Speak Out!!


We have talked about using the groundswell to listen to your customers, but what about speaking to them?

The marketing funnel above illustrates that consumers are driven into the large end of the funnel through activities that raise awareness; advertising for example.  Consumers proceed through the stages of consideration, preference, action, and loyalty to become buyers.  The problem, however, is that marketers have little control over what happens in the middle of the funnel between awareness and purchasing; this middle piece of the funnel is where the groundswell influence is the heaviest.  Once awareness has been raised, people learn from each other through word of mouth.  Let’s face it; consumers trust friends, acquaintances and even STRANGERS more than they trust marketers.  When purchasing a new vehicle, for example, would you trust the salesperson at the dealership or the reviews of customers just like yourself who have provided reviews and/or feedback about the vehicle?

There are many techniques that can be used to talk with the groundswell: post a viral video (YouTube for example) and let people share it, engage in social networks, join the blogosphere, and/or create a community to engage and deliver to customers.  Here are some great examples:

  • Blendtec created a YouTube video titled “Will It Blend,” where items such as iPhones are placed in a blender and chopped into pieces!!
  • Ernst & Young realized potential employees belonged to Facebook, therefore they used social networking to reach out and talk to these potential candidates and answer their questions individually
  • HP speaks to their customers through blogging; they are honest and direct, instilling trust in their customers
  • Proctor & Gamble created a community called beinggirl.com to provide teenage girls with a place to connect to each other and share embarrassing experiences; meanwhile they are marketing feminine care products to a target market that is normally not open to talking about such issues

Marketers are used to shouting to customers and listening to them to find out their needs, however the conversation in the middle of the funnel is what needs to be addressed.  Marketers MUST become involved in the consideration process: people, comments and feedback.  Constant involvement and responding to customers is key!

Stimulate conversation, sit back and listen!  The insight gained from conversing with your customers will provide invaluable information!

Blogging Tips for Success:

Start with people and objectives, as noted in my POST blog; know who to reach and how to reach them.  Here are some suggestions for beginning the dialogue:

  1. Start by listening – listen first and then determine how to join the conversation
  2. Determine a goal for the blog – what are you trying to accomplish?
  3. Estimate ROI – how will your blog pay off and what will it cost?
  4. Develop a plan – who will blog?  How many blogs will you have?
  5. Rehearse – practice before you go live!
  6. Develop an editorial process – who, if anyone, needs to review your posts?  ie your boss?
  7. Design the blog and its connection to the company site – how central will it be to the company’s image?
  8. Develop a marketing plan so people can find the blog – press release? trade magazines? emails to customers?
  9. Remember, blogging is more than writing – respond to what is out there and respond to comments!
  10. Final advice: BE HONEST!  People want genuine statements of a person’s opinion

For more information, please see Groundswell chapter 6 and learn about how you can talk to your customers and become part of the middle of the tunnel!