It has been among an intense week at work and also of insights.
- Conversational Marketing is NOT about online, it is about Conversations.
One of the brand managers from a client we really enjoy working with, called yesterday to share a road-show proposal from a community that we have been interacting with online for some time now. We brainstormed for a bit and an exciting idea emerged, which we agreed to pursue. It wasn’t the first such proposal that we have received.
In just a few months of our interaction, we have seen participation from and buzz within the community that we reached out to through our web initiatives – groups, a surprise marketing idea and pro-active engagement on a feedback and insights programme. We didn’t really interfere in the natural flow of conversations, just kept the direction and flow going through minimal interventions from our side.
Still early days but the results have clearly been encouraging – conversations, feedback (good and not so good) has allowed the research and development team to get real inputs from customers based on first-hand usage, in real life situations. Customers, used to not being able to reach most marketers, even with complaints, are finding it a change that brands are now pro-actively seeking feedback and engaging one-on-one. That there is, in fact, a real person and not just a ‘Feedback Cell’, who is directly in touch.
We are now planning the natural next step and hoping to seed a ‘co-create’ programme. The number of people we have been able to connect with is still quite small and it will take effort, and time, to reach a sample size large enough to take diverse demands into account but it’s clearly the way to go. We are also ucky that the brand already enjoys fantastic goodwill with the customer, making the task much simpler.
However, the point is that online enables conversational marketing like nothing else, thanks to its interactive nature, speed, reach but Conversational Marketing is about real people and two-way interactions first. What we do with them is up to us. That it only starts online and the relationship extends offline is clear – doesn’t it work exactly that way for us too, with a community building around our blogs, soon enough we are meeting over coffee, at events and before we know…there’s relationship and trust.
- Clients value our passion, but also our balanced inputs.
An SMS exchange between a senior business leader, whose organisation we have been given an opportunity to work with, and me, reminded me again of the faith (and resultant responsibility) that our clients put into us – it quite humbling – and of Toby’s question for her Valentine’s Day post: What builds relationships between a client and the agency? I had replied “Passion for the client’s business!”
However, it takes a lot of trust on the client’s part of see value in not just our passion for what’s now ‘our’ brand, but also in the fact that even as we work closely as part of the team, it’s important that we retain balance like sometimes only an external resource could.
The SMS exchange, which continued intermittently through the day, was us trying to agree upon a differentiated line to sum up our business promise, that we had met to discuss the day before but there was still work to be done.
We haven’t agreed yet, but are getting closer to our ‘honest to God’ promise :).
BTW, a blog upgrade is underway, but in the interim do write in your feedback to ‘comments (at) blogworks (dot) in. I know it’s not the same… it isn’t even for me and I just haven’t written as much since the time comments were disabled. Let me see if we can find a temporary solution by tomorrow. Wish us luck! :)
Disclaimer: Views of authors are personal and do not represent the views of Blogworks, or any of its clients.