NOTE: This post will be the framing for the #SMchat on Twitter on Wednesday, August 18th, from noon to 1 PM CST.
Or…. Why winning new clients, friends or donors is so much easier when you do the hard work of investigation, positioning and delivering, and how to do it better.
First, some quick definitions:
I’ve written about Complacency before, and how complacency breeds contempt for your audience. In this case, I’m talking about having a George Lopez-like attitude of, “I GOT this!” when it comes to making sure you’re offering something of value to people who have the ways and means to buy it and that you’re operating in the right venues to get their attention.
Context is the real and the digital landscape we operate within. It means all of the influencing factors we consciously or unconsciously take into account when we evaluate the potential, intent, or veracity of a bit of data. Context is what changes data into information.
Collaboration is purposefully working together with another entity… person, place or business, to achieve mutually beneficial goals.
Conversion is the golden moment when a prospect becomes a client, a shopper becomes a buyer, or an idea takes hold and becomes a movement.
Now… here’s why all this matters and why you should consider the “Four Cs” of doing business in 2010.
Today context (all those influencing factors) changes more rapidly then ever before. If you assume, as a business or brand, that what worked last month or even last week, will work this week… you allow complacency to frame your offerings and your engagement. Better to seek feedback, monitor and listen actively, find new ways to be relevant and timely through smart collaboration and the use of tools like social media, integrated marketing, relationships and networking, dashboard-type web monitoring applications, community (meatspace or meetspace) to keep tabs on context. Conversions aren’t permanent since context is always influencing customers. Building community in whatever way is most appropriate for your brand, business, idea or personal cult is a long-term way to collaborate directly with your most important audience. If they think you care, and are actually listening, they’ll tell you what they want and need from you. All (ha!) you have to do is deliver the goods… whether that’s information, product, services, results-as-promised is what converts a customer into an advocate and someone who’ll want to be in community with you.
When you become part of the context of your customer’s lives to the extent that you’re in community with them, it’s much harder for you to become complacent…. would you let down your friends? Lie to them? Make assumptions and not even bother to beg forgiveness? Of course not. You won’t want to let your community down, either.
Bottom line? Remember that complacency breeds contempt for your audience, and that audience uses the ever-changing filter of context to determine who gets their attention. If you want to stay relevant and get through the filters, spend some time collaborating with people, offline and online. Use social tools, use engagement mechanisms like web sites and email, use old-fashioned suggestion boxes if they work. Because conversion, in the usual sense of the word in online circles, isn’t the ultimate goal.It’s just a step on the path building the kind of contextually relevant community that leads to long-term brand or business success.
What do you think? Do we need “4 Cs” along with the “4 Ps” these days? Give us your best examples of relevant communities creating their own context? Am I just nuts? 😉
photo credit: Landscape_Photography on flickr.com (some beautiful work there!)
QUESTIONS we’ll be considering:
How do you guard against complacency?
How do you determine contextual factors? How can SM affect or provide context?
How can you collaborate with your audience through SM?
(and others, as the discussion develops)