Cascading Questions?

It was a good week wasn’t it? Got alot of work done and accomplished alot, but always alot left to do, right? Looking forward to the weekend?

I started with a few questions because many questions popped up for me today, all day. I read some articles and heard some comments that made me think, and it resulted in a series of cascading questions about marketing, marketers and our jobs. Make sense? No, you say? Then here, let me give you the question that started it all:

  • Why do some marketers totally disregard Twitter?

    I answered that question with a question, which was also an answer…and so on and so on. Enjoy.

  • Do you not want to hear what customers are saying?
  • Isn’t listening to customers part of our jobs as marketers?
  • Hell, isn’t understanding new media channels a big part of our jobs, too?
  • Isn’t there something — anything — we can learn just by listening to customer conversation?
  • Even if you think Twitter is crazy, why wouldn’t you jump in and at least understand what it’s all about, especially if it’s part of your job?
  • Do you disregard other media and tactics without understanding them fully, too?
  • Are you doing your job by doing that?
  • Technology and marketing evolve fast nowadays, aren’t we supposed to learn and evolve along with it?
  • Even if most of Twitter is “pointless babble,” shouldn’t you be able to find a creative way to mix dialogue with tasteful marketing?
  • Would you hire a marketer who doesn’t learn and evolve, stay up-to-date with technology, and get better at their job?
  • If you’re the supervisor of a marketer who doesn’t evolve, why are you employing them?
  • Are you not evolving because your organization doesn’t evolve?
  • Even if that was the case, why wouldn’t you still want to learn and be a better, more marketable marketer?
  • Don’t you want a strong personal Brand Y-O-U?
  • If you’re not on Twitter or other social media where customer conversate, do they notice?
  • Do they wonder why you’re not there?
  • Would you know if they did?
  • What are you going to do about it?

    Charge ahead and answer the last question.

    Advertisements
  • Charge Ahead Blog Top 10 Posts

    I launched the Charge Ahead blog a year ago, and have enjoyed sharing many a random thought about marketing. Many semi-organized ones too. So much has changed in the field of marketing, even in just a year.

    To celebrate my blog’s one year birthday, I took a good, long look and gathered a list of my top 10 posts over the last year.

    I thank you for your readership, and am ready to charge ahead with continued posts over the next year for you.

    The Dark Ages Persist

    They’re still out there. You know who they are. They’ll all around us.

    They’re people who still do it the old way. Still live in the dark ages and do it just because. Still do it because it’s too much work to change.

    I ran into some of them today. They called me, on my personal iPhone no less. How they got the number I DO NOT know, and they would not tell me. They work for Fidelity Home Mortgage, some shady mortage company in California. They called me to offer some kind of home mortgage deal — the shady kind, of course (it’s a shady company, what’d you expect?). There were no questions about me or my needs or even if it’s okay if they called, they just launched right into a canned, continuous schpiel. My response to that was to ask how they got my number, in which case they didn’t answer but launched into another schpiel. I told them it was on the Do Not Call list and they should change their practices, and they launched into an apology and took my number and assured me it’d be removed.

    Let’s count the offenses:
    1. Buying telemarketing lists to cold call with no knowledge of the customer they’re calling, OR harvesting numbers from somewhere — one or the other (or possibly both, who knows, they’re shady)
    2. Not buying DNC-scrubbed lists, OR not DNC-scrubbing their own list — one or the other
    3. Not asking the customer ANY questions about their needs, just monologue-pushing their own product
    4. Not offering customers a product customized for them, just some generic schpiel
    5. Not even knowing if the customer wants or needs their product, just pushing their product blindly
    6. Not engaging customers with knowledgable brand ambassadors — customers hear from a robotic employee reading relentlessly off of a script (not the kind of thing that endears you to anyone — read about how they explain it on their own website)

    Benn through this lately? More importantly, know any marketers that still operate this way? Please tell me it’s not you.

    Listen, take a good, long look at the way you work if it sounds like what you just read above. It’s a tough economy, but customers don’t settle for subpar treatment just because it’s tough. And when things get better, do you really think customers are going to go back and settle for what it was like before? Think they’re gonna come back to the same old thing?

    Are you engaging customers in a dialogue? Do you target your marketing messages based on customer knowledge? Are you innovating your tactics? Are you a thought-leader in social media? Are you reading about what technology is coming next and preparing now to evolve your tactics in the future? Do you talk to customers regularly, not to sell them something but to learn about what makes them tick or keeps them up at night? Are you leveraging content?

    Charge ahead and change your ways wherever the answer is “No” above.

    The Culture of Culture

    People are different.

    And that’s not just marketing speak to kick off some rant about targeting messaging to various customer segments.

    The people we work with are all different too. Take a good, long look around your office today. Some just show up to work and go about their business, maybe you rarely ever see them (Rares). Some are, as one of my former bosses would put it, the “perfect corporate employees” who do everything completely by the book, politically correct, neat and tidy (PCs). Some are the gossip-furtherers and water-cooler-whisperers who give the Rares and PCs knots in their stomachs (Whisps). You could get even more granular and break it down even further, yet the point is this: all the various types of people come together to make up the corporate culture. And if you’ve been through a few companies, you know that corporate cultures can be as different as the people who make them up. Hey, it’s a hot topic, to the tune of 79.3 million Google search results.

    Of course, one thing that impacts corporate culture is strong leadership. And in the blink of an eye you could rattle off a few names of executives who strongly impact their corporate cultures: Richard Branson, Rupert Murdoch, Jeff Bezos, Meg Whitman. Did you ever see a robust corporate culture policy that did the same?

    Well, now you can, and that’s the purpose of this post. Tell me that NetFlix’s corporate culture and policies document doesn’t do an effective job of setting high performance standards and expectations for the company. At best it’s unbelievably motivating and passionate stuff for the PCs, and at worst it makes the Whisps chatter even faster about their imposing leaders. Yet either way it’s a great example of how to define a company’s culture, in this case with specified policy instead of implied example.

    Also check out Greg Verdino’s comments on the NetFlix policy, I think he illustrates some key takeaway points for today’s companies that plan to evolve into tomorrow’s leaders. Does your company show the door to non-performers in a moment’s notice? Do your finance and HR teams have simple and easy-to-follow instructions, or long lists of processes and guidelines? Would they ever dismiss tracking vacation days? Do you think this is crazy stuff, or do you think this translates into motivated employees who are passionate about their work and powerful brand ambassadors to customers?

    Would you consider these kinds of issues as part of your next career move? Do you have a strong personal brand and social network that employers want to attract? Do you want to work with Rares and Whisps, or the type of talent described in NetFlix’s policy?

    While some of NetFlix’s policies may be shockingly different from the norm, I bet they had the desired impact: top performers from far and wide charged ahead and are banging on the NetFlix front door.

    New Acronym, New Urgency to Measure Your Social Media Metrics

    It used to be so simple.

    At first, social media was easy because the standards of traditional marketing didn’t fit. It was new and different. It was personal and customer-driven and you were just feeling it out. It was Facebook and Twitter and what was to measure? If you knew how many Duggs you got on Digg you were ahead of the game.

    But now that you invest time and resources in those customer conversations, it’s time to take a good, long look at what you get out of it in the traditional sense of marketing ROI. Even if you can’t or don’t need to measure down to an actual sales or revenue-driven metric, you should look at some the standard metrics of involvement and engagement in social media — followers, friends, comments, retweets, etc.

    That’s where this helpful blog post from MediaPost (courtesy of @B2BOnlineMarketing) comes in. It suggests adding a new choice to the marketer’s toolkit of measurement metric acronyms: CPSA, or Cost Per Social Action.

    The main benefit of CPSA is that marketers know they’re paying for something social and relationship-oriented. More importantly, marketers know they’re not specifically paying for exposure, traffic, conversions, or interactions (though those can all provide additional value). It’s an acknowledgement that social media is something else, so it’s deserving of a new model, one that stresses relationships above all else.

    I like this logic alot. In social media, engagement and interaction is the holy grail, no matter what your goal. Whether you need to plant a flag as an industry thought-leader, or build followers for a Facebook page so you can reach them for a much lower CPA than other channels, the need to measure CPSA at some level is now an expectation. And it’s different that traditional measurement, because relationships are less tangible yet potentially more valuable in the long term.

    The article does post a great question that only you can answer:

    What’s a social action worth anyway? The further anyone veers from reach and sales, the harder it’s going to be to tie this into marketers’ traditional metrics.

    Depending on your ultimate goals for your social media involvement, the true worth is for you to determine. For some, bigger Authority on Technorati may be the most valuable thing for your blog, while for others it may be Facebook followers, Twitter retweets, overall size of your social network, or something else. Or maybe you have a different way of measuring worth already that’s more complex and gives you a sales-driven ROI.

    No matter what the answer to the question is, it’s definitely important to charge ahead and embrace CPSA as a new and valid metric that we look at often.