Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Using social media as crucial business analysis resources 3: rethinking through messages shared and the nature of marketing 1

Posted in social networking and business, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on February 5, 2015

This is my third installment in a series on social media as a source of actionable business intelligence insight (see Part 1: capturing new sources of opportunity and competitive advantage and Part 2: what do businesses say about themselves?)

My goal for Part 2 of this series was to offer a foundation discussion of two points that underlie any long-term effective business marketing and communications effort, which I repeat here with some minor rewording from the end of that posting:

• Your business’ marketable products and services that serve as your source of revenue generation, and that comprise the basis for your competitive strength in your markets are your most important core message communicated, and
• Every point of communication and of potential information sharing that you enter into is at the very least a direct invitation to interactive, two way conversation – and needs to be developed and maintained with that potential in mind.

And with that in mind I stated that my goal for this posting would be to at least start to delve into the details of this, and into overtly social media-based conversations as they arise from outside of this business, and as they can be initiated from inside of it. And as part of that, I noted that I would explicitly discuss both business-originated and outside-sourced messages and communications agendas as they arise and develop on all involved sides. And I begin that with the absolute fundamentals and from the perspective of a third fundamental point that I at least began to rise as an issue here in Part 2 as well, that merits a significant amount of discussion too:

• The boundaries between separate communications channels that might appear to be distinctly different from a business marketing, or a technology implementation side, blur when considered from the real-world and marketplace-involving perspective, as people carry over knowledge, opinion and insight gained from one channel when connecting in through others too.
• And in an always on and connected context, a business has to assume that the people they seek to reach and positively influence are always connected and simultaneously so, through multiple traditionally-considered channels at once.

People listen to podcasts and view and listen to streaming media, they text and phone through their smart phones, browse the web and share tweets and retweets, follow each other’s Facebook pages and add updates to their own and to their friends’ Facebook walls and more. And this “more” becomes continuously more and more diverse and more and more real-time connecting all of the time – and the brief list of options that I just cited here are all so well-established, even as I write this, that early adaptors are all focusing in large part on other newer and still emerging channel options in all of this.

I cited “old and established” channel examples in that for a reason – to highlight the ongoing relevance of a point that was already at least known in principle when Lewis Carroll wrote his Through the Looking-Glass and that has only become more and more pressingly important since then: the lesson of his Red Queen’s race:

• “Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”
“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” (With this quote taken from the above cited Wikipedia entry.)

There are several crucially important points that arise from this, and the pace of change itself is only one of the more important of them. Putting this in a marketing and communications perspective, if you miss the portion of a conversation flow that is taking place around you that holds significance for your business, you miss key parts of that conversation. Think of this as running this course without a complete map, increasing your chances of losing your way and no matter how fast you seek to run.

• If nominally separate and distinct channels (e.g. Twitter and its flow of tweets and retweets, and website based review sites such as Yelp) are all used in single conversation flows by the members of the marketplace that you need to connect with, and you miss connecting into the information sharing that flows through one of them, you will get lost in these conversations.
• And one of the most crucial aspects of having and maintaining an effective map here, is in knowing what changing and emerging channels your ideal target market demographics are using and favoring, and which ones might be falling away in usage so you can allocate your marketing and communications effort and budget more effectively in staying actively involved in these conversations and in this race.

In all of this, developing the right business intelligence to get and stay effectively connected with your marketplace, of necessity has to include tapping into these varying channel conversation flows, and as an accepted and trusted member of an information, insight and opinion sharing community.

I am going to change direction in this discussion in my next series installment to more fully examine what this flow of conversation contains, as it is variously shared and assembled across a web of online, telephonic and blurred communications channels. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and also at Page 1 and Page 2 of that directory. And you can find this and related material at Social Networking and Business and its continuation page.


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