By Allen Fuqua, Chief Marketing Officer at Winstead
Nat Slavin, founder and President of Wicker Park Group, is fond of saying that in today’s market, “one size fits one.” He’s right. For marketers and business developers in the B2B space, this must become the mantra for strategy and tactical execution.
Though many professionals see this as a burden, the reality is much more positive. For those of us willing to engage individuals on their own terms and with genuine interest in their issues and challenges, then the relationship process becomes an easy game.
But in order for “one size fits one” to be sustainable and scalable, it must be built into a go-to-market strategy and the appropriate corresponding programs. These must allow the organization to focus on listening, gathering client feedback, and then responding in a personalized manner. This isn’t new and really isn’t that difficult if you build the appropriate tool set. Here’s an example.
About 30 years ago, I was involved in a community outreach to a target market of some 150,000 people. Our objective was to engage people in a manner where they could obtain personal support from a small community group, investigate ways to build a better life and relationships, and work through any outlier personal problems. Yeah, pretty soft, personal, and “none of your business”-type stuff.
So how did we engage with a large target market in a personal way? We built communication platforms that allowed people to choose where and how they would access information and engagement. It looked like this:
- We ran one-minute radio spots regularly on local stations with messages that inspired listeners to consider some aspect of their lives and relationships. Each spot had a way to connect with us if the person so desired. (Today, this might be a blog.)
- We ran ads in the local newspaper that highlighted the issues we tried to address and provided a response option. (Online ads on targeted sites.)
- We developed community events with speakers addressing very specific issues our target audience might be dealing with. These were publicized with ads and public notices. (Webinars, meetups, etc.)
- We operated (here’s a time stamp for you) a “code-a-phone” number (for those of you under 45, a code-a-phone is a telephone answering machine which plays a message to anyone who calls that number) that ran a different helpful spot (much like the radio spots) on a daily basis and provided a response option. (Twitter.)
- We operated a storefront, street-level office in the central downtown business district. People could access professional counseling and materials or enroll in a community group. (Surely you can make the connection here.)
- We organized and facilitated community groups (10 to 12 people per group) that met in people’s homes and had audio/tutorial group materials and a trained facilitator. These groups provided an environment for people to explore any number of issues while building a small functioning community. (User groups, interest groups, etc.)
I share this with you so you can see what a continuum of social marketing options might look like. The point of this continuum is to allow each of our target audience members to choose where and how they are comfortable interacting with content and people. Those who are marginally interested or shy can listen to radio spots or call a phone number to hear a message. For those who are ready to interact publicly, there are seminars. For those who want to talk to someone personally, there is a storefront to access specific expertise. I think you get the idea.
Well, that’s also how personalization works in social media. We plan a continuum of access points and build in response capabilities at each point—based on the interest represented by the target’s actions. No one pushes except our target client. The client determines the context, the content, and the interaction. We give him/her options and are always at the ready, no matter what level of interaction they are comfortable with.
Build your social marketing capability with a continuum of access points and content. That will allow you to listen and your target to fit it to themselves.