Turning Your Marketing Communication Into A Marketing Conversation With Community Social Software
I came across an interesting statement while browsing through conversations in a community on social software. It came from a sales communication professional working with a global hotel chain — and having seen marketing sales communications in the industry evolve in the 17 years she has worked there, she observed:
“Nowadays, no one wants another newsletter, so we’re hoping to make our online community a robust forum for sharing ideas and best practices in a conversational format.”
Marketing and sales communications are going through a change, just as they did some years ago with email and newsletters.
As peoples in-boxes are flooded with marketing messages and SPAM’s, the effectiveness of these mediums have taken a beating over the last few years.
Despite the practice of opt-in email marketing becoming more widely accepted, people who have been bombarded by push-based marketing communication are now moving towards pull based forms, where they can search for and consume the content that they are interested in rather than receiving these communications from businesses.
The other real drawback that automated email marketing and newsletters have is in today’s context of Web 2.0 and social software, where conversation is the mantra — these mediums are more one-way communication.
Enter Two-Way Marketing
Selling today is more about being able to solve your customers problems and less about pitching a product or service hoping they will take the bait — and this is where more traditional marketing and sales communication is losing out where online communities and social software enabled websites are making ground quickly.
Communities that offer a platform for dialog between businesses, customers, and other stakeholders rely on this conversational approach and hope to solve problems and provide solutions to customers. It offers a platform to build stronger relationships with customers and helps them build trust in the businesses through this two-way marketing conversation.
When communities are used for marketing strategies, they can help address the challenge that many businesses face today with the change that’s become apparent with the way customers respond to newsletters and similar channels.
Through blogs, forums, document sharing, videos, and other rich content that customers can simply access when they have a requirement or problem they need to address, business can strike those conversations using their community platforms. Not only does it create this back and forth “engaged” communication channel, these same conversations will produce a lot of content that search engines will gobble up, enhancing your inbound marketing and SEO strategy.
Plus, most of these communities offer opt-in email newsletter that are specific in the type of content that will be included.
It needs a dedicated effort and may not be an instant shift, but the online community is looking like the platform of choice for customers and businesses — and marketing and sales communications will be more conversation centric in the days to come.