Is This Future Shock?

musings on how technology is changing my business environment

How should corporates engage with Facebook?

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Facebook has now started a wide range Business Services, and a number of businesses are establishing Facebook Pages.

One I know relatively well, was a firm called Plusnet ( a wholly owned subsidiary of BT) , who set up their pages at Facebook on November 9 – (the link won’t work unless you’re a Facebook member, but the closed model isn’t the point of this posting).

They’ve decided to set up an official presence there, in addition to their engagement with an “unofficial” PlusNet group. How’s it working? Difficult to say, they have attracted about 100 odd fans in the couple of weeks since the group has been formed. How are they going to interact with people with issues? Well, on their user forums, they do actively engage with their customers. I hope they’ll do so in Facebook, too.

Why do I think it is important?

Well, in a Web 2.0 world, the way companies do business, largely through their marketing, is changing, and we have to step up to it.

In 2001, Idris Mootee discussed a new 4P’s in High Intensity Marketing. This was pre-Web2.0. He talked about

the “New 4Ps” model to supplement the traditional marketing 4Ps. They are Personalization, Participation, Peer-to-Peer and Predictive Modeling. …

The first “P” is the simple idea of “Personalization” which now takes on a whole new meaning … I was focusing on customization of products and services through the Internet.

The second “P” is the concept of “Participation”, it is to allow customer to participate in what the brand should stand for; what should be the product directions and even which ads to run. This concept is laying the foundation for disruptive change that we have yet to see the full impact. Looking back I was grossly underestimating the degree of democratization brought about by this idea. By enabling each of us to create and publish our own stories, the power of deciding what we read; listen and watch has spread from a handful of media companies to anyone with a camera, a connection and a computer.

The third “P” is “Peer-to-Peer””interruptive” which refers to customer networks and communities where advocacy happens. The historical problem with marketing is that it is in nature, trying to impose their brand on the customer. This is most apparent in TV ad, which pushes out its own idea of what brand is without engaging the customers. These “passive customer base” will ultimately be replaced by the “active customer communities”. Brand engagement happens within those conversations.

The last “P” is “Predictive Modeling” which refers to neural networks algorithms that are being successfully applied in marketing problems (both a regression as well as a classification problem).

His recentish post about this highlights changes

strategic marketing theory, concepts and practices. In this “experience economy”, strategic marketing now plays a different role. It is now “conversation-driven”, “social network-powered”’, “technology-enabled” and “information-intensive”.

Miss the conversations about you on Facebook… miss the pressure points you need to hit.
Don’t engage with your customers where they want to enage with you, they may not stay your customers.

If you want to be 1st for Customer Service, you need to be hearing what your customers are telling you.

After all, how do you want to hit the headlines in a Web 2.0 world?
“They talk to me from Facebook” or “I complained via YouTube

Most big corporations have a High Level/Executive Complaints team; maybe they could actively pursue service improvement opportunities that are made in similar public spaces. After all, why haven’t the normal routes worked?

The Cluetrain Manifesto has a few thoughts about how people might interact

  • We like this new marketplace much better. In fact, we are creating it.
  • You’re invited, but it’s our world. Take your shoes off at the door. If you want to barter with us, get down off that camel!
  • If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change.
  • We’ve got some ideas for you too: some new tools we need, some better service. Stuff we’d be willing to pay for. Got a minute?
  • You’re too busy “doing business” to answer our email? Oh gosh, sorry, gee, we’ll come back later. Maybe.
  • You want us to pay? We want you to pay attention.
  • Your product broke. Why? We’d like to ask the guy who made it. Your corporate strategy makes no sense. We’d like to have a chat with your CEO. What do you mean she’s not in?

Written by SteveEllwood

November 23rd, 2007 at 2:12 pm

Posted in Facebook

Tagged with , , ,