By Oracle Social Cloud-Oracle on Nov 21, 2014
Author: Erika Brookes, VP, Oracle Social Cloud
I attended this week the annual #WOMMASummit in Hollywood, California. As usual, it was a lively event full of industry thought leaders, informative sessions, engaging conversations, quotable tweets and more than a few innovative ideas. I had the pleasure of speaking with LinkedIn executive Deanna Lazzaroni on the topic of B2B social marketing. Only we took a different stance on traditional “B2B” marketing with the session titled “B2B Social Media Made Simple: Hint, it’s All About P2P”. Meaning it’s all about people connecting to people.
By now, I hope you understand you aren’t “marketing” to broad-brushed, generic audiences anymore. You are trying to develop relationships with people. And that takes understanding those people—their likes, dislikes, desires and needs—accomplished through active listening. Once you understand someone better, you can engage and respond to that person in a more relevant and authentic manner. You’ll understand how to develop better content for them; interact at the appropriate time; educate and provide information; and ultimately help meet their needs.
Your business today must operate as a people-centric organization. It must be the guiding principle to your strategy and ultimately how your strategy is executed via your culture, people, processes and technology. It’s the right strategy that will help businesses succeed with today’s ever-changing world driven by empowered people.
- Be People-Centric: Put people at the center of everything you do. This goes beyond being customer-centric. This includes your employees and partners – groups of people that are equally important in creating a customer-centric organization. Learn, engage and empower your employees and you can create an army of walking brand ambassadors. This is also true for your partners. It’s like amplifying your brand marketing power threefold. Drill into your organization the importance of being people-centric—across customers, employees and partners.
- Listen to Learn: The old adage that “we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak” has never been more applicable than in today’s socially enabled digital world. The greatest “focus group” we’ve ever imagined exists today with our social web, if only we leverage its incredibly insightful data. Customers and prospects—people—are out there having conversations that could yield you real business value. But you have to be listening. This listening extends to all of your employees and even your business partners. Make listening your organization’s new best practice. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn that can be put into action to drive real business objectives.
- Get a Handle on Your Data: Chances are you have incredibly valuable data on your customers… in incredibly siloed systems accessed by different departments for finite reasons. Data is the lifeblood of your organization: CRM data is essential. Social is insightful. Marketing transactional data is vital. Service activity is critical. And all those other owned sources—call center transcripts, customer reviews, forums and more—offer you a 360 view of the customer, but all too often is lying untapped or limited in its accessibility. Imagine if you can get a handle on it all; aggregate it, analyze it, and find actionable insights. That’s power. That is bottom line. It’s doable, but it requires next-generation technology systems that communicate and share. Your cloud technology solutions like CRM, marketing, commerce, service and social should be integrated and interoperable to tie together all of your customer data to power your customer engagements.
- Think Mobile First: This is best captured in the form of a Tweet from BuzzFeed executive Terry City during his WOMMA session: “If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work.” And that about sums up where we are headed. Smartphones are changing our daily behaviors making activities like social networking, shopping and search increasingly mobile. Smartphones aren’t just lighter computers with smaller screens. They require a different approach than traditional laptops/desktops. You are dealing with a different mindset when someone is mobile… and yes, less real estate in which to engage. So you have to approach timing, content type and delivery, and the value prop differently. Smartphones also offer untapped and transformational potential—think sensors, beacons, location-based recognition. These powerful little computers can bring hyper-local targeting, personalization and contextual marketing to life.
- Be Human, Be Authentic: It’s amazing we still have to reinforce this one because it’s the most obvious, no-brainer advice of all. But everyday we see examples of organizations failing here. Want to see what a win looks like? Check out how General Motors handled the #ChevyGuy #technologyandstuff situation. A potentially damaging situation turned into gold simply by swiftly reacting at the right time and in an authentic, human and brilliant manner. Today it is about right time and real time content. And given that it is a person-to-person world, it should also be uniquely human, real and authentic.
Of course, this lists only five ways to succeed in today’s rapidly changing digital world, and it could easily be expanded to 10, 15 and 20 + advice points. As you think about your customers, employees and partners, try to keep this in mind: Our digital world might make it harder to remember there’s a person behind that email, Tweet, post, comment, or text. But your connections are being made with people. People with valuable information and insights; People wanting to be engaged and empowered; People wanting to interact with people. Welcome to the new world of P2P business—people connecting with people.