I’m doing a keynote seminar on Implementing and Integrating Social Media in Bogota Colombia for a marketing congress on September 28th. As a professional speaker this is one of my favorite parts of the job, getting to share my ideas and passions with people from all over the world. The seminar company’s Colombian office sent me these questions that they will be using as part of their marketing package for the event. I thought I would share them with my readers. Here it is:
Questionnaire for Colombia Newsletter
Shane Gibson Social Media Speaker
Q: How are Social Media turning traditional marketing habits around?
A: In the past we could dominate the marketplace with advertising, direct mail, and other forms of traditional media marketing. Today consumers are much more powerful marketers than companies are, with their ability to publish information to the web, they outnumber us. Their conversations about our brand, company, products and services are now “branding” us. They can blog about our company, they can share their opinion on our product on Orkut or Twitter, and they can post a Youtube video praising or condemning us.
Marketers now have to not just broadcast, they have to listen to what conversations are going on out there, and then they have to connect and interact with the marketplace in order to direct the conversations about their brand.
Today the customer owns our brand.
Update August 31 2009 (Watch a 7 minute speaker video addressing this question):
Q: Do you think these tools will replace well-known Marketing complex software such as CRM, for example? Why?
A: These tools are changing the way sales professionals and marketers interact with the marketplace. In the past we would build a database of customers in our CRM and proactively drive the sales process through constant contact. Social Listening tools that allow you to track conversations about your company or what your target market is doing are allowing marketers to pinpoint customers at the very moment they have a challenge or need for what we sell. There is also a new breed of CRM tools called Social CRM (SCRM) software that is just beginning to be available in the marketplace.
SCRM will allow you to pull in all the information about a contact, based upon permission from them (they tell you what data you will get), and your sales process will become driven by the daily activities and events in the lives of the customer. SCRM will make your database come alive with by the minute updates on what your best clients and prospects are posting on social networks and publishing in social media.
Q: What are the main benefits of including Social Media in Marketing and Sales strategies?
A: Social media success is built through a series of genuine interactions with the marketplace. The key is to create valuable content, resources, build community and connect in personalized ways with your market. Unlike traditional marketing and advertising most of the best social media tools are free. They need a time investment, and you have to train your staff to use them, but after that you can generate results with a significantly lower on-going investment financially. Also if used right, you can turn almost any staff member in your company into part of your marketing and customer service team, all they need is a Smartphone or a computer with web access. Social media expands your customer service and marketing capabilities.
Q: (Any real life examples as to how much money companies can save you can mention?)
A: My co-author Stephen Jagger (Sociable! Book Site) runs a company called Ubertor which has several thousand clients. His clients are real estate agents who use his real estate software to drive their websites. Steve was originally a client of mine. He had 10 sales people, and over a dozen other staff including computer programmers, management and support staff and a very large office. In order to service these clients he also needed a lot of telecommunications tools and phone lines.
Steve and his business partner Mike over a period of time began to replace telephone customer service with Web based Live Chat service and Twitter. He then decided to use Meetup.com to hold events with guest speakers on social media and technology use for his target market instead of sending sales people out top real-estate offices (he no longer needs salespeople). The next step was to close the office and have staff work virtually. They moved their phone system to Google Voice, which is free and use Gtalk and a tool called Yammer to communicate all day with each other. Steve’s blog and his Youtube videos are used to communicate to his clients, and post solutions to problems and information on the software updates and functionality.
The result? Significant business growth with a significant decrease in business costs. Steve is saving thousands of dollars per month in business costs, far fewer staff and has actually improved his customer experience.
Q: What are the main obstacles firms face when implementing Social Media in their Marketing and Sales strategies?
A: One of the obstacles is techno-phobia or as I call it Social Media Phobia. A lot of people don’t feel confident in experimenting or trying to use these new tools. They’re also worried about negative comments or someone using their blog or FaceBook to attack their brand. The reality is this technology is new, and we are all learning. Now is the best time to experiment and get good at social media, while your competitors are still watching on the sidelines. In addition to this, the only way we can insulate our company and brand from negative comments or competitor behavior online is to get involved in social media. Build a community of raving fans around your brand. You need to get social to win.
Social Media Seminars