Tag Archives: chris brogan

Chris Brogan on Presence Management

20 Apr

Chris Brogan posted a great piece on what he calls “The Undiscovered Country of Presence Management.”  If you’re a leader in marketing or corporate communications, it’s worth a read.  Brogan’s main point is that engaging online is a management function. You can do it high tech or high touch…or not at all.  He says: 

“In fact, think of it like this: a website is more like an automated phone tree, you know, “for English, press 1.” Social web presence is more like giving out everyone’s direct line.

Let that sink in. It’s every bit as much work to manage the relationships that come with online presence as it is to answer your phone without the robots to block people’s attempts. The payoffs are about the same, though. People appreciate the human touch of reaching someone online and having a “real” interaction. It might cost a little more, but it really shows a different level of care and service.

Is your company ready for that? Could your organization see shucking the phone tree in exchanged for a heightened sense of business contact?

“Just having one person on the “phone”,” Brogan concludes, “will rarely be the right answer.”

I’ve seen a strong temptation of clients to see social media as a lead and sales generation tool, and while that approach isn’t flat out wrong, it misses the part of being involved in communities — whether local, industry or client communities — that is simply part of managing any profitable enterprise, across multiple parts and functions of the business.  To whit: 

The issue isn’t Return on Investment.  It’s keeping your eyes and ears open to customer and market conversations that, before social media, wouldn’t let you in. It’s being where your customers are, sniffing out potential crises before they happen and managing them when  they do.  

The issue isn’t time.  If you are responsible for sales, and you know that customers and prospects hold regular meetings about your products, your competitors’ products, or the types of problems they solve, wouldn’t you go?  Why wouldn’t you be there online? 

The issue isn’t just for marketing and PR.  As Brogan points out, social media is an issue for customer service and sales. You might as well add business development, partner relations, channel management, public relations, community relations, investor relations, and, yes, marketing, too.  

Check out Brogan’s Part 2— it’s sure to be valuable.

B2B and Social Media: It’s a Matter of Time

23 Jan

Social Media marketer (and Twitter rockstar) Chris Brogan posted a query on Twitter and an opinion on his own website on the differences between how social media is used in B2B and B2C marketing.  It’s a question I’ve thought about a great deal, after many client conversations with smart B2B marketers who are very interested in social media, but simply don’t see it as a priority. And they’re not totally wrong — in the short term, for many of them, their cusotmers just aren’t there yet.  But in the long term, they will be.  

Brogan writes:

“Think of this principle: “Be there before the sale.” Sales cycles for B2B products are often very long. When I spoke at IBM Research’s headquarters in NY, I heard about a supercomputer of theirs that has a 3 year sales lead cycle. How much marketing can one do in 3 years to move that box? Instead, how HUMAN can you be for 3 years, while going through the process. I think that’s where B2B gets a big boost from exploring these social tools.” 

And I agree.  As I noted in a comment on Brogan’s post, the B2B company’s role is not to control the conversation ‘out there’ but listen, participate in human ways, as you put it, and, at the right times, engage in ways that invite participation in efforts to help the industry that happens to be your market.

But I note that it’s important to respect the B2B marketer’s point of view.  And from their point of view, this can be a soft argument.   Again, as posted on Chris’ blog:  

When the typical channel-focused B2B marketer looks at his marketing investment, he looks first to direct-to-channel communications via literature and other sales tools, and next to PR — which, at least, gets you on the web — and advertising — of far more limited value, and their own website. Being seen online as human would be something to get to when there is time… and there isn’t time.

The challenge for organizations is that the marketing communications teams feel like they have no time to get what they see as “the basics” done, let alone do “technology stuff” in social media. What they need to do is step back and reassess how their organizations view the basics of communications. That reassessment has to happen across marketing, sales, product management and at the executive level.

The question they need to ask themselves is whether they want to be there as social media begins to grow in importance as part of the B2B sales process, or spend massive amounts of human capital catching up once it gets there.

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