We live in an atomic world. We buy one song at a time from iTunes, reach to that one editorial piece out of a zillion using Google, buy one mobile application using app store and buy that one electronic accessory or a missing dinner plate in a dining set from Ebay. Apple, Google, Ebay and the likes have done a great job in dicing the world as per their customer’s demands. This piece-by-piece concept has taken over the concept of selling packaged solutions.
How one can survive and thrive in this atomic world? I believe in order to break the code of the atomic world, we need to focus on two things. First, focus on a niche. You cannot provide everything to everyone, but you can fulfill some atomic need of your niche customer set.
Second, everything you put out there should be perfect. You cannot bet on the bundle being attractive because people don’t care about the bundling any more. People choose to make there own collection by choosing one piece at a time. Similarly, when you are creating a website, you cannot just create just an attractive homepage and leave the inside pages mediocre because nine out of ten people reach to any page on your website using a search engine.
In a nutshell, for success in the atomic world, do less, but whatever you do, be the best!
…with the help of social media.
Market research, product development, marketing, sales and support. Every company, non-profit, political campaign, government or for that matter any other type of organization you can think of undertake these tasks. A corporation might be selling something completely different from what a political campaign is selling, a non-profit organization might be promoting a distinct cause and a government might be organizing affairs of size varying from a city council to a country, the commonality lies in doing proper market research, developing the right product or message and selling it to their audience.
Now let’s talk how each one of these can be done better with the help of social media.
- Market research: Market research is basically listening to what your customers have to say about your product (or service). With the growing influence of social media, people are already talking about you. If the conversation is already happening, then what better way to do market research than continuously monitoring it? To take it a step further, organizations can create monitored communities online and link it to wide array of social networks on the web. Researchers can continuously stir the pot, attract audience to their community and analyze the results to take concrete decisions. To put it simply, think of it as an effective focus group 24/7!
- Development: The breakthrough product ideas are the ones that are embraced by your customers. Product development involves activities like brainstorming on ideas, finding out what’s missing, what problem you are trying to solve and so on. By creating moderated communities enhanced by an effective workflow management system, product managers can lead open discussions with their customers and amongst their customers into brilliant product ideas.
- Marketing: Marketing at the end boils down to talking to your audience and gauging their needs. With the help of social media, marketeers can take marketing closer to their target base. They can create communities loaded with quick polls and analysis to stimulate two-way conversations with their customers and amongst customers. These communities can evolve marketing efforts to focus more on collaborating with the audience and less on broadcasting to them.
Marketeers can do effective branding using the power of social media. Online communities take subtle branding to a whole new level. An organization can create a community to expand the canvas by taking on the larger cause addressed by their product. These communities can act as a support system for the people trying to solve a problem and in-turn help brand the product authoritatively and effectively.
- Sales: The strength of a sales force is said to be directly proportional to the passion of people in it. If that’s true, then what better way to strengthen the force than by adding the group of passionate mavens to it? An organization can create a community to provide a home base to the network of mavens and make them feel part of the organization. By entertaining this base and providing them enough resources, the organization can develop a super powerful sales force that can help them in their task, whether it is crossing the chasm or sustaining their customer base.
- Support: Customer service and support have become vital parts of any organization. In the world connected by social networks, how an organization handles support can make or break a brand. The effectiveness of forums and discussion boards is already visible in this area. Organizations can add more effectiveness to the online support system by effectively monitoring it and bringing issues to closure in a timely fashion, of course with the help of mavens!