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May 24, 2010

Operational Tactic #1

Listen.

That's what the majority of presenters at the eMarketing Association's conference this spring said was the most important action an organization should do online.
  • Adam Richardson, Creative Director from Frog Design, said the marketers' "Number one job is understanding customers."
  • Loren McDonald, V.P., Industrial Relations for Silverpop, gave an example of poor "listening" - a retail store that sent him email ads for engagement rings while he and his wife had been married 26 years.
When we do not listen our messages become irrelevant.

In the case of McDonald's engagement ring advertisement example, one can imagine why people tune out some organizations or consider their messages spam whether posted on Twitter or company email and whether the organization is for profit or not.

Listening is a critical organizational activity and should not be executed willy-nilly.

Metrics can and should be attached to organizational "listening" so as to quantify and qualify feedback and to evaluate whether you organization is headed in the right direction. Think survey, responses to preference-inquiring emails or even numbers of positive comments on blogs.

Ultimately listening is an operational tactic that allows your organization to adapt affirmatively and generatively to its situational needs. David M. Cooperstein, V.P. and analyst at Forrester Research, calls this "adaptive marketing" which he says aligns customer and brand goals to maximize brand equity.

In the world of online communication that means understanding your constituents and building relationships.

And speaking of research and relationships, test your own focus group:
  • Ask your friends and/or significant other what the value of your listening is to them in their relationship with you.
  • Further, ask them what the value is when that listening is translated into say a thoughtful gesture, gift or words (talk about adaptive marketing!)
  • Count how many times your focus group uses positive words such as "wonderful," "nice," and maybe even "most excellent."
  • Finally, ask the group whether listening and affirmative adaptive responses would positively affect their behaviors toward you.

  • My guess is that you'll get a lot of positive responses and behavioral change. Isn't that what you want for your organization?

    Listening is worth the investment.




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