Piu Piu … You have a new tweet!

How often do you receive “leads” for interesting readings or other info (individually, or as employee of a company)?

If you do not think about it you are wrong, the only way to stay competitive is to stay informed on new trends and ahead of your competition with better but mainly innovative solutions.If you say not too often, then you may have a problem, probably you are not following the right people or blogs. We are living in the information age but without an index or a way of sort out what is really interesting and valid for you to read you will sink in Gigabytes Terabytes of data and info without knowing what to do. Obviously, for a company a system filtering and sourcing based in Business intelligence is crucial to decode and convey accurate and interesting data but also companies can use and profit from crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing means here people and citizens of the virtual world who source, filter and tag info making it available (for those who might be interested) on the internet mainly through social media channels. They rate, tag and recommend what one should or shouldn’t read, an amazing phenomenon helping classifying tons of digital data and info.

Is it 100% accurate and reliable? No it isn’t, better than noise, though. However, you can improve quality the better you chose your connections and from who you are receiving RSS, emails or tweets the better the quality on the info you receive. Fine tuning your sources is gradual and depends on what kind of info you are interested in, you will find people sourcing info on almost everything. The Web is the best place to find, source and store intelligence on whatever you might be interested in, a brand, a company, subject or trends. Social Media is within the Web, the easiest and cheapest way to crowdsource and channel in info sourced and tagged by the “crowd”.

How can this be interesting if you are a marketer? It can help you in different ways accordingly to what you are looking for. You can have different channels for different issues. Twitter is an amazing source of info with a high variety of subjects and different levels of expertise, from the well established professional to the alternative and experimental. Imagine that you are searching info on Guerrilla Marketing, you can have the best info and the best examples of what is being done and at the same time you can also have the most experimental and alternative ideas being tested on this marketing technique. And you can apply this on almost every issue you may be interested to follow.

I must confess that it was astonishing for me to see how quick the response was to this new need created by the internet and web of having an easy and democratic system to filter and source info out of the “noise” that the web had been transformed in. Web 2.0 technologies like taxonomy and semantic helped coding and filtering, while social networks (communities) helped gathering and spreading.

Do you have good examples of crowdsourcing? An occasion when you received an amazing piece of info through the Web? Share with us!

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How can words influence your business?

My first post about Word-of-Mouth (WOM) [ Who has the Megaphones?] was written to highlight that audience’s voices – WOM – are now more important than ever, internet and the web allow “words” to spread at light speed and reach the entire globe. In this post, my goal is to understand two things: 1) who are these people, and 2) how can they influence a Business (product, brand, service…).

Companies are facing a new scenario, a scenario with high levels of globalisation, where the internet is connecting and informing people, and the technology changing the way one lives. When facing this scenario companies like people can adopt one of two approaches: the chameleon (adapting and evolving) or the ostrich (and bury their heads in sand, like the popular belief says).  I believe that the chameleon is the best approach. Although, my objective today is not to elaborate on the “how” to react or deal with the WOM on the 21st century, it is important to understand that the world is different and influencing people in the way and where they express (the channels they use to do it). WOM is now a public conversation broadcasted on the internet and through different social media channels where everybody can listen and participate. I wrote previously on Being Just a click away! that we live a click away from almost everything. With just a click one can read, learn, interact, communicate, share or comment. WOM is more democratized, powerful and interesting as a marketing tool than ever, it must be addressed by companies and marketers wisely.  Who are those behind today’s WOM? Everybody with a voice and something to say, a lot of people I shall say!

How can people’s different voices affect Business and companies? Well, each time that people express their opinion they maybe recommend or praise a product or a brand, which is positive. Though, they may also criticize or show disappointment regarding that same brand or product, which is not so good. WOM can influence and impact negatively or positively a business (and companies), and that impact will vary with reach and speed. In my point of view, companies must at least monitor what is being said about their products, brands or actions in order to identify trends, reactions and opinions. As I use to say, the Audience (customers, prospects, communities or other people worth to be monitored) should be the first think to be analysed before defining a marketing strategy. In this sense, WOM should be part of this first analysis and after that a strategy should be put in place in order to keep monitoring it along the time and different channels.

Ideas to keep in mind about the 21st century WOM:

a)      Public conversations broadcasted offline and online (internet)

b)      Easily given, they are just a click away

c)       democratized with a powerful impact on people and businesses

d)      Its monitoring should be done continuously and after a strong analysis on the relevant audience

Please share your ideas and insights with us.

Who has the megaphone?

We have entered an era of radical change for Marketers, the so called traditional marketing is not enough anymore bringing the need for innovatory or renovated ways to market products and services, therefore, I decided to write about an old phenomenon that has changed being today more critical than ever: the Word-of-Mouth (WOM).

Why? WOM is in my opinion and along with Audience (individuals interacting and adhering to communities) two crucial aspects to have in consideration when developing plans to market products or services. WOM is a crucial way to drive demand and create hype around a company, product or brand. WOM travels at light-speed reaching a big audience and that can be very positive or negative. Though, it should be monitored allowing on-time reactions to negative “words”. One of the marketer’s accountabilities is to increase WOM’s positive impact and control or reverse the negativity that might happen (negative words).

Has WOM changed on the last decades? Yes, WOM evolved and was boost by internet and World Wide Web being more powerful than ever. As I already mentioned Audience and communities should drive marketer’s attention and be considered when designing and implementing the Marketing plan. Audience is or must be a cornerstone of any Marketing strategy. Audience it is also synonymous of voice, people not only read what is being said they also participate, expressing their opinions. If social networks and communities are compounded by people with similar interests or behaviors, their voices can have different tons and range from specific subjects (related to the community) to opinions about daily life events. When participating people can influence who is on the other side reading, your network or your followers. Amazing isn’t it? However, a person can influence more people regarding the size of your total network or privacy constraints.

How does Social Networks work, in general? They work as spider-webs inter-related and exponentially amplified depending on security settings and the way they allow interaction between non-first-degree connections. How amazing is this? Are you visualizing already how much important can this be to a marketer and manager?

Word-of-moth is now a public conversation with a high audience level, and more than ever it should be properly used by marketers and managers. If you as a marketer do not care about WOM you are spoiling a very interesting and non expensive resource, you are not monitoring possible negative effects on your company, products or brands.