In working on several presentations I have upcoming, I credit the start of interactive communication based on a book by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, “Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers” that I read back in 2006, I thought you would appreciate some morning musings/reflections on their message which is so very pertinent today.
The message was that the core marketing revolution is about the way businesses communicate – not just with customers but with entire constituencies – partners, vendors, employees, prospects, investors and the media. Author/philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once observed: “All truth passes through three stages: first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third it is accepted as being self evident.” This new interactive marketing (revolutionary at the time in 2006) was being called “conversational marketing, open source marketing, two-way marketing, even corner grocery store marketing”. Now we just use it and it has become self evident!
Basically, Scoble and Israel state that blogging is not for anyone, but it works for a company that is a good company, has a good product, and has some interesting stories or referral possibilities in a particular knowledge base. The blogger-writer must be authentic, passionate and an expert with knowledge to impart with the time to blog regularly. It is this transparent, authentic communication between business and customer that draws the attention of users who are interested in the product or service. Then the interactive communication becomes a customer generator, as trust is built.
Thus the crux of a good blog, and also now the use of social media, should build trust, interest, awareness and enthusiasm, just like they teach in Marketing 101. Is this working for you?
They quoted John Naisbitt, author of Megatrends: “Everything never changes. Something has changed, and it impacts everything else. Your life is the same; people go to the same jobs at the same places, they go home to the same families and watch the same TV programs. Everything never changes. Something has changed, and that something will impact a great deal; but life as we know it will continue.” And I beg to differ with this noted futurist, that life as we know it has changed. The impact of the personal computer via a mobile hand held device and the impact of social media on daily time spent interacting has changed, and it has changed dramatically.
The authors of the book agree with me in that they felt the blogging phenomena was creating revolutionary changes. The book asks, “If we were to have met you in 1994, the same young developers at Netscape were finishing up a browser that would let you view internet pages and get to those pages quickly on links, and that is what started to change the world of information sharing.” Would you think that the World Wide Web or the stagecoach, or the Gutenberg press were revolutionary changes when they were first used? History has to tell us when something is revolutionary. However, apparently history, recent history, has told us, and the Internet and how businesses are selling products and service has changed. And the way partners, vendors, employees, prospects, investors and the media get information, make decisions, and impart information has changed dramatically.
The crux of this interactive marketing, however, and one that seems to have been missed lately is that companies need to offer something so unique, valuable and compelling that people will want to tell others about it. The writers of this now landmark book state that what turbocharges word of mouth is loyalty to people you trust, not companies whose brands you recognize. And, “None of this matters unless the product or service is truly remarkable.” (I did just reference this statement recently, and did not know where I had seen it. Sorry to not credit you, Scoble and Israel)
If you create something remarkable, something worth remarking about, then people may actually choose to remark about it. If they do, the word spreads. Ideas that spread win, and they rely on people telling people. The best way to do this is to make something worth talking about. Marketing is now about product development, not hype. Remarkability the authors state, is in the eye of the consumer; if the marketplace doesn’t think your product is remarkable, then it’s not.