Seduce and Enjoy – Engaging and Entertaining your Audience

Coaching-seduction

Some time ago I planned to write an article about the increasing importance and value of Event Marketing.  I planned the headline and the picture as I do to get  the story in my head as i do every time, when I start thinking about what I will  write about.

But this is not the article I planned to write on why Event Marketing needs to be a key component in every brand building and sales campaign these days.

The more I thought about the importance of Event Marketing and adding High Touch in a High Tech world was important I realised most EVENTS are missing some key components and we have not changed the basic way we do events of all types in business. The two key elements overlooked or lacking for all manner of reasons, not the least of which is we avoid things that are new and disruptive, are Event Media (as opposed to Marketing) and Event Presentation (as opposed to Production) …. as they just become part of the Marketing or Management and don’t get the focus deserved these days in a much changed world because they get squeezed out in a largely operational budgeting exercise. Continue reading Seduce and Enjoy – Engaging and Entertaining your Audience

Community Signage Networks – Engage, Educate and Entertain

Social Media/Networking and community attitudes in general are driving changes in the way people view advertising.  The old style based on interruption (eg TV commercials, pop ups etc) are now seen as annoying and something to avoid. The quality of ad content is another factor …people no longer accept being shouted at and treated as sheep that need to be driven to buy more.

The Internet is driving a change towards an expectation of being educated, engaged  and entertained. As such business needs to deliver valuable information if it expects to sell……not merely promotions.

Some recent research shows that businesses that use Social Media well spend 80% of their time on the 3 E’s and 20%  on promoting or selling.

At the same time people and business are more concerned about environment and community issues.  Business also craves cedibility as they seek to develop their own consumer communities and develop brand advocates.

As such there are moves beyond old style sponsorship to leverage credibility from Sports, Charities etc to a much closer involvement between business and Not for Profits.

Governments also are seeing the need for closer alliances with business and the need to use new ways to raise money outside the normal Govt Budget process. A m,ajor State Govt Dept is about to  undertake a multi million dollar project with no budget.  They want to work with business to leverage expertise and fund with advertising.  As they say “we have assets and we am willing to trade”.

Then we add a new approach to the creative approach to advertising which sees products promoted within programs (eg MasterChef) which includes ad agencies now creating TV programs as a vehicle to sell their clients.

Online we see Branded Content rather than pop ups and click through,  where advertisers sponsor sites, pages etc where the independently produced content is relevant to the type of advertising.

What can we learn from this in terms of the expected rapid growth in Digital Out of Home Signage..

Not for Profits (incl Govt Agencies) can now “own” their own signage networks to display material important for them to Educate, Engage and Entertain (eg Smart Bus Stops) and at the same time use them to generate revenue.

Shopping centres and streets are used now for Charities to sell badges, raffles etc and seek donors and major companies love to make big donations to look good.

Lets take a quick example of the Heart Foundation which does all of the above and also uses Digital Signage now.

They also run a Tick program which delivers credibility to food etc manufacturers by providing an endorsement for healthy products.

They could now go to venues with Digital Screens and have them join the HF Community Info Network.  They would also go to advertisers (their current supporters) and sell them on paying to support branded content on the network.

As such the ads would be in sync with the community health messages ….  screens could be used to download Videos, Diets, BMI calculators, apps etc, which could include direct sales of “sponsors” products.

The times are right on many fronts as listed above to take a new approach to digital signage and this Community approach is definitely one way to do this.

Social Media for Business 101- from Converstion to Contract

Quite often I am involved in discussions and debates about why business will or wont adopt Social Media. Generally these arise because Social media is generally talked about in non hard edge business terms and the focus is on the warm and fuzzy.  People (inc me) talk about numbers and stats, communities ans conversations when business wants to know about customers and sales.

There is an old business adage – Nothing Happens until Someone Sells Something!!

So when I read stories about why business should be using social media I generally draw on my past experience in sales and managing sales to teams to analyse what will turn business on about Social Media.

The first thing that comes to mind is the need for some cultural change and some organisational change for Social Media to thrive in business.  Marketing, PR, Customer Service and Sales need to take down the walls and work as one team to leverage Social Media for real business benefits. Having done that they can focus on getting from conversation to contract.

Recently I sparked a great discussion around this topic on Twitter by asking why would business adopt Social Media if it didn’t deliver direct bottom line benefits ….

My question was –  If businesses join Social Networks to sell ….. but nobody ever joins to buy…. why should business bother.

It was a very useful exercise and unearthed many opinions and in the end I think there was some consensus ti the views I presented. Combining the feedback with our experience in working with a variety of clients … and my direct experience in sales and marketing with companies small and large, local and multinational I have come up with some basics for business:

Tell genuine stories to build awareness & credibility and engage buyers in conversation with a focus on making sales and develop long-term loyalty,that’s what business should reasonably expect from Social Media not warm and fuzzy PR and shout out advertising.

A Social Media Campaign must deliver

Awareness/Perception/Credibility

+ Consideration and genuine interest

+ Willingness to try and buy

+ Loyalty and ongoing alignment

+ Advocacy and “ownership”

Some basic rules

Be What You Say …..  and ….   Say What You Be

Talk about the benefits you bring to people   Not about how good your organisation is

Have others tell your story for you

At the end of the day Social Media is old-fashioned business it’s about building Sales by Listening, Building Credibility, Solving Problems and Word of Mouth Marketing.

Twitter – All talk and no pay!!

Twitter_TVTwitter is now surely the greatest example of building a brand by getting heaps of free media and not spending anything on traditional advertising.

According to an analysis conducted by Video Monitoring Services (VMS), Twitter got great benefit from 2.73 billion impressions last month, valued at $48 million.

Of this over 50% were mentions on TV – mentions largely due to celebrities. politicians, sporting and media personalities embracing it as a medium for direct communication with fans, supporters, voters etc.

While Google has had so much free publicity it has become a new verb in the language — “lets Google that!” — it has been outstripped by Twitter now.

“This is huge. It’s very, very high,” said Gary Getto, VP-integrated media intelligence at VMS. “In fact, we looked at online coverage of Twitter vs. Google. Twitter is running significantly higher than Google and I didn’t think anything was more popular than Google.”

Not only does Twitter not advertise it doesn’t even have any PR representation to generate this media … .

This is truly the power of Social Media to build Word of Mouth and rapidly develop a Tribe of Evangelists and Followers.

More Listening …. Less talking …..

When I was manging sales teams and being subject to receiving much sales training, I was very aware that a good sales person has to be a very good active listener and less concerned with the sound of their own voice.

One of the trainers always said God gave you two ears and one mouth he must have been telling you something.

So whilst most people thing a good seller has the gift of the gab that is definitely not the case. They must be listening for problems to which they have a solution and then be able to position that solution in the context of solving the problem/s and nothing more.

Most inexperienced / unsuccessful sellers tend to over sell by focusing on features they want talk about rather than the required benefits they bring to solve problems.

So when I am asked what are the tangible benefits that I see from Social Media I refer back to this basic principle and say that Social Media has the power to do what a good seller does by nature but to a much larger market. Rather than develop Word-of-Mouth one person at a time, if used properly it can do this en masse.

So the keys to Social Media Marketing are providing the tools to listen, share, participate and understand and this can be done quickly to many. While now, as with the unsuccessful peddler of products, there should be less emphasis on talking, selling, marketing and advertising. These are all time consuming and resource hungry activities that also move people towards you slowly and cautiously.

Social Media can develop all the right attention quickly if used properly while the traditional approaches to advertising, marketing and selling are much slower and much less convincing.

Its all about storytelling and explaining to engage, converse and ultimately convert. The art of the explainer, teacher, story teller is a real key. The ability to explain complex topics simply and quickly in a world where we are drowning in irrelevant information is a real art. Common Craft and their simple videos are but one great example of this simplistic approach that is needed these days.

Among the simple and easy to use tools that can help you to Listen are Google News/Alerts/Reader, Blogs, and the Twitter Search features and supplementary tools. Twitter in many ways is a better Search Engine than Google, because it looks real time at what is being said about a topic to return instant and up to the minute results.

For sharing there is RSS, Facebook, LinkedIn Groups and of course Twitter.

While to speed up the process and cross boundaries when sharing info there are many tools. I use Ping.fm to instantly update my “what am I doing/interested in/got to say/want to know about in Twitter, Facebook, Plaxo, LinkedIn etc. I do so instantly with one message using Ping.fm. And I can add a link in a Twitter style message by shortening the link using TinyUrl or other similar tools.

So we can practice professional salespersonship these days in bulk by smart use of Social Media and get fast results.

Does Joe get it…… or is it me …. again??

twitI often say about all manner of things that surround me, “I don’t get it”. What I mean is I don’t understand why people like something including some commonly held views, which I don’t find at all appealing.

So when I read a headline “Report Claims Social Media Fails” on Media Post on Monday my first reaction was “I don’t get it” ….but in fact it seems the author Joe Mandese is the one who “don’t get it.”

When I referred my daughter and colleague Nikki to the story to consider for the eBook we are writing “The Grumpy Old Man’s Guide to Social Media,” she was instantly dismissive  – “You should know research can prove anything … just ask the right questions.”

Joe tells us Social Media fails as a marketing medium, “Among other things, the study finds that less than 5% of social media users regularly turn to these social networks for ‘guidance on purchase decisions” in any of nine product and/or service categories, and that only 16% of social media users say they are more likely to buy from companies that advertise on social sites.”

Of course people don’t turn to it for that specific purpose. However like TV, radio and newspapers they are indirectly influenced by opinion, editorial and of course to some extent advertising. So while people use Social Media for a variety of reasons, as they do traditional media, it does result in the development of Word-of-Mouth from the opinions they read …. from real people.

A newspaper reporting a movie or restaurant review, a story about a holiday destination, the latest food/diet craze etc will cause some Word-of-Mouth and hence marketing for the business/brand/product concerned.

What Social Media delivers is a diversity of views/opinions/recommendations well beyond those provided by those paid for their opinions.

He also believes advertising on Social Media sites is a waste of time – “only 16% are more likely to buy from companies that advertise on social sites.” Firstly in terms of advertising I think that’s not a bad result and one that is highly dependent on the matching of advertising with sites. Personally I find much of the advertising on the Net to be doing nothing more than filling in space. But if it was relevant to what I am looking for on the site they attract my interest.

And then I find, “‘Obviously, a lot of people are using Social Media, but they are not explicitly turning to it for marketing purposes or for finding out what products to buy. It’s really about connecting with friends or connecting with other people,” says Dave Tice, vice president and group account director at Knowledge Networks and the top analyst behind the report. “What we’re seeing is that word-of-mouth is still the No. 1 most influential source, followed by TVetc …”

So Word-of-Mouth is No. 1 but Social Media, which, as Dave says, is about “connecting with friends or connecting with other people” doesn’t rate.

I don’t get it …. Social Media clearly creates Word-of-Mouth which is the No 1 marketing tool but Social Media fails… so after all it’s me that “doesn’t get it” or am I just biased.

Please let me know what you think here or on Twitter @enovapr.