Pic by NY TImes Photog.
Charlene Li is writing a book targeted for May publication on the topic of leadership. The overall thesis seems to be that good corporate leaders give up control and allow consumers to make more product and service decisions. Her first book The Groundswell, co-authored with Josh Bernoff, got the ball rolling. There is no doubt social media is the haps in marketing today and that lots of smart people are on board. Social media marketing can teach us a lot.
An interesting article appeared in The New York Times today discussing how college tours are taking more of a conversational approach to selling — even to the point where tour leaders are asked to not walk backwards or recite school statistics. This is a nice analogue for what’s going on in social media marketing today and one that sidles up to the premise of Ms. Li’s new book.
All too often in marketing today companies decide what’s important to consumers by mining statistics — then they use media to face customers and walking backwards reciting the selling benefits. It’s a one-way exercise that does not engage consumers and doesn’t encourage easy interaction. It’s hard to listen when you are reciting from a script.
Social media marketing is about listening. Understanding patterns of behavior, needs, and then acting upon them. By packaging the learning into a story, not a recitation, the selling becomes more palatable. And memorable. Oh yeah, and when you are walking backwards you can’t see what is before you. Scuffing your shoes is the least iof your worries. Peace!