.0 consulting and business corporation. An contacted me few months ago, for me to come, to see some people we don’t use to see in others events ; Located at Crowne Plaza, event started, with a short introduction, on day plan, especially, for the short appear of Flemish Minister of Economics, Patricia Ceysens.

Belgium is a little country, like France, but more international I think – is it a consequence of Brussels head of European community ? -, really cordial and warm place.

Day’s started with Geer Conard, IT consulting (5.309 direct first degree connections on LinkedIn, and one of the most famous networker in Belgium) ; demonstration about his now social life, built 3 years, after he formerly hated social networks…then headed for it, by some random meets ; he described the several types of networkers : passive networker, conservative networker, reactive networker, hyperactive networker, proactive networker. Forecast for 2014 : most of through online networking tools…Gave tips from Thomas Power, 10 tips : Collect people, Respect geography, start a club, relax and be yourself, quality vs quantity, listen for links words, make a match, disturb our comfort zone, read new material, manage your reputation
And last “don’t sale anything” : the best tip…the business is done throughout but in another ways…
“networking is giving ; not taking…It may take several years of giving, before receive” ; trust reputation, manage your reputation. I think he understood many things about that matter !

Then Wim de Waele from IBBT spoke about Research center, flamish government into, on ICT broadband between companies and government, mobile television with Gand project (telenet); user experience makes the product (first tip), example with a baby who plays with an Iphone !
Connected devices in 2012 : sensors over 1.000.000.000.000 (computers, appliances/toys, entertainment, industrial/automobile, handhelds…) and future : wearable computing, localisation, machine-to-machine, smart dust,…The next step : user centric apps, the main purpose (think about old people and home care)

Then Patricia Ceysens (ministry economics and ICT) with model of economic development ; Porter model
Factor driven economy, efficiency driven economy, innovation driven economy (corps, international, innovation) ; must develop R&D, innovation in terms of output (vs input), R&D&&Entreprenership (applications for results coming out) ; spoke about Innovation sources : notice 36% come from customers…only 4% from universities ; turn user = problem to user = solution and “users must adopt innovation”

After a short break, Octavio Pitaluga, CEO of TEN, topexecutivesnet (business community) spoke about “Business Network Officer”, a new function in corporations, which may be developed fast ; he his one of the first CNO Chief Network Officer. No way about the number of contacts, matter what you add to yours (value)
“Japanese people are organized as a network” ; and that’s why it’s the second powerful country in the world
success story : importance of trust, basic of relationship…
Ideal profile for this function : higher values, strategic thinker, credibility, challenge-driven, conflict management, human developer, creative&participative,…
Business Network Management : BNM Team, Goals, win-win, partner status, action plan, manage network ; consequences : increase relationship value, higher leverage, wealth creation. “Employees must be aware of BNM process too”

Then started Emeric Ernoult from affinitiz, French CEO about “web 2.0 for business : hype or opportunity ?”
⇨ new marketing/communication channel
⇨ set the goals, mesure (how you spend on classical ways ?) and compare it with 2.0 solutions
⇨ adwords really expensive in big quantities
⇨ 45.000 French lawyers + blogs the best way to be on top of Google = efficiency with blog platform for lawyers (practices, success stories…)
⇨ 850 lawyer’s blogs now, 10.000 posts, 20.000 comments, 75% of the traffic comes from Google !
⇨ ROI : 14 times less expensive than adwords buying

showed us how about social 2.0 solutions for marketing and sales approaches, vs classical ones, can be really less expensive and more efficient.

Sagi Richberg, Vshake, founded GroupGain, a new social shopping community, group aggregation, mercata, mobshop, accompagny ; buyers lower the price by being buying together the same product ; start of “Social Shopping”

In the aim of HR recruiting, Bas Van de Haterd, HR, recruiting, blogging consulting spoke about savinge money for HR recruiting : LinkedIn for nearly free, is high efficiently powerful !
Map your network, define a good profile, use your relationships, get introductions (think about incentives) are tips to succeed in HR recruiting ; don’t be too hurry in your “dates” : try to engage a cool and real relation before asking for business. Not THE question in the first date ; wait , give, share ; then ask ; people want to business with people they like…Talked about Alumni…most of corps forget the employees they fired and don’t want to heard about them anymore ; but the story is another to tell : time and people change…And don’t forget to mix online and offline social networks : according to companies brand behavior’s line…

And Hendrik Deckers, CEO of CIOnet and partner at Ecademy Belgium, presented us a portal for CIO professional networking talked about “Building Niche Networks”, Value of people then is really high, because selected ; niche communities with high level (high attendings too) ; 3 groups of participation, offline and online ; membership, sponsorship and advertising. Purposed a definition of value of network : n x Q x a (numbers x Quality x activity – frequency)

Day’s finished with a flash and pop talk with Sabine Allaeys, from Minifizz, and how she built the young and fashion universe for girls from 14 to 25 years old, on Web and mobile fields. Partnership and fashion world is making the deal with minifizz.

We had traditional “Elevator Pitch” for young startups, making opportunity for a short three minutes hot speak, then headed to break place for a nice cocktail and networking time, with all team.

A nice day with nice people. I will get back for sure, Belgium makes its own 2.0 revolution out there. If  you want to share it, be there !

 

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Premium belongs to leaders. Economics rules tell us that when you’re in difficult competition, with markets, products, etc, you need to be an example, create the path, set the pace. You need to set the standards and the best practices. Being a leader is not easy…in the lights, under pressure, driven to success or failure, but always setting the standard. For those who are, have been, or will be, it’s a demanding job !
Remember this basic economic rule : “a corporation that is a leader in its market or product, must show the way and be the reference, label and trace the path”…By achieving these goals, those market leading firms receive favorable publicity, financial success and top of mind position with future consumers, those who already are, or those who will be.

But in the same time, competitors will look to exploit weaknesses, in cutomer service, quality of product, whatever. They will look for chinks in your armor. Something you didn’t foresee. And like horse of Troy, competitor, by creativity, starts to take stocks to leader, and through creativity, will begin to make inroads.

And the margin of leadership begins to decrease (tip : leaders are often handicapped by our huge size, and ability to respond quickly). Suddenly, RIP. Then the effect of “losing the premium fee” starts to show…Because “you lose more than you win”…You lose sales, value, customers…and innovation – things that made you the leader in the first place. And like a fallen movie or music star, sunset is coming…

The same cycle applies to social media leaders.

Some lead the way, some turn around, others play with it, but sometimes it seems more to be a race for information owning and spreading (to nowhere ?) than the result of genuine demand. Who can remain a social media leader without any audience anymore ? Is there any kind of scale in losing audience (ie just like premium fee losing for corps), with a wrong step ? What could drive a leader to such a no way road ?

We all follow some of these social media leaders, and in our most secret thoughts, dream of becoming one don’t we ?

Well, in my opinion, developping a social life is quite easy, when no accident comes. And it must be ; listening and staring, sharing on phase two, then becoming someone that others listen to. We grow step by step, as we attract a greater audience. There’s no particularly reason for why we were led to silence or loneliness, if we didn’t search for…or provided !

I admit that sometimes, even leaders are boring and sometimes too noisy, invading our space. But we have power to stop following them, to break away, and to “opt-out” as well as “opt-in”. That’s the hard reality of social media. And threats exist for social leaders too ; others who come along with more and fast information, more credible, trustable, actual. It’s maybe the “long tail” too we see everywhere about the web democracy ; one says “we can’t be and have been”. I’m afraid this rule applies to social media too, but anyway, there’s no prize, no award to come, just a collaborative people think tank, with “white meanings”…For awesome times, awesome people.

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