A few weeks ago, I wrote about the POST process (people, objectives, strategy and technology) and explained a company should only choose one of the five standard objectives which are Listening, Talking, Energizing, Supporting and Embracing. I have written about Listening, and also Talking – more recently, so now I am going to move on to Energizing.
Say for example, your business such as The Wine Store, has been growing steadily for a few years now and there has been a steady increase of returning clientele. In fact, some customers are enthusiasts and most likely the reason for your continued success. Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful way of marketing because it doesn’t come from the business, it comes from customers. Consumers tend to trust each other more than they trust any marketing campaign. For this reason, The Wine Store would be wise to energize some of its aficionados and give them tools to spread the word. In the book Groundswell, it is stated that there are three basic techniques for connecting with your businesses devotees (2011). These are:
“Tapping into customers’ enthusiasm with ratings and reviews” (R&R)(Li & Bernoff, 2011).
Looking back at the Social Technographics Profile chosen by The Wine Store, Critics were only 42% of the targeted audience while Spectators and Joiners were over 80% (Forrester, 2017). By engaging with the critics and offering them a rating and review system, they will influence the other top segments. Customers would purchase wine, consume it and rate it. It would also serve clientele as a diary for what they have tried in the past if their memory is uncertain. In other words, a R&R platform would serve as an excellent idea for The Wine Store and it is measurable when figuring out ROI.
“Creating a community to energize your customers” (Li & Bernoff, 2011).
This is a community created by a company with the intent of its members to share experiences and encourage each other. This is a wise choice if your customers and stakeholders benefit from shared common problems such as in business to business communities. In a mature community, the members support each other and there is less need for attention. In a blossoming community things can get out of hand quickly and it is up to you to turn the situation around. The Wine Store would have to dedicate considerably more resources to such a community, controlling the direction of conversations. Perhaps the focus in the forum would be hard to maintain and would be better off without it.
“Participate in and energize online communities of your brand enthusiasts” (Li & Bernoff, 2011)
Is your business is connected to a product or service that is associated with an existing community? The Wine Store sells fine wine to a select group of connoisseurs who love to share their passion and knowledge. There may be communities already established in which wine lovers from all over the world unite to share information. Researching some of the enthusiasts in your area and reaching out to them may provide opportunity in building strategic relationships. This also could provide insight on trends in the business and where it is heading in the future. Something to remember, as a business it is important to respect the community’s purpose which is for people’s needs and not to interfere with that. Because these communities are global, it may be difficult to reach out and find the right supporters. The Wine Store would also have to share the market with global offerings and may result in negative exposure due to its much smaller trading area (Li & Bernoff, 2011).
Forrester. (2017, 02 04). The customer-obsessed blueprint. Retrieved from Forrester: https://go.forrester.com
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell, winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, Massachusettes, USA: Harvard Business School .