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In The Age of Conversation -


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My contributions to amazing series of crowd sourced books "The Age of Conversation 1. 2 and 3." Social Media Marketing Over 100 bloggers in 9 countries collaborated on a book about social media marketing. Funds were given to nonprofits.
Edited by Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan.

Published in: Business, Technology
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In The Age of Conversation -

  1. 1. Technology Is Recreating Business Intimacies Reprinted From the Age of Conversation 1 By Toby Bloomberg – Diva Marketing C ustomers from India, Canada, New Zealand and Europe.Technology swings open the doors to a global marketplace. Our cyberspace offices andstorefronts keep the lights on 24/7/365 allowing us to conduct business with a mereclick and an internet connection. Life is good. Or is it?In their rush to enter this new environment companies often sacrificed personalconnections with their customers and other stakeholders. Understanding the individualneeds of a growing and often geographically dispersed customer based is not an easy orinexpensive undertaking.Attempting to service and engage customers, some organizations turned to nontraditional solutions including: out sourced online service “chat reps” who often hadlimited understanding of the business’s culture; interactive websites that flashedmessages that were pretty but of little value; and email tactics where questions weregobbled up by cyberspace gremlins who of course never responded back.Misunderstanding and brand devaluation were frequently outcomes of non relationshipservice. Customers wanted high touch along with convenience of immediate access toinformation. Even businesses with only a local focus were being challenged with how tostay connected to their clients.About this time a strange dichotomy began to occur in the world of virtual business. Thetechnology, that fostered impersonalization, was being used to create “corner grocerystore relationships.” Through funny little websites called blogs companies began toengage with their customers in people-to-people conversations. Those conversationsoccurred not with the marketing, PR, tech support “departments” but with peoplewithin those departments who shared common interests and passions. The exchangewas richer, deeper and more satisfying relationships for both customer and company. 1 Age of Conversation Book Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing eMail Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest DivaMarketing |AllTheSingleGirlfriends
  2. 2. When we get to know people more than product information is usually exchanged.That’s exactly what happened online. Stories about personal interest from wine tofamily vacation were “blogged.” Photos were shared. Relationships that were asintimate and important as those created by neighborhood green grocers were beingformed.Through social media marketing initiatives: blogs, podcasts, vlogs, mash-upcommunities, social book marking and photo sharing organizations were rediscoveringthat the corner grocery store relation was attainable in an online environment and moreimportant than ever before to foster and maintain.“Its not personal, Sonny. Its strictly business,” said Michael Corleone to his brother.However, the son of the Godfather was wrong. Dead wrong. Business is personal.Technology is fueling the emotional engagement that leads to long-term customerinteractions. 2 Age of Conversation Book Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing eMail Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest DivaMarketing |AllTheSingleGirlfriends
  3. 3. Answers To The Questions You Didn’t Ask Reprinted From the Age of Conversation 2 By Toby Bloomberg – Diva Marketing W hen was the last time you talked, listened, laughed andlearned with .. not From .. but With your customers or clients? Marketing teaches us themore we know about our target audience the better we can service them. "The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself." - Peter Drucker.When Peter Drucker wrote that statement, over fifty years ago, formal market researchwas how most marketers obtained insights about their customers. Marketers asked thequestions and customers gave their opinions. Marketers listened and learned.Flash into the 21st century … technology has changed global communication and thatinfluenced business communications. An internet playground developed that toppledthe walls of culture and geographical distance. Conversations exploded.Social media people-to-people talk often includes discussions about experiences withspecific brands. In unfiltered, non-directed discussions on blogs, in communities, onreview sites, in videos and through photos the good, bad and ugly are now in full Googleview for all. An informal consumer review network is being created that ofteninfluences, not only brand perception, but purchase decisions.For the first time, our customers are providing answers to questions that were neverasked in formal research studies. We now have additional, valuable insights that cansupplement traditional research. However, some marketers dismiss this online chat asirrelevant. Others listen in frozen fascination. A few companies are doing somethingradical that marketers never had the opportunity to do before: talking with theircustomers in their worlds. 3 Age of Conversation Book Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing eMail Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest DivaMarketing |AllTheSingleGirlfriends
  4. 4. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, is active on Twitter - a micro blogging community. His adviceto CEOs who want to bring social media to their companies - “I think if the CEO startsusing Twitter on his/her own and is actually passionate about it, then that passion willeventually rub off on the rest of the organization.”Dell is also changing its business model by engaging with its customers. According toRichard Binhammer, “Social media helps us: learn from conversations with customersevery day. That has influenced internal processes as we have identified issues soonerthan we might otherwise have, learned to respond faster and generally listen and be intouch.”Understanding your customer and knowing what she wants is like finding the holy grailof marketing. Adopting your business model to include engaging with your customerscan help make that happen.The Age of Conversation 2 book brought together nearly 300 of the world’s leadingmarketers, writers, thinkers and creative innovators for a global collaboration where theimpact of digital conversations was explored. 4 Age of Conversation Book Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing eMail Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest DivaMarketing |AllTheSingleGirlfriends
  5. 5. Building The Social Enterprise A Business Story Reprinted From the Age of Conversation 3 By Toby Bloomberg – Diva Marketing O nce upon a time there was a CEO who worked diligently for many years building a successful company. One day she (or perhaps it was he) realized the business model she had carefully crafted was no longer valid. She found that her customers and prospects were not waiting for her website to be updated, new ads to launch, sales calls returned or direct mail pieces received in order to make purchase decisions. She discovered that customers were not in company service queues waiting for answers to their questions. Something called the “social web” had created a world where people exchanged ideas, information and opinions as easily as if they were chatting over a cup of coffee at their favorite café. So she did what any savvy CEO would do. She began to exploring the conversations. She was surprised to learn many were not only about her company’s brands but its service, employees the enterprise and even her. “How interesting.” she thought. It was almost like listening to focus group conversations but without a moderator leading the discussion. Of course it wasn’t statistically valid as her VP of Consumer Insights pointed out. However, might this information serve as valuable research to learn about more her customers? Our CEO was one smart lady. Although, the idea of customers engaging in the digital world about her brands intrigued her she did not want to replace her traditional strategy with a shiny new toy. Before she invested in a new set of tactics in digital venues, she set out to understand how social media might impact5 Age of Conversation Book Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing eMail Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest DivaMarketing |AllTheSingleGirlfriends
  6. 6. not only customers, prospects and stakeholders but employees and current business processes. Getting The Enterprise Social Media Ready She convened a cross functional task force that included people from digital, marketing, consumer insights, HR, customer care, IT, operations, PR, legal, sales and accounting. Creating an environment where people could safely discuss their concerns she encouraged them to look at challenges/fears and opportunities that social media could bring to the enterprise. Team members were charged with researching and reporting about social media through the lens of: competition, industry trends, customer participation and expectation and company culture. In addition, each team member was asked to actively experience and participate in at least one new social media tool. With the company’s business objectives in clear sight, subsequent sessions focused on the impact of social media on each department. In addition, impact on the company culture was explored. It became obvious new processes would have to be developed and integrated throughout the enterprise including cross functional communication systems and even hiring qualifications. Our CEO wanted to ensure that all new hires could work in a cross functional team environment and had a customer focused attitude. . The CEO sighed. Becoming a Social Enterprise wouldn’t happen overnight but she knew that building a stronger organization with better brands always took time.6 Age of Conversation Book Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing eMail Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest DivaMarketing |AllTheSingleGirlfriends