This post is about Social media influence on decision making process and the total disconnection of; the reality of e-commerce in 2011 and the world most sales & marketing staff still lives in. It’s about the love of hyping social media but the inability realise what needs to be done to embrace social media in companies and organisations. It’s really just another post along the topic of “fix what’s broken” – the best social media strategy in the world.
My generation are digital natives, the coming generation will be born digitals. This not only means that everyone will be connected with super fast mobile devices than can do pretty much anything you ask it to do, no it’s bigger than that. Mine and coming generations has it as an integrated part of our decision making process to search for information online, we get influenced by search results and social updates. We quickly learn to spot what is a fake review and what is a trusted source. A Social media powered Internet influence our decision making process.
We also contribute with information around our experiences, maybe not directly intentionally related to recent purchases, but indirectly they are. We upload photos of our vacations on Facebook, a picture of a bike we want (well, read below), things that makes us happy or angry, uploading and sharing things will be an integrated part of our coming generation social life (if it isn’t already).
That everyone has a voice is more true now than ever, and there’s nothing holding that acceleration back. If you’re in the business of selling stuff, understanding how the power shift is moving away from you and going to the customer, will be vital knowledge.
We’re so far down the line of empowered customers that even the powerhouse Google has been given us a marketing handbook for dummies which they call the ZMOT, short for Zero Moment of Truth. That Zero Moment is when you make your decision and what has influenced your decision making process along the way (No, it’s not your brand’s logo or slogan, and as seen on TV doesn’t work either, guess again.).
I know what you’re thinking now: “But we can just go out and buy a lot of fake reviews, we can see who are fans of our competitors and spam them, we can….” please STOP! Sure, you can do all of this and you will most likely see a spike in your sales. The spike will be followed by a huge drop that will take you out of business. There’s no way on earth that, going forward, running a business this way as any sustainability to it. If you’re bad at what you’re doing, shape up, there’s no short-cuts. Invest in your product and let your customers do the marketing for you, and please do help them with that part, that’s your job as a marketeer.
Ok, so that was a long riff (rant?) about where social media is going. Now to what I actually had on my mind, a story that very well explains why things are still broken. Mind it’s a personal story based on my own experience, quite unscientific but still relevant.
The background story is that I bike to work everyday in Paris. I ride the Velib’ bikes (stationary rental bikes) each day, although the are great I’d my eyes on a single speed bike for a while.
How does my decision making process look like for potentially investing in a €500-1,000 bike? If you’re the marketer at the shop I went to it probably looks something like this: 1) You see our add and go to the shop and buy OR, 2) You visit our homepage, then you go to the shop and buy.
Wow, if marketing and sales was that easy.
Single speed bikes caught my attention because I started biking, I saw the cool hipsters riding these bikes and I felt it was something I wanted to do as well. Conversations in the coffee room in the office often turned into what bike to get, where to buy it, prices etc. I fair to say that I’m a hot prospect (any single speed manufacture reading this in your monitoring software, get me on twitter and quote me a good price pls!).
Whilst out wandering the Paris streets I passed by a shop selling, guess what, single speed bikes! Wow, awesome let’s pop in and have a look. The first thing I did was to take up my iPhone and make a check-in on Foursquare with a photo, so I reached to one of the white single speed bikes to take a nice photo of it for the Foursquare check-in. Since my Foursquare is connected with Facebook and Twitter I like to upload a photo for all my friends and connections to see.
It was just that whilst I’m about to give free marketing to around 2,000 of my connections I’m being halted by a very loud “Monsieur! Pas de photos s’il vous plaît!”. I guess no English translation is needed right?
“No photos?” I replied slight surprised. To my greater surprise I was handed a card with their website address and told that I could see photos of their bikes on their official website. “That’s why we have a website”, the sales assistant told me.
When things like this happen I got so disapointed, sadned, frustrated. It makes my want to come in and do a marketing and sales “Hells kitchen” session with the store owners. I can’t in my wildest fantasy understand why things are so fundamentally broken from the bottom up. “That’s why we have a website…” No, my dear friends, that’s not at all why you have a website, if you really understood why you have a website you’d probably shut it down and start a Facebook page inviting for people to upload images of their bikes, you’d embrace mobile check-ins, you’d even have a bike in your store which you could sit on and a machine would take photos that connected to their Facebook page and uploaded them. You would do anything in your power to create mentions of your brand, and you would make sure that these are positive mentions.
But no, instead you tell me “No photos!” and asks me to leave your store and go to your website. Do you think by changing the way you work you could increase sales? If you feel touched, please feel free to contact me, I’m happy to help you for free.