Social Marketing, Communication with Integrity

February 13, 2007

Yesterday was the kind of day that draws people to the Texas Hill Country. Sunny skies and 70 degrees. Here we are in the middle of February. This IS winter isn’t it?

It would have been a hard day to work inside, except that I had a visit from a valued colleague, and trusted friend. Paul is an expert in relationships. In this writing, I’m not referring to his personal experience, but instead his academic and professional experience. He combines decades of study and development, with an equal length of time actually doing the work of counseling people, in the art and science of developing healthy, balanced relationships.

Of course some might think that the only path to a successful relationship is a volatile mixture of voodo, witchcraft, psyco-babble, and expensive jewlery, however I have it on good sources that Paul only occasionally resorts to psyco-babble, and very rarely use witchcraft, or expensive jewlery in his work. Of course I jest, Paul has had great success with his own experience developed strategies for helping people work into great relationships, thus I thought, maybe offering a unique perspective on Relationship Marketing.

We discovered during our visit that we believe that Social Media is a sweeping social change, that interestingly applies all the same attributes, that make for a healthy relationship in ones personal life. And brought up interesting questions, such as …Should how we treat people in business, be any different than the way we treat people in our valued relationships?

So as you might imagine our talk turned to the beautiful way that relationship marketing and personal relationship development dovetail. Respect for the other person, active listening, good honest communication all attributes that make sense in either type of relationship.

Social Marketing and its associated media is communication with integrity, or at least it should be. At its best it starts out with good listening skills, and develops into a mutual conversation, designed to be informative and of value to both parties.

Does anyone out there in blog land (offically known as the blogosphere) think that we need to continue with customer relations being contained on the operations side, cost driven, with the customer relationship strategy summed up by, limiting contact?

Just as with a good personal relationship Social Marketing should start as an inside job. How is the company valuing and listening to its own employees? Usually a good gage on how the company is doing with its customers. Social Marketing sets a new and healthier standard!

One of the topics our conversation covered was the amazing opportunity PR firms have to leap frog past conventional advertising agencies, with the ongoing adoption of Social Media. I hope that you will join us next week when we’ll take a look at PR’s overwhelming Social Marketing opportunity.

I’ll close with a comforting note to our readers that are covered in snow and freezing, or what ever the winter is inflicting on you today, our weather has shifted to windy and cool, with cold on the way. Now don’t you feel better?

Thanks for your time this week. The best to you and yours until we meet again, next week.

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Introduction-Episode Numero Uno

February 6, 2007

Welcome to the first edition of this blog dedicated to learning, explaining, sharing, and understanding Social Media and relationship marketing. This is all relatively new. So there is a lot of room to learn and a lot of room to grow. At its best Social Media is a mutual conversation, I would like this to be a conversation about Social Media and relationship marketing.

I hope you will join in and lend your voice! Or pen as the case may be. Oop’s I mean keyboard.

I guess I should start with a little information about myself. My name is Bruce Britton, I live in the beautiful Texas Hill country, but I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve been happly married to the same woman for 34 years and we have two sons. Geez! I hope I got the number of years we’ve been together right. You know the trouble that little oversight can cause.

For the last thirty years I’ve worked in marketing, and the audio and video production field. I operate a successful audio video production company, and offer Social Media consulting and podcast production, to corporate America. I also do voice over and narration work, along with hosting duties on some of our corporate podcasts.

But enough about me.

This blog is about Social Media, so lets start with my take on what Social Media is, and why Social Media is so important for corporate marketing. I’ll try to keep it short.

Social Media, New Media, Relationship Marketing all terms used to describe an application of new technology that allows corporations to connect to their customers and potential customers via blogs, podcasts, forums, WIKI’s and video podcasts.

Why is it so important to connect to your customers in “New” ways?

The simple answer is that consumers are not listening to traditional marketing any more.

Studies show that the average consumer is bombarded with over 8000 commerical impressions per day. Is the answer to shout louder, or to make a bigger noise? The answer of course, is no! Consumers are going to the Internet for pre-purchase information, not reacting to the manipulation and hype of legacy marketing found in traditional media.

I call it the “Google Factor”, but it really is a huge shift in how people gather information. If search engines are the foundational element of this shfit, Social Media is the main structure.

Regis McKenna a noted Silicon Valley marketing expert says:

“Until recently, the dialogue took place at arms length, because available tools couldn’t economically support customized and personalized interaction with thousands, or millions of customers. But in the last decade, information technology has dramatically changed the nature of that dialogue. Marketing will never be the same.”

Social Media is all about honest communication. Communication with integrity. It’s about giving the consumer a voice. Its about listening. Its about placing a high value on what the customer thinks and what they have to say. Its about offering useful information, not hype. Its about pull not push marketing. Its about building community. Its about building trust and understanding.

Its about building brand confidence.

Branding these days is far more about what your company is associated with, and the result of your customers satisfactory experience using your products or services, not the hype and manipulation of push media (traditional commericals). Branding has changed to be about building trust with consumers by inviting them into a two way conversation that enables them before, during and after the sale.

The market place is demanding a different experience.

You may have noticed these are the attributes of any good and healthy relationship. Honest two sided communication, listening, and building trust. The same keys that work to build a good and healthy personal relationship can be applied to corporate relationship marketing programs.

Well, enough for now. We will continue our conversation about Social Media, and many of the surrounding issues over the next few weeks, months and even years, God willing and the creeks don’t rise. Had to throw in a little Texas on ya. This first issue I have tried to touch on a few potential topics, and hopefully caused some thought, and maybe even nudged some reaction from you.

At least at first these blog entries will be weekly.

Bye for now, I’m off to deal with a dead car battery, eat a late lunch, and check to see if son no.2 has done said chores and/or at least closed the front door…and of course round up the doggies!

Hello world!

February 6, 2007

Welcome to Britton New Media’s look at Social Media and relationship marketing.

This blog will be dedicated to an in depth look into Social Media and relationship marketing. This is relatively a new medium for corporate marketing, and we can still learn a lot from each other. I hope you will read the blog, but even more so I hope you become involved.

If you are familar with the “thought leaders” of New Media such as Regis McKenna, Seth Godin, Jeremiah Owyang, Peter Blackshaw, Robert Scoble and Guy Kawasaki, you’ll recognize the catalyst for most of my thinking on Social Media. I owe a debt of thanks for their inspiration and knowledge of Social Media and relationship marketing, that they so graciously share. Even though Pod-Tech is a competitor, I also should mention Jennifer Jones, host of the “Marketing Voices” podcast for the great content she has brought to the blogisphere.

I also should thank at the outset two others that have been key in my progress and growth in Social Media and in business in general. Christian Carpenter, Britton New Media’s Tech Wizard and all around audio/video good guy, and more importantly friend, is the one who first said to me about a year and a half ago “hey Spanko check out podcasts and Social Media.” Good call Mate!

Also a shout out to Janet Ruiz, a PR expert working for Fireman’s Fund Insurance who has been a long, long time friend, who has mentored me in matters of a spiritual nature and business savy, and helped me along the way with introductions, encouragement and advice. Thank you for your love and wisdom. Her husband John, is one of my oldest friends, and one of the best guitarists you’ll every hear. Rock on!

Next, posting we’ll delve into the subject matter at hand, so we’ll offically title it “Episode- Numero Uno.”

I hope you will join us, and lend your voice to this conversation on Social Media and relationship marketing.

Until next time