Measuring Your Network11 years ago
In an extract from her book Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me, Penny Power looks at how to exploit social media for marketing purposes.
In an ideal world we would love to run our networks like we ran our CRM (customer relationship management) systems. When I started in business we had a box of index cards on every salesperson’s desk, and it was divided into three:
• Market – those people who we knew existed but did not have a relationship with our company – our suspects
• Working – those people who we were talking to but had yet to get them to buy from us – our prospects
• Buying – our customers
This is over twenty-five years ago, and the system was very simplistic. Of course, we soon brought in computers and spent thousands on a CRM system with which we could analyze ourselves to our hearts’ desire.
This kept many managers in a job. I fear that at times I became this type of manager. I am not saying business does not need analysis and lots of reflection and planning. Board meetings are rituals about numbers and governance and analysis is necessary.
My point here is that marketing cannot be treated as a numbers game in the same way as we used to. Finding opportunities and evolving a business is about absorbing information and connecting with people at hyperspeed. Learning to filter is the art now, not blocking out thoughts and people to ensure our lives are controllable and predictable.
The need to understand our market still remains strong in us all. The world of buying a list of targets and working through them with a marketing campaign to get them to eventually buy was targeted, systematic and measurable. It suited the corporate world as you could measure input and train people to be better at opening and closing a deal.
If their results were good you could give them a bonus or a pay rise, if they were bad you could fire them! How neat and tidy that was – structured, controllable and hierarchical.
Now, the world is different. Your brand is being created by anyone who wants to talk about it, your opportunities come from left field, not from where you targeted, and your staff do not want to be controlled, measured and managed, they want to be trusted and supported.
They want to believe in you and your intention, they want to share the goals of the business and know that there are no secrets. They no longer want to live in fear.
Applying my original teachings of market, working, buying, I created ‘know me, like me, follow me’. The latter is the networked equivalent of the former.
•Market – ‘Know me’ – your strangers (used to be called Suspects)
• Working – ‘Like me’ – your friends (used to be called Prospects)
• Buying – ‘Follow me’ – your advocates and your followers (used to be called Customers)
Penny Power is one of the UK’s most inspirational and successful female entrepreneurs. She founded Ecademy, the UK’s first social network for business in 1998 with her husband Thomas Power.mail the author
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