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Ask NOT What The Audience Can Do….

Everyone is discussing how markets can better engage buyers. Hell bent on this intent we see brands and merchants jumping into social media with the aim of “pulling” us into an engagement designed by and for them. This intent is backwards and doomed to fail!

Jason Falls writes: One of the most powerful business objectives social media can deliver is consumer engagement. At least that’s what all the social media advocates tell you, right. But what exactly is “engagement,” how do you measure it and why is it all of a sudden the holy grail of marketing?

What successful engagement means to me is this: Did you get something from your audience that can make your business better?

While I respect Jason Falls work I have to fundamentally disagree with his statement. Getting something from your audience should not be the intent. Rather the opposite strategy, giving something to your audience reflects a more productive strategy given that intentions are transparent. If the marketplace senses, knows or hears that your intent is to get something from them the likely response will be to ignore you.

The Revolutionary Torch Has Been Passed to the Buyer

I have remixed President Kenney’s famous speech to reflect what the marketplace should be thinking and asking.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of   revolutionary changes. Let the word go forth , to the marketplace, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of people empowered with their own media and intentions – born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by the past, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of past business models and market practices that are not intent on serving our wants and needs.

Let every brand and merchant  know, whether it sees the change or resist it, that we have paid the price, will unite with one voice , meet any of our constraints, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure that we can and will change the relationship between the marketplace and the buyer. As the marketplace changes we all, big and small, need to ask not what the audience can do for you rather ask what you can do for your audience.

To act in opposition to this intent is to proclaim that buyer intentions are not strategically important to your survival. To do so means you will eventually have no buyers.

The new measure of success is how well do you fulfill buyer intents. How are you doing? Are you even considering this as a critical measure?

Being vs. using social are two totally separate intents. Being social is a reflection of how well the organization serves people’s intent (internally and externally). Using social media has become a primary function of marketing departments and the intent is to pull us into a transaction.

Serving buyer intents, whether that means a sale or not, is what drives brand loyalty, market sentiment and buyers that brag about your service. Is it better to have the marketplace bragging (consider Zappos) about your intentions or complaining about them? Ask not what the audience can do for you rather what will you do for the audience. Think about it.

Stay tuned for the next post titled “Being vs. Using Social to Create ROI.”

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