Community Management

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Presented by David Preston, Community Manager, Team Ride West, BMW

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Community Management

  1. 1. Breakout session at MarketMix 2012By David Preston Community ManagementDavid Preston has been fascinated by motorcycles since he was given a ride at the age of15, in 1962. After a full career as an English teacher, he created his current job dealingwith motorcycle dealership media and events management, customer relations and rides,and the creation of newsletters, ad copy, e-mails, and technical papers.He is the author of Motorcycle 101, a common sense guide to motorcycling. He hosted“The Motorsports Show, with Dave Preston,” a call in radio program that aired for threeyears. He’s been published in dozens of local and national magazines and newspapers ona variety of topics over the years.He created and managesTeam Ride West. Team Ride Westis the RideWest BMW ridingclub that is probably the largest such dealer-supported club –anywhere.David has four books available from Amazon.com as Kindle or other e-book downloads.Each is priced at $4.95.Motorcycle 201 is a revision and update of Motorcycle 101.Motorcycle Heart, Theory, and Practice is a compilation of articles and essays onmotorcycles published in the past decade.Mourning Ride is a novel of adventure and suspense with motorcycles, interestingcharacters, plot twists, romance, and a few explosions. It features the character HarrisonThomas.A 2nd Harrison Thomas novel is currently being written, as well as a 2nd book of essays.The Third Marcia is a teen-lit novel of romance, mystery and adventure, set in 1992.For more of David’s writing, please go to www.davidpreston.biz. He can be reachedatteam@ridewest.com or at david@davidpreston.biz 1
  2. 2. Intro: “Thriving In the Conversation Economy” is 5 words. If we ignore the “in”and the “the” and agree that few people actually understand the economy, we canfocus on the words “Thriving” and “Conversation.”What do we mean by these terms and how can they be useful?Allow me ask this to guide the rest of my remarks – vote yourself into one of threegroups: People involved in customer communications People in a management position responsible for marketing People who neither communicate with customers directly or hire those that do? (CEOs, etc.)Thank you.Basic Communication Theory: Subject Audience Purpose – inform, entertain, persuade.I propose we add a 4th purpose: InteractTHRIVING: The meaning depends on the person.Ownership: Thriving is defined by profit or loss or ROI.Employee: Thriving means busy, fun, exciting, challenging,and often the joy ofhard work done well.Customer: Thriving is connoted by action, by cleanliness, and by the variety ofprograms and displays. It shows in the staff expressions and attitudes, store displays,ads, e-mails, and in the on-line presentation. “Feeling tone.”CONVERSATION: From Wikipedia: Conversation is a form of interactive,spontaneous communication between two or more people following rules of etiquette.If you’re going to market (and thrive) by having conversations with customers, thereare simple truths that you must live up to: 2
  3. 3. Conversations require at least one person at each end. The “company” cannot have a conversation. Conversations are personal and involve one or more human beings. Conversations are carried out with little time lag. Conversations are spontaneous, not polished, practiced and boiled down to perfection. Ergo, they are also often flawed. Conversations take time and often wander off topic.Conversations That Work: “It’s Just Lunch.” Mecum and Barrett – Jackson auctions Trader’s Joe’s Fearless Flyer Barrett – Jackson Conversation GarageConversations ThatDo Not Work: “Fireside chats” by politicians Gates Foundation – Bill/Melissa Gates on education Reardon Fiat in KirklandFun With Ford Motor Company:12/16/2011Ford Motor CompanyDo you have two SUV’s in the Seattle area? I followed two new Ford SUV’s forseveral miles on the way to work this morning – both with Michigan manufacturerplates. Long range test? Magazine test?Whatever.They changed lanes more often than Mitt Romney switches positions, at one pointalmost running into each other. After several miles of aggressive near-mayhemthey were still visible in front of me. Totally not impressed!If they were my cars and I knew they were being driven like that, the keys would betaken away immediately.David Preston 3
  4. 4. 12/17/2011Hi David,My name is CeeJay and I’m from Ford’s Customer Relationship Center (CRC). Iappreciate the time you’ve taken to write us your comments. Insights such as yoursare greatly valued by Ford Motor Company. Thank you for contacting us.Sincerely,CeeJay, Customer Relationship Center12/17/2011Hi CeeJay.I also work in a customer relationship role for Ride West BMW (RWBMW). I cancertainly see how valuable my insights were to you by the form letter responsedevoid of any detail pertaining to the situation.I await further developments withbated breath.Sincerely,David PrestonNo further response from CeeJay. The next week I got an on-line survey from Fordasking how they had done in responding to me. I answered that rather warmly, andhave received no further word from them.This is not a successful use of conversation as a marketing tool!Applying New Marketing Terms And Concepts:Content marketing: “Inside stuff” of interest to the customerTrust marketing: Providing answers and info for freeInbound marketing: Useful information that persuades involvementPermission marketing: Having the customer “ask” to be sold to.(Note: NONE of these are actually “sales”)ALL OF THIS WRAPPED UP IN TWO SENTENCES:YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED IN MARKETING.YOU ARE MARKETING INTEREST. 4
  5. 5. How Can Everyone Be Part Of The Conversation? 1. Use internal e-mail to distribute your initial marketing plan. 2. Include anyone who might want to be involved. (opt out) 3. Write naturally and not professionally. 4. Thank anyone and everyone for each response. 5. Save all responses even if not used… for now. 6. Nothing is ever in final form – all plans are rough drafts even while being carried out. 7. Use e-mail to ask all for their assessment(s) of each step. 8. “Critic sessions” for all. (architecture firm example) 9. Asking those who have never been asked is VERY powerful. 10. Avoid both complete ownership and complete deniability at all timesWhat Makes Conversation Marketing Thrive? 1. Experience with interacting with varied demographics. 2. Enthusiasm. 3. Speed of response. 4. Business etiquette and “common” sense. 5. A willingness to “ask” at times and not “tell.” (Harley-Davidson) 6. Building “community” and “enthusiasm,” as opposed to raw sales.Lessons Learned in 12 Years of Trial And Error. 1. A few typos are not necessarily bad – they require another e-mail. Mistakes show the message came from an actual person, and recipients love to find them. Factual errors are more serious. 2. Being yourself is the only “method” that works. 3. For a small business, a real person is more effective than a “celebrity” spokesperson such as “Flo” from Progressive. 4. People do not mind e-mails that cater to their enthusiasm. 5. Anything in print automatically makes the author an “expert.” 6. Facebook, Tweeting, and other relationship tools can help, but e-mail remains the most effective. 7. Conversation “marketing” is not perceived as marketing at all. 8. Asking for an e-mail is an effective defense from phone marketers, believe it or not. 5
  6. 6. What Type of Person Can Converse with Customers? 1. Able to create e-mails, essays, ad copy, etc. with speed. 2. Able to write in his or her natural voice and not “corporate speak.” 3. Able to speak to large and small groups with little or no prep. 4. Skill and experience with the products in question. 5. Ability to think and work independently. Or, almost anyone with an interest, if allowed to.Problems with Conversation Marketing: 1. Ego growth of the spokesperson. 2. Spokesperson must be aligned with the passions of both owners and customers. 3. Spokesperson represents your company 24 – 7. Does he or she have the temperament you want and says what you want said? 4. “Loose cannon” errors. 5. Loss of clients if the spokesperson leaves or is laid off to be snapped up by a competitor.Let’s have some Q and A, or – a conversation! Name a product and let’s see howwe can use conversation to make it thrive.Copyright 2012 David Preston 6

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