Updated December 2020 with relevant links
“We are not just passing into another historical period or another cultural modification.......But more specifically we are terminating the last 65 million years of life development.” Thomas Berry, historian philosopher
The universe is constantly coming into being through irreversible steps of transformations; from a lesser to a greater order of complexity, from a lesser to a higher mode of consciousness. [This thinking holds true only if you subscribe to linear theory of evolution, which is opposite of cyclical evolutionary theory...well that is another conversation for another time]. It has been professed by social scientists that genetically we are very different from our forefathers some 200 generations ago as they were different from the Neanderthals. “What we are catching is an exceptional time.”
And of course, good or bad, COVID-19 is doing it's part in digitizing our evolution.
This growing complexity is evident in our social lives and in our business lives.
Needles to say, if you are a brand marketer you are in for the ride of your lifetime: you have umpteen different social media sites to peddle your stuff and unnumbered “How To” blog sites to master one single craft.
To compound that, new social media tools are launching every day and new marketing best practices are emerging every minute of your waking lives.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone.
Get this, 90% of people move between devices to accomplish one single goal.
Talk about a disjointed social culture on the verge of total disarray. It is like we have been handed over the technology of the gods without being primed for it.
As marketers, is sanity an achievable alternative? The short answer is yes.
If we take a step back from this massive marketing permutation and combination that is going on every second of the day and focus on the human currency of our business and cultivate them we create tangible value for ourselves and our businesses. “Hidden in Plain Sight is Today's Greatest Overlooked Growth Opportunity ... It is our Customers.”
Bill Lee, author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers: Realizing the Untapped Value of Your Most Important Asset maintains that once you identify your star customers and nurture them in such a fashion that increases their personal value proposition, you now have re-defined your relationship and transformed your customers into your brand advocates and key influencers in your industry. He calls this community marketing. Because, you are helping your customers build reputation that help them expand their support groups and build communities.
Cash rewards, discounts or 'try it before you buy it' is the game of marketing as we know it.
It is usually tailored towards customer life time value which is based on how much money they are prepared to spend. On the other hand, customer-centric marketing increases customers' life time value.
It helps build their social capital, increases their reputation and gives them access to new treasure trove of ideas. “This new concept of building customer advocates, peer influence-based, community-oriented marketing, hold much greater promise for creating sustained growth through authentic customer relationships.”
How to involve your customers to be your brand advocate?
Each industry is different. However, there are some basic principles that can be enacted across all industries.
Developing a thriving customer community keeps your bottom line on target and makes your top marketing dollars accountable. At the end of the day, your goal as a marketer is to create new opportunities for your business. One, sure fire way to do so, is to sustain your focus on ROR factor as postulated by Ted Rubin (Return on Relationship) and echoed by Bill Lee. ROR is a robust virtuous cycle in which you, (the marketer) provide them (your customers) with superior value and they (your customers), in turn, enrich your company. Catch the Ted Rubin's latest interview with Exhibitor Magazine here.
At the end of the day, you have taken control of your sanity. You have stayed true to your focus. Your life is enriched because you have helped another person flourish ... At last, you kick back and as you get to marvel at your own greatness, you come to "admit there is something glorious about being you."
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Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. Franz Kafka