Being Part Of The Conversation In The Market

I talk about the “Cluetrain Manifesto” a fair bit because I think it was a pivotal book in the understanding of how marketing to your clients online had been changed forever by the dynamics of the medium itself.  It’s no longer enough to sit back and buy some media to shout your brand and pimp your wares in ads to everyone and sundry.

There is a conversation happening and to be most effective in selling you, your products, your services and your company, you need to be an active participant in that conversation online.

The important distinction here is that it’s a conversation – a two-way engagement where you listen and understand more than you speak.  You’re not dealing with masses of people, you’re speaking to groups of individuals.

It’s more personal and it’s more dynamic.

The Cluetrain Manifesto goes into this incredibly well, I highly recommend you read it if you haven’t already – it’s available for free online and you can buy it on Amazon if you’re so inclined.

I saw this in action in the most unusual way last night.

I was waiting for Barry Moore to go out for dinner last night here in Brisbane as we both were in town for the night.  While I was standing around the lobby of my hotel I noticed an oddity with a vending machine.  The machine was sponsored by Tassie Spring Water, but inside there was no water available at all.

I took a picture, posted it on Facebook and made a witty comment.  At that point, I went out for dinner and left it at that.

Midway through dinner, I noticed that the hotel had responded to my post on Facebook.  I hadn’t even realized that I’d tagged the hotel in my initial post.

Their response was that it was clearly not good enough for the vending machine to promote water, but not sell any.  They were going to call the owner of the machine and ask them to rectify that.

I was shocked.  This hotel responded to a random post on Facebook, at 9pm at night within an hour of it being posted.  Not only that, an individual person had signed off on their post.

When I did a bit of research when I got back to my room after dinner I could see that this hotel responded to every review and every comment left about them almost immediately – they had someone from staff doing it, but occasionally when appropriate the hotel general manager would dive in and answer.

I was seriously impressed.

We can all learn a lesson from this, myself included – we need to be listening and responding to our customers more online.  People are talking about what we do and sometimes even about us.  These conversations are a perfect opportunity for us to engage with our audience and build a positive rapport.

This is the new marketing and I learned that I can be better about this with my own business and with my audience.

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