Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

People still buy from People

July 29, 2010

The marketing, sales and PR mix has been rapidly changing over the last few years. Today, customers are hearing about and evaluating suppliers in different ways. With so many channels the traditional marketing techniques such as TV advertising are no longer working so well. The growth and ease of the Internet has meant there’s less of a need for sales people. Or at least a need for a different kind of sales person and PR message, using social media to get to know customers.

Would you Trust Him? (Danny Devito in the Roald Dahl movie Matilda, 1996)

However, even in this brave new on-line world, the old adage ‘people buy from people’ remains true. Customers want to like who they are buying from and feel that they can trust them. “People ultimately judge only one thing about you: the way the engagement makes them feel”. – Seth Godin. “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons”. The challenge is trust is not quick and easy to gain and it cannot simply be bought.

Customers are no longer listening to the megaphone PR and marketing approach. They now prefer to research themselves and share advice with each other. PR and marketing now pays an increasingly important role as a salesperson. More than ever before PR and marketing has to develop that all important trust. However, how do you trust in a faceless message and person you don’t know.

Blogs and micro-blogging now brings a new way to understand and get to know someone. But it has to be real!! A website has to pre-sell and become a friend.  The question is: how can you trust a blogger or a company website/blog? From all that I’ve leant to become trusted, a blogger needs to be consistent, open, professional and show integrity. Honest as Seth Godin says. The only way is to be real on-line! The draw back with social media is that it takes lots of time and persistence to build social capital (as discussed by Ryan Carson). But then sales take time too – with 8% of sales people get 80 per cent of the sales because they are persistent!

However, I believe for the individual and company to gain credibility, reference points also need to come from other trusted sources. This still relies on traditional channels including independent editorial reviews, peer reviews, customer endorsements, etc. These references remain powerful in an increasingly online world because they are persistent and can be found and discovered by the new clients rather than pushed at them.

People do still buy from people but the process is changing. Blogs, mico-blogging (Twitter) and video’s bring a personal touch to marketing and PR interaction but conversations have to come from the heart. Recent case studies are now showing that Social Media Is The Major Contributor To Lead Generation. So, if you want and need sales as most of our companies do – get blogging, tweeting, videoing right now!!

Thank you for reading & growing my blog

November 12, 2009

The total number of visitors to my Nickpoint blog has been on the rise again  for the last two months. previously the number of visitors have reached a plateau. Thank you to all my readers for following my blog writings. I must be bringing some value to the conversation.

Nickpoint Oct09 Blog Stats

A Big THANK YOU :)

April 2, 2009

I would like to Thank all my readers for an amazing two months growth on this blog. I must be writing things people want to hear.

nickpoint-march-09-blog-stats

I bet any startup would kill for a sales graph like this during the recession. Oh look, here’s a SaaS (Software-As-A-Service) providers sales revenues with major growth in the current recession:

xero-customer-growth-march-2009

The results of a recent survey from Gartner shows that almost 90% of organizations expect to maintain or grow their usage of SaaS.

gartner-saas

Click her for a free copy of the report. Our startup Aware Monitoring is definitely in the right market :)

Learning to blog: Nickpoint 2.0

January 1, 2009

New Year’s resolution time. Since starting this blog nine months ago I’ve published 37 posts, received 48 comments and had 1000′s of visits. I now ask myself five things:

  1. What have I learnt?
  2. Has it been worth it?
  3. Should I continue?
  4. What should I change?
  5. What should I do differently in 2009?

the_great_wave_off_kanagawa
A very fine Nickpoint by Katsushika Hokusai (Great Wave off Kanagawa)

1. What have I learnt? I’ve learnt to be more open about myself, although I have found this difficult. Simon Wardley is good at writing openly what he thinks. I ‘ve learnt the importance of selecting good titles for the Web Crawler’s. My most popular post is in the top three search results for ‘New Media Channels’ :). I’ve learnt to be consistent and blog regularly like Sam Lawrence. It is also important to link to others and post comments on other blogs to be “part of conversation” as Jenny Ambrozek said to me.

2. Has it been worth it? In short NO. When I started this blog my friends said “I don’t understand the point in blogging?”. It has taken me alot of time and I have not gained the benefits blogging can bring. I’ve not enjoyed fame and fortune. But then it is not about money. Perhaps it needs more time as Bill Ives discusses. Wired are saying it is now impossible to get noticed” and it’s better to Tweet, “Twitter’s character limit puts everyone back on equal footing”.

3. Should I continue? I almost threw the towel in during October 2008. What is there to loose? Ranking, readers.. I suppose the real question is ‘do I enjoy it?’. I do. But to keep going I need to remain flexible. So when busy I should write shorter philosophical posts like Euan Semple.

4. What should I change? I’ll keep the banner image and change the sub title to Social Media, Startups and marketing to reflect my writings. I’ll also try new templates and I’ll will change the about me/Who I’m I pages to be a bit more personal.

5. What should I do differently in the future? Write shorter sentences. Use lists like Guy Kawasaki. Cut down on the images. However I can’t help myself and end up inserting several images. Guy Kawaski uses even more pictures than me! I love photo’s of buildings, people, places, etc. A picture says a 1000 words. I’ve taken inspiration from Jeffery Walker’s image rich and humorous posts. I should write Shorter posts. My longer ones are around 500 words and should be 250. This one is now 430 words, oh dear breaking my New Years resolution already. Oh well roll on 2010..

Organic Google search highly trusted with blogging influencing results

December 16, 2008

In a recent report Forrester Research are advocating an end to corporate blogging. This has resulted in a debate with  of . I agree with Richard that  readers develop trust with individual bloggers over time.  Bill Ives discusses can you trust a blogger in detail. However I also agree with Forrester that corporate blogs are struggling to gain traction. What really caught my eye on the Forrester chart (below) was that search is such a highly trusted information source at 50% and personal/corporate blogs so low at 18/16% respectively.

 corp_blog_trust_forrester

The question is then is it worth all the effort to produce blogs with such a low trust rate? Well, blogs and search ranking are highly related. In Google ranking research by Marketing Sherpa and published by Hubspot 75% of search readers click on the organic results and the remaining 25% on the sponsored links. Note that Google has a 70% dominance in search. This Google results page shows an eye-tracking heat map that shows where on the page people look and click on the page of search results.

 page3_goldentriangle
Google’s golden triangle of organic search

One of the best ways to rank highly on organic search is to actively blog and engage with others. I disagree with Forrester’s conclusion. Corporate and personal blogging with a genuine human approach that brings value to the reader can indirectly result in trust  by increasing organic search ranking. 

However it is a major challenge to be in Google’s golden triangle top three position on a popular Google search term. But also consider that most people only read social media with just 1% writing as discussed by Janet Lee Johnson. So if you don’t put in the effort to climb the search ranking engine you’ll never get there.

New media channels: Weakness, opportunity or threat?

August 6, 2008

The way we communicate and consume media is changing. This is affecting old media channels and creating an explosion in the media market. According to a report (download) from Ross Dawson last month the growth in the global media and entertainment market is set to grow from $1.7 to a massive $5.4USD by 2024 (in todays terms). The report was part of Ross’s Future of Media Summit 2008, which Seth Yates did a good review on.


Publishing has come along
way since the old wooden press

New media has brought a change in market dynamics with more consumer choice in how/where we consume and share information. This change is breaking down old media markets. Existing firms are being forced to try and communicate with potential new generational and innovative customers through new media. However Enterprise firm’s social network communities and external corporate blog initiatives don’t seem to be working. This lack of success has reduced the number of larger firms externally blogging according to a report ’2B2B Blogging Takes Nose Dive’ from Forrester and reviewed by Gavin O’Malley. In addition most corporate on-line community sites are failing according to a report by Ed Moran of Deloitte and review by The Wall Street Journal.

Miguel Gonzalez believes that ‘Corporate culture discourages the kind of openness needed to make a blog — corporate or not — worth spending time reading’. I think the issue may stem from customer engagement and employee trust. The challenge to firms is to be risqué as shown by successful blogs. These blogs present a personal view which can be deliberately controversial to spark conversations. This spreads the word and thus the link. Yes, it’s viral marketing at work again but by a real person and not from a faceless marketing department.

Being controversial is not normally associated with speaking your mind as an employee, with the exception of journalists. Even they are known get in trouble when stretching the truth a little too far. Some firms ban their employees from expressing any opinions on their personnel blog in reference to their industry. This seems a little dragooning but you can understand business fear of reprisal from customers should an employee make front page news. Firms also fear that employees may inadvertently give away secrets to competitors. All this control is probably borne out of a lack of trust in employee’s judgement because of our current hierarchical command and control management systems.

What’s the next innovation after digital printing- Social Media?

Are blogs and new media channels going away? Almost certainly not and overtime they probably will move more into the mainstream. A good but long review ‘Beyond Blogs’ by Stephen Baker and Heather Green from BusinessWeek concludes: “Even if the bubble bursts (Web 2.0)—and we predict it will—the power of social media to transform our businesses and society will only grow.”. I agree, change and evolution is inevitable. So is developing a effective new media strategy important for large firms? Defiantly, because as Ben Parr says social media is about ‘customer retention and growth’; ‘which meets company’s one overarching goal: to increase profits.’ As always the challenge is change and the need to change is getting ever more pressing.

Are you listening to the marketing guys shock messages?

May 8, 2008

Our newspapers have made shock headlines into an art form and the Internet brings the marketing guys an increasing versatile method of delivering new shock and controversial messages. The Internet is much more targeted at specific groups than newspapers and brings the reader the option to rapidly and directly become involved with the conversation.

 

Sam Lawrence, a seasoned marketing campaigner, has provided a great shock message example by comparing Social Enterprise Software to the transformation innovation from 35mm to digital photography. Lawrence sees IBM, Microsoft and Oracle as the 35mm film ‘Goliath’ against his firm Jive as ‘David’. Retrospect is a fine thing and right now the analogy is stretching innovation imagination a little too far, however marketers have no time for non-existent future facts. This short low budget blog post certainly seems to have got tongues wagging with both IBM and Microsoft employees debating on Sam Lawrence’s blog comments. Lawrence’s timing is impeccable with Microsoft failing to muscle in on the Google Ad funded party through the Yahoo acquisition.

A particularly shocking and well timed piece of marketing was from Volkswagen with the ‘tough’ polo ad. ‘It was not’ an Ad the urban legend suggests. This viral Ad was at a time of heightened terrorist tension and if you click the link you can imagine how much of a stir the Ad created.

Even Harvard are getting into the viral YouTube act with Gary Hamel’s unashamed short and punchy book pitch proclaiming that we are using an out of date 19th century management structure in business today. You don’t find many books being advertised so effectively on YouTube. Hamel’s shock statement is based at a time when our western economies are working out how to maintain GDP’s through knowledge worker innovation. I’m sure Hemel’s marketing has helped put him into first place of the most influential thinkers.

The internet is a gorilla marketers dream offering a low cost and very effective way of at getting people to talk about shock messages. The choice to respond to these messages gives the reader a feeling of involvement, even if they don’t respond, and here lies the power of the ever increasing and evolving Internet marketing machine.

 

 

 

Unlearning the technology bible to find transformation innovation

April 21, 2008

Last week I was challenged by a blog reader as over using Geoffrey Moore’s technology innovation curve. In 2006 Crossing the chasm was described by, Tom Byers of Stanford, as “still the bible for entrepreneurial marketing 15 years later” and only last month AIMM produced a  thorough 90 page report that uses the innovation curve categories to track the progress of Enterprise 2.0 technologies:

This report aimed to define Enterprise2.0 and uncover firms perceptions and positions on this emerging technology. Rather than summarize the report you can find views on Niall Cook blog post or CMS Wire ‘Organizations Still Don’t Get Enterprise 2.0′.

Moore’s technology innovation curve acts as a guide to past patterns of innovation and can shed some light of possible future patterns. The innovation curve has become so engrained for such a long period of time, in the timescape of the technology market, the real value is to be drawn from predicting the behaviour and actions of industry groups, who have faith in and play by the rules of a industry standard ‘bible’. I therefore think it is fundamentally important to understand the rules laid down by a gospel of technology innovation, before the patterns generated by these rules can be broken and transformational innovation realised.

By transformational I refer to a changing of the rules of the game as Google has achieved with their run away success ad generating model, much to the annoyance of Microsoft’s Ballmer referring to Google’s as a ‘one trick pony’ in 2007 and Microsoft’s change in strategy the same year, ‘We are ‘hell-bent on succeeding in ads’, Ballmer .   

Ballmer punching air

 

Naturally the ideas from Crossing the Chasm are not without there weaknesses and the book could do with updating as highlighted in an article in 2007 by Alex Iskold of Read Write Web, however it does offer us an platform from which to predict the cause and effect patterns of both customers and industry players. Players such as Microsoft and Oracle who hold the gateway to the convensional route of the mainstream market. My point is that to find truly significant innovative possiblities we need to understand how a market thinks and then unlearn all we have learnt to really innovate. As Einstein put it, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”

The ‘voyeuristic’ pleasure of watching someone else’s thoughts unfold

April 6, 2008

Having been convinced of the writers addiction to receiving feedback through channels such as blogs and Twitter I turn to focus on why the reader returns to read new blog entries, posts comments or even shares the link with friends. The value to the reader of repeated interactions can include learning new information for social, career or company gain or perhaps it is simply for pleasure.

For many years I have been fascinated by TV programs dedicated to watching others life’s. More recently this has been taken to a new level with Reality TV which I believe was challenged by the Truman Show movie (or reinforced depending on your point of view).

It would seem for many there is a ‘voyeuristic’ pleasure to be gained from watching someone else’s life and the web social media phenomenon maybe tapping into this powerful need and desire. These new technologies give the viewer an opportunity to get even closer to a subject with an instant view into a real, familiar and non-fictional characters life.

Many years ago I was friends with one of the consultants I once worked alongside at an IT consultancy. We both moved to work for Novell at the same time but have not been in touch for many years since he moved to the USA to progress his career. He was very passionate and committed to his work and this is shown on his Novell blog.  Recently he moved from Novell to Microsoft after a conflict over direction, with this highly charged change and emotional fallout played out on his blog. The strange thing is I have rediscovered our friendship through his blog story, although it is only really a one way relationship.

We can now communicate with many close-tie friends, loose-tie contacts and strangers using the new social media technologies with the reader selecting the people who they want to read about whether it be a friend, contact or someone who has interesting or useful things to say.

As a society we have been growing the number of information channels and now the individual can selectively choose the information they wish to receive, be it from a specific TV channel, specialist interest publications or feeds from the Internet. This continuing fragmentation of channels has created a crisis in the media industry and is fundamentally changing how we are being targeted by advertisers. ‘Ad’ based Internet sites such as Facebook and viral marketing campaigns are leading innovation in the marketing industry.

Social media is a developing channel being harnessed by many individuals to market themselves and promote their employers using the ‘Play’ or ‘Act’ of there life to attract an audience. It seems the line between work and home life is continuing to blur with new technology and attitudes changing how we communicate on a personal and business level.


Truman exits one reality into another..
 

You read, I write

March 23, 2008

I was going to wait until next week to write about Economics in a planned and structured fashion, however I have had ‘a moment of clarity‘ thanks to you. Economics you say, well how dull or perhaps how exciting.  The Economics will have to wait until another day. The shocking thing is what you guys are doing on a Easter Bank holiday reading blogs and my need to blog immediately. Here’s the proof of the number of blog reads on my site for the last week with a relative high number at the weekend:

blog-stat-mar-08.jpg
My point is that the new social way of behaviour on the Internet is very open and instant. This is me, here is my career, here are my colleagues, here are my friends, here is my family, here is my diary..here is what I think. And here is a graphical measure of how interested other people are in us and what we are doing. The next version of the Internet (so called Web2.0) is an expression of the self and then active participation in a community. By participating we become involved, by being involved we are drawn into participating further, thus me writing and you reading during our holiday.


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