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Mayberry R.F.D. Meets the WWW

Guest Author

Is a good dose of nostalgia driving what we desire in today’s online
community? With the barrage of online enhancements to leviathan websites that
have become a common part of many people’s daily rituals, it has become more of
a challenge to enchant the daily eyeballs and ultimately the wallets of your
prospective customers, established clients, partners, members and employees.

While it is an obvious current imperative to present a friendly engaging
online experience, this experience should be not only useful and productive,
but more so optimized for enduring best results for both host and visitor
without appearing completely mechanical and impersonal. As social business online grows in success via
widespread acceptance and adoption, I can’t help but ask: Does social business
reflect a longing for the good old days?

In thinking about how social business drives our online engagement today,
I started thinking about socio-historical context. Historically, within a small
town or city neighborhood (perhaps like the fictitious small town of “Mayberry R.F.D.”), businesses were
successful because they knew their customers’ needs, fulfilled their
expectations, and treated them with respect and kindness. In the local country store, popular products
were located within easy reach. Packaging evolved to provide just the right
amount. Specialty items were specifically stocked for certain “regular”
customers. Diapers and ice cream were placed in convenient proximity. Through well
developed, long-term relationships, shopkeepers’ knowledge increased about
their customers, and shopkeepers anticipated future desires with a varied modicum
of success.
In best cases, shopkeepers
were rewarded with increased sales and a grateful customer, and even in the worst
cases, the experience increased their knowledge of their customers’ tastes and
desires. This intimate understanding of customer needs provided a
win-win for the business and client as well as the larger population that benefited from successful community enterprises.

Fast forward to today’s online world where there are similar high
expectations for understandi
ng a customer’s multi-faceted, yet now digital relationship
with an
organization. We want and expect instantaneous presentation and
delivery of the most appropriate relevant information for the given moment and
stage of our relationship/lifecycle with an organization. And because the experiences with many of our
day-to-day relationships are digital, we unconsciously know that the data of
our preferences and relationship history are somewhere behind the walls of the
interaction we are having at any given moment. It should be a social courtesy of our online relationships with
organizations to interact around our identified explicit or at least implicit
profiles, regardless of our social, mobile or online channel of connectio

Today, more and more
relationships are rapidly established and dissolved in our fickle online global
ecosystem. While fighting for loyalty from a global audience has become an
ever-changing game of guess-work for some – it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools in
place and access to
the appropriate data about our customers, we can measure and continually
optimize for better results with segmented, contextually targeted content that
makes more sense for our online visitors. With this knowledge and appropriate powerful
in place, we can start to build longer term, loyal, productive and
more profitable relationships with our clients.

While we can’t really return to the days of Mayberry and Aunt Bea’s apple
pie, we can introduce a similar social courtesy to our online experiences by
treating our site visitors as friends, not strangers.

Stay tuned for more discussion on this topic next week.

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