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The Perfect Place to Work With, Irritate Customers

By Andy Marken

In the late 1800s electricity was first demonstrated in Indiana.

People fell to their knees in amazement.

No one questioned or challenged the folks who put on the demo.

Obviously they had powers beyond mere mortals!

Today you've got to do something spectacular just to get more a single 140 letter Tweet.

Technology permeates everything today.

It's part of almost every movie...even girlie girl movies.

Mobile devices are integral parts of our lives at home, office, everywhere.

They're indispensible.

Charge Me Up
You know:
- Mobile device that does everything – music, news, email, text, video, even phone calls
- Broadband access
- Electric car, auto infotainment
- UHD TV
- Media players, game console(s)
- Tablets, ultrabooks for TV, music, games, study, work
- iPods, MP3 players
- Home network/NAS
- Internet of Things

Kids get them -- all – first.

Then the adults.

These are Geoffrey Moore's Chasm innovators, early adopters.

The rest of us are what Moore classified as early or late majority (well across the chasm) where the kinks have been worked out.

Even then the stuff is never as easy to use as engineers make it out to be.

We're real glad we have kids in the house!

Installation Maze – New products, systems and software copy never says you'll need an EE degree or tons of patience to install and use the products. We continue to work to streamlining and simplifying installation and utilization. Tech reviewers and early adopters may get things working "easily" but we're a long way from delivering for the people on the other side of the Chasm.

If it weren't for the Nuvola media player that runs on Android KitKat we got to test/review – Ethernet, 2x2 WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, USB 2/3 – we connect to our new 4K UHD TV set we'd probably still trying to figure out the old fashioned cable box.

Thank gawd some people are making things less complex!

We jumped online to check out reviews but since it was a beta unit no one reported how good it was to have Android TV in 4K even before Page. Probably won't be long and he'll want one too!

Coming From Everywhere – Tapping online information, information, news and reviews is the first thing people do when they are considering a purchase. With a little time and not much effort they can find out all about you and what people think of you. Source -- Synovate

Since most us don't suffer from technophilia, we roam the web to see what "normal people" think about various products and the companies' support.

Check You Out – Some people view tracking down user reviews – pro or con – as a waste of time and effort. However if 65 percent of the people who purchase products/services research you online and get nothing but negative reports, you'll miss business opportunities you might have won. Source – the e-tailing group

Virtual communities cropped up over night.

People connecting with people.

People talking about companies, products...everywhere.

Boy that can hurt.

Communities of Communities
Communities divided into smaller, more specialized communities.

They use search engines, favorite sites, homepages, portals, IM conversations, social sites.

Social sites are indispensible to our lives.

They enable us to work/interact/share with others who have a common interest, common goals.

Coming together gives us power.

Suddenly we can influence others!

Now folks have a global platform to hear and be heard (pro and con).

That makes a lot of CEOs, marketing types sweat bullets.

When management hears people are writing reviews about them the first reaction is "oh jeezz!"

When engineering and product management read comments that aren't 100 percent positive their first reaction is...attack the reviewer.

Actually only companies/products that really suck need to worry.

Most of the reviews are positive.

Positive Response – Understandably you're probably a little concerned when someone sends you a link to a review of your product or service a customer has written and posted. For the most part though good products and adequate customer support activities (just listening to the problems helps a lot) get favorable write-ups from customers. Of course, there are the people you can never satisfy. Source -- Bazaarvoice

Hmmm...this online stuff isn't so bad after all...

Suddenly marketing doesn't see people getting together to talk among themselves, they see business, sales opportunities.

Potty Break!
One hundred and 40 characters to use just to say you have a headache, dishing a TV show, bullying folks...yeah serious business!

But Danielle Levitas of IDC reminded us that Dell had a Twitter used/refurbished equipment account.

How good could it be, even Icahn gave up trying to ruin the company?

Wow !!!!

They've sold a couple of million dollars worth of refurbished product with those lousy 140 characters.

Won't fund any stimulus program but not too shabby!

Social communities still don't have the power of the blog.

Originally, blogs were about people telling tales out of school...write their (boring) memoirs in real-time...badmouth their company/boss...document fanciful stories of their personal/business exploits.

Yes a lot of those still persist.

Today there are gazillions of really good, really informative, really useful business blogs being written by people inside and outside firms.

eMarketer estimates that more than 400 million people read them. By 2015 that number is projected to double.

BuzzLogic reports some people read blogs multiple times a day, others daily or less often but the number of readers and frequency keeps rising.

There are horizontal, vertical, niche, niche niche and niche niche niche blogs.

Some have 2,000 – 20,000 plus regular readers.

They won't damage Yahoo's news activities or ReCode but that kind of readership is nothing to sneeze at!

Is Anyone Out There?
Just as with social sites there are all types of blogs people access regularly to make their buying decisions:
- personal/lifestyle
- technology
- news
- politics
- entertainment
- travel
- business
- science
- health
- sports
- you name it...

Talk To Me – While social media sites require a team of people working around the clock and major investment, blogs require only the ability to write complete sentences, good information and an ongoing commitment to deliver new, fresh and accurate information...not just product literature, PR or ad copy. Technology blogs are the most widely followed by people who go online. Source -- Buzzlogic

They're important.

The challenge is finding blogs you need to track.

Smart firms are spending hundreds of hours to ensure their web sites, announcements, review placements and blogs are optimized for search engines (that's how people first begin their global search to find the subject, topic, item they are researching).

Leading edge players are even using social media to speed and share information/ideas with customers as well as across the entire organization.

Companies Have to Listen
The power and importance of social media for businesses is growing in leaps and bounds.

Social Marketing – While social network marketing is still evolving, many firms see the value of reaching out to and working with customers individually and in specific online communities. Firms are finding that the advantages of building strong relationships can deliver benefits in a number of areas, not just in sales.
Source – MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group)

There are a lot of reasons:
- It's fast – ask the community for inputs BAM!!! you've got a ton of ideas, thoughts, recommendations. Most very professional, very thoughtful, maybe even useful
- Direct communications with the customer base on how they use the products/services so you know how to plan for tomorrow
- Relatively inexpensive and in today's business environment that's sorta important!

Fast, accurate, low cost...and all you have to do is talk to folks!

Social media is a ripple in the way businesses will have to do business...like it or not.

It puts control in the hands of the consumer.

Folks don't expect you to fall on your knees when they turn the light on just listen.

They aren't as dumb – or as smart – as you think they are.

They don't spend every waking hour thinking how cool your product/service is and how insanely brilliant you are.

Leading Them On – Geoffrey Moore's innovators and early adopters can be powerful extensions of a company's marketing and sales effort to help prospects on the other side of the Chasm understand and purchase your product/service. Your happiest customers can be your most vocal, most enthusiastic supporters. Source -- NYTimes

However, if you've got folks on both sides of the Chasm and they're talking to each other maybe your best bet is to help your friends lead the rest into the light.

Just remember what Alex said though,"An excuse is a polite rejection. Men are not afraid of "ruining the friendship."

www.markencom.com

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