Handheld cameras and Flipcam recorders may be fine for home movies or YouTube, but think about...
Listening To You
Internalizing the Message
To understand the conversation and feed the intelligence gathered back into marketing efforts requires diligent and deliberate involvement in the space where the conversation takes place. "Sadly, most companies and their agency partners don't know why to listen or how," digital media strategist Jeremiah Owyang blogged in 2009.
One company that's become seriously involved in the conversation is Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas. In December 2010, the technology giant launched its Social Media Listening Command Center, to track as many conversations about Dell as possible across the Web and ensure that the company internalizes the good and bad feedback it turns up. Integral to Dell's customer care and tech support system, the Center segments the information by topic, sentiment, share of voice, geography and trends.
"By monitoring Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs (through Google Alerts), you can defend your brand, answer questions and stop misinformation about your company before it goes viral across the web," writes Barton George, Dell's cloud evangelist. "This is where you take the time to tell customers more about your services, expertise or unique selling proposition. Generally speaking, this involves speaking to established customers or … customers who have needs for your services."
George's point about speaking to potential customers who have a need for your services is especially relevant for content marketers. "This is how you pull new people into the sales funnel," he writes. "Perhaps a local business owner didn't realize they had a pain point and you have the skills to solve that pain point. Through proactive communications, you're able to describe your expertise and create sales opportunities that otherwise may not have materialized."
In the case of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., the nation's largest traditional supermarket operator, listening and conversation translate straight to the bottom line. "I enjoy spending time with our shareholders and probably learn as much from them as they do from me," explains CEO David Dillon, who is known for accompanying customers on "shop-alongs, in the January 2011 Institutional Investor. "We make all of our decisions from the point of view of our customers." The approach works: According to the article, Kroger has seen 27 straight quarters of sales growth, even during the recent years of economic uncertainty.