Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Dialogue v Monologue

Well, I'm sure I was going to elaborate on exit strategies and how not to get burned, but I read an interesting article in the McKinsey Quarterly that I thought was rather interesting, especially given what we've been doing over here in cozwecan. Donna Hoffman from The Sloan Centre for Internet Retailing wrote about how companies are still wrapped up in talking at customers and consumers, rather than listening to them - a monologue as opposed dialogue. Now as all Americans know, no idea is worth it's salt unless it has a snappy acronym, and on this point Donna doesn't disappoint: her model is tagged LEAD: Listen, Experiment, Apply, Develop. In other words, how do companies influence the flow of information relating to their business when the information is longer owned or controlled by them, but rather shared amongst consumers. So what does it all mean, and why is it relevant to cozwecan?
Firstly, we should all have our ears to the ground and listen out for what people are saying about our companies. It's no good shouting from the rooftops these days as no-one pays any attention - in fact, consumers are far less likely to believe what you have to say about yourself than they are those within their social sphere, or graph. A case in point is our crowdsourcing experiment in sourcing a logo and putting it to the popular vote: it's less about what we think and more about what our future customers think.
We also need to experiment, and it's more about tactics than strategy: social media is an ephemeral thing, and if you debate for too long as to whether you should jump in or not, you'll fast become the kid still using a piece of string attached to two empty cans rather than the latest iPhone. The beauty of social media is that you get to be where your consumers are, and the only way you'll get to be trusted is to be out there, warts and all.
Whatever you learn, make sure you apply it to the rest of your business, such as optimising your site for social network sharing. It's no good engaging with your customers only to have them disenchanted when they get to your website.
And finally, make sure that the Internet and social media becomes the dominant factor in your marketing mix.
Now I know none of this is particularly revolutionary, but it struck a chord for me, no doubt because our website is pure web 2.0 - the incubator of social media - and that we've experienced our first taste of consumer engagement. And speaking off incubators, I'm off to the birthplace of web 2.0 - San Francisco and Silicon Valley - for a couple of weeks, so no boring posts from me until I get back...

1 comment:

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