As promised in my most recent blogpost last Friday, here’s a second analysis and recap of some of the most inspiring stuff exchanged at the Social Enterprise 2.0 conference (tagged #es20 on Twitter) that was held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands – January 28th & 29th 2010. My previous blogpost covered the marketeer’s challenge of having to start inside one’s organisation in properly deploying social media. Paradoxically to most – as marketeers have been conditioned to look outside for wants, customer segments, opportunities, threats and market trends prior to doing some proper introspection. This blogpost covers the external aspects and value of Enterprise Social 2.0.
Marketing mix 2.0
Various #es20 speakers including SAP’s Sean MacNiven and Ellen Petry Leanse (Google) referred to Forrester’s obvious yet valid POST approach for leveraging social media. Starting off any social media initiative should not only be kept modest in size, but should build on a definition of the ‘who’ (what is the target audience, or People), the ‘why’ (Objectives), the ‘how’ (Strategies) and finally on the ‘what’; with what instruments should one execute the social media strategy (Tools)? KODAK’s Kees Mulder and Nokia’s Jussi Pekka Erkkola for instance propagated moving from the good old 4 P’s (products, place, price, promotion) to the new (?!) 4 E’s in the marketing mix , i.e.:
To my mind however, these 4 E’s were essentially of similar weight in the 1.0 era. Whether in B2B or B2C (or in B2G | Business to Government for that matter), hasn’t the marketeer’s challenge not always been to properly raise awareness, boost customer’s interest and desire, thereby resulting in a profitable transaction and preferably a relationship? An enduring relationship in turn, that ideally renders fans and (super-)promoters of your brand, products and services. The difference in Enterprise Social 2.0 primarily is all about the speed and intensity with which this process now takes place. Also it entails a revised competitive landscape and ‘level’ playing field as web 2.0 acts as yet another of Thomas Friedman’s flattening forces. More players with their own unique service or product now have access to the same global e-market. The same flattening effect goes for branding. As Ellen Petry Leanse phrased it: “your brand is now public property. Just because you have a vested interest, doesn’t necessarily make you into a trusted source”. Petry Leanse (Google’s Head of Enterprise Marketing & Communications) continued to stress that marketing 2.0 moves beyond mere branding and building awareness to “building a movement”. To some, this may sound almost a bit Marxist or at least politically flavoured. I do feel over 1 billion people (and counting!) involved in some social media network, building a movement of committed followers (possibly in a niche) is simply becoming sound business practice.
All in all – I’d argue the new 2.0 marketing mix adds 4 new P’s: psychology, personality, people and participation.
As a 1st year university student of management science back at Groningen (Netherlands) & Warwick (UK) in the 80s, this was one of my favorite topics. Nobody would deny that success in eg sales, marketing or general management to a considerable extent depends on the ability to touch a customer’s or prospect’s deeper sentiments, wants, needs and fears. Yet the public eye seems to perceive the art of psychology as pertaining to the domain of shrinks, medics and alpha ‘grey-wool-sock’ scientists. Wrong. For organisations to successfully engage on the global 2.0 playing field, they should first of all excel at self-reflection. Who do we really want to be, for whom? What’s our passion, why are we in business in the first place? Subsequently, in reaching out to selected communities or crowds, the days of Shout & Send are over. In comes the era of listening and truly showing empathy for your customer- & fanbase. Listening to relevant conversations and when engaging, being prepared to go deep, both require psychological know-how and skill.
In addition, social media and web 2.0 provides a viable platform for personal branding as eg Dan Schwabel eloquently and tirelessly points out. It also paves the way for leveraging corporate personality. Of which Zappos.com constitutes a fine example on Twitter. As Philips’ tandem 2.0 presenters Hugo Raaijmakers and Marco Roncaglio quite candidly pointed out, “Philips has no automatic presence of its own and needs to humanize itself”. The Roger Smith Hotel’s case shows that the company personality is built by various people of the hotel’s team, not just the general manager or the Head of New Media Marketing, Adam Wallace (also speaker at #es20). “Our employees realize they are on stage too and have come to see that every visitor should be treated and considered a possible New York Times reporter.”
Some folks would argue that people have already long been an element in the marketing mix especially when you are in the services business. I would not disagree. Yet I do see the need for a different perspective here. Every single employee or customer now has the might to influence a company’s reputation and brand. That’s why for a social media strategy to work, one should treat one’s employees all as possible ambassadors. This applies normally just as much as in times of handling a crisis as the panel discussion moderated by Jennifer Gehrt reflected on. And that’s why companies like Vodafone are starting to measure the social conversation with customers in terms of for instance social authority (who’s talking about me), social conversation (to whom do they talk), social sentiment (how do they talk), and social network valuation (churn & promoter scores).
It’s imperative for senior management to take part in the intra-company dialogue through wiki’s, fora and blogs as companies like SAP, Airbus and SIEMENS stressed. Externally taking part in social communities is of equal importance. Some might say that listening alone suffices. Why not tap into the millions of conversations going on there and use social media insights to keep a realtime finger on the pulse of the competition or customer trends. As Joel Comm points out in his book Twitter Power, “from a business point of view there is much to be gained from simply listening, without the intention of ever participating”. Generally, having moved external in one’s 2.0 approach, I believe there are few organisations that keep a stealth, low-profile approach as there’s bound to be some form of participation.
The great examples from eg KODAK (thru crowdsourcing 28,000 suggestions were submittted for a new name for the Zi8 digital camera), the RogerSmith Hotel in NY (improved brand awareness and customer advocacy), Dell as well as JetBlue (improved customer service and boost in sales thru Twitter promotions) and LEGO (huge community of enthusiasts sharing videos, innovation and product ideas amongst each other – 275,000 LEGO movies on YouTube. Top 5 have 47m views!) reflect the huge external market potential that’s only just being discovered.
Perspiration (!) might be an additional 5th P to the new social media marketing mix, as various speakers and participants stressed that for social media this mainly takes time, commitment, passion and dedication.