You’ve heard it before – most breakthrough innovations happen at the edges or at the intersections of various disciplines.
The latest wave of marketing innovation is no different – although we prefer to think about it as happening at the SEAMS™, which is an acronym that reflects the various steps that you will need to navigate through in order to truly capitalize on Marketing 2.0 potential.
As I have written in the past, the marketing end goal has not changed – it still is to create a customer. It’s everything in between to get to that goal that has changed.
Some companies will advise you to start with social media based marketing 2.0 programs by simply monitoring the new social media channels, others will build you communities that are in fact nothing more than fancy web sites – but neither of them are going to be enough to enable you to capitalize on the fundamental changes that is rocking our industry. The only way to get the full benefits from the changes afoot is by understanding how to navigate the SEAMS™ of Marketing Innovation.
Understanding the SEAMS™ of Social Media powered Marketing 2.0
Sense – the best place to start is by going beyond listening to sensing what is truly happening in the marketplace. Sensing is not just about understanding what is being said, it is understanding what is being meant and make that available as actionable knowledge to the various departments within your company – product innovation, customer support, marketing, sales, etc. Sense also means that whatever you do has to make sense for your business – it’s got to deliver real, impactful and measurable results.
Engage – the next logical step is to go beyond sensing and to start engaging your various constituencies (i.e., customers, prospects, promoters, detractors, partners, etc.) on their own turf. This is not about them engaging with or through your advertising and other marketing campaigns – this is about good old fashioned engagement – talking with one another instead of at them. If they do not have a natural hangout place, there may be an opportunity for you to host a virtual waterhole for them – but more on that later.
Activate – once you get a better handle on the new dynamics of social media and marketing 2.0, you need to devise a plan to activate your business processes with these new-found capabilities. Product innovation, customer support, PR and thought leadership, lead generation, awareness creation, and other processes can all be transformed and made to work again by externalizing them to include your various constituencies as part of the processes instead of being the target of those processes.
Measure – of course you will have to justify all this new stuff to your management and to yourself. Not only is it expected that you can measure your programs, it is also more critical than ever to understand what to measure and how to set goals. Unlike with more traditional marketing programs, where measurements do not interact with the actual programs, launching social media initiatives and marketing 2.0 programs with the wrongs measurement goals can kill or maim the program in the long run.
Storytelling – storytelling is important in all aspect of the SEAMS™ method. Whether you engage with your audiences, or get them involved as part of activating various business processes, you need stories that will be compelling and will easily be retold. Even when you are measuring the effectiveness of your programs you should always be on the lookout for interesting anecdotal stories – they will gain a life of their own and sometimes do more wonders than stats in conveying the importance and success of your efforts.
What do you think?