Monday, June 6, 2011

Consumers today more likely to be influenced by Twitter, Blogs

By Gillian Shaw, Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER - Nobodies are the new somebodies.

They have become the key influencers and companies must remember that when they are trying to win people over to their ideas, products and services.

That’s the advice from Guy Kawasaki, managing director of Garage Technology Ventures who, as one of the employees behind Apple’s marketing of the Macintosh, pioneered evangelism back in 1984, turning consumers into avid advocates for the brand.
Kawasaki, who was in Vancouver last week for the Internet Marketing conference, shared his formula for “changing hearts, minds and actions.”

It all boils down to one word: “enchantment.”

“If you can change people’s hearts, minds and actions, you can change the world,” said Kawasaki, a venture capitalist, a columnist with Entrepreneur Magazine and author of nine books on marketing and entrepreneurship.

While old-school marketing saw companies seeking to enchant those they figured had the power to influence, social media has made that practice obsolete. “I think marketing is completely reversed,” Kawasaki said.

It used to be that companies sought favourable reviews from influential publications like Fortune and The Wall Street Journal, but today’s consumers are more likely to be influenced by blogs or by the Twitter users they follow.

“The new way is that nobodies are the new somebodies,” said Kawasaki.
Instead of top-down delivery, marketing happens from the bottom up, he said. “Someone you’ve never heard of embraces your product, they love the product and they spread the word. You never know which mommy blogger is going to make your product successful.”

Enchantment is more than a smile and scintillating conversation. Here are some more of Kawasaki’s tips on becoming enchanting:

1. Always default to a yes attitude. Kawasaki attributes this bit of advice to Vancouver’s Darcy Rezac, author of Work the Pond! Use the Power of Positive Networking.

2. You can’t enchant people if you’re not trustworthy. And if you want people to trust you, you have to trust them. Companies like Zappos, with its paid shipping return policy, are examples of how it can pay off to trust customers. Be a mensch, someone who can be trusted, who is honourable and has a world perspective. Think Nelson Mandela if you’re looking for an example.

3. Deliver a product or service that meets the enchantment test: Is it DICEE? Deep, intelligent, complete, empowering and elegant.

“It is easy to enchant people with something that is great; it’s hard to enchant people with something that is crap,” said Kawasaki, who points to Google as one company that meets that DICEE test.

4. Conduct a pre-mortem before you launch. Gather your team together and say, ‘Let’s assume our product failed and come up with the reasons why it failed.’ When you’re creating something, it’s very difficult to poke holes in it; this exercise is aimed at identifying the shortcomings without having the team at odds with one another.

5. Sell your dream. The iPhone is really $188 worth of parts and AT&T (at least in the U.S.) but Apple sells the dream, the smart phone that changes your life.

6. Follow the 10-20-30 formula in presentations. That’s 10 slides, 20 minutes talking and a 30-point font.

7. Rules of e-mail: Have a great subject line and a message that is no longer than five sentences and includes what you want, what your cause is, who you are, why the recipient should help you and what the next step is.

8. Use Twitter, the greatest marketing tool ever created, according to Kawasaki. Have a good avatar, no red eyes or out-of-focus photos; remember your profile is in a sense your resume, so make it good and when you tweet, provide interesting links.

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