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customer — Page 2

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Social networking channels are not the only way to make your marketing efforts more interactive.   While you experiment with social media, you can make traditional marketing methods conversational too.

Getting customers to contribute to the substance in your marketing content, events, products will raise the value and trust customers place in them.   Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational, demonstrates that  “labor enhances affection for its results.”

This week I’ll be posting a series of ideas on adding interaction and soliciting active customer engagement and contribution through traditional marketing tools.   Here are a few to start off.

  1. Value proposition and messaging – Starting with the obvious here: when crafting your claims of benefits, value, and ROI, ask your customers what benefits they’ve actually received.    Use these results to create your messages about benefits and value.  Then go back and ask customers if they “buy” the story you tell about how your product leads to business results. You’ll have messages that really resonate, and your will have created references that back up your story because they ARE the story.
  2. Collateral and White papers – Create a Wiki instead of static product data sheets, brochures, and white papers.  Provide a framework and some base content,  then give customers the ability to contribute.  You can moderate to ensure accuracy, of course.  With customers contributing,  you’ll have more complete, relevant, and trustworthy information.

Have you tried these or other ways to engage customers in conversations? Share them in your comment!

Read More
Turn Marketing into Conversations – Part 2
Turn Marketing into Conversations – Part 3

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Start Conversations, Not Messages

by Lilia Shirman on February 13, 2009

in Customer relationships

Everywhere you look, its web 2.0, and even 3.0 with the central theme being interactive communication, user engagement, and the democratization of content.  But are we really interacting, or just blasting messages into the ether? Christopher Carfi’s recent post highlights a gem of a quote –  Leave it to the Amish to distill the essence of the shortcomings of much modern communication.

With so many channels for communication, it seems customers should be more engaged than ever.  Are yours?   If not, or if not enough, take a look at how much time you (and your marketing organization as a whole) spend on outbound marketing and messages, and how much on creating and participating in conversations with customers.

Your customers are participating in social networking and contributing to social media.  MyBlogLog, a site that attempts to consolidate data across multiple communities, lists 55 social media services. LinkedIn, Twitter, Technorati, Digg, Plaxo, a sea of blogging platforms…  And new ones pop up almost daily.

The good news is that there really isn’t hope or reason to maintain ubiquitous presence.  Instead, find out which ones your customers frequent, and design a process for participating in those.

Even better news: You don’t need to jump on every social media and networking tool in order to have conversations. You can make traditional marketing methods more interactive too.  Next time: Some ideas of how to do that.

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As a follow-up to the previous post, here are some practical differences to keep in mind when planning for solutions marketing.

Solution marketing differs from traditional product marketing.  This is a partial list, of course, but 7 is supposed to be a lucky number, right?

  1. Solutions marketers understand what motives customers to allocate budget within the broader context for a purchase
  2. Solutions marketing content is focused on the buyer and their objectives, not the product or its features
  3. Solutions-oriented value propositions focus in on specific use-cases or situations in which the customer is involved.
  4. The solutions marketing process and programs provide information or resources that are valuable to the customer
  5. Thought leadership and value creation are critical components of solutions marketing
  6. Solutions marketing activity often involves collaboration with other companies (see broader context in #1)
  7. To ensure that all of the above are truly relevant, current, and valuable to your audience, Solutions Marketing must engage the customer in conversation and dialogue at every available opportunity.

Speaking of dialogues, please add to the list with your comments!

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