People are awesome! People have ideas. People know people. People relate with other people. People can be passionate. People care. People are so many things. Without people, you and I wouldn’t be here. Without the focus on people in your marketing, you become commoditized. You become just another company that sells “blah”. Let’s take a deeper look…
As I always say, you need 4 main elements present to build a successful brand community (the core behind EVERYTHING in and around your company) – Purpose, People, Platform and Process. The People part is what I find most companies missing out on. They spend all their time promoting their brand through their brand and not the people in it. I put together a simple diagram below to explain what I mean.
To follow this example, let’s say you come up with an awesome bit of content that your clients and prospects will truly find valuable and want to send it out through an email campaign. Instead of always sending the content “from” your company (with company header, etc.), consider sending it from the PEOPLE that make up your company.
I reference 5 sales representatives. Each of them having a set number of contacts that they’ve gathered say through live networking, social networking and possibly through a bit of inbound marketing. The contacts these people have will most likely recognize them assuming they’ve done a good job of introducing themselves in the first place. Also, think about the combined database between all of your people. It will most likely far surpass what your company will ever do on it’s own. That’s unless you have an unlimited marketing budget 🙂
So when an email campaign with your awesome bit of content goes out and it has their name in the “from” line in the email, there is a much higher likelihood of the person on the other side opening the email. Makes sense right?
Quick side note: You need to develop a systematic way to update the email database for the people in your company. There are a number of different ways to do this while making your life easier. For example, using API syndication tools that automatically sync people in your CRM systems/social networks directly into list segments (for the people in your organization) within the email marketing software you use. Most of them now integrate pretty well with other systems.
Taking this example a step further, we would develop a system to deliver the email campaign reports directly to the sales representative. This would include all important items such as how many opens and click through’s and more importantly, WHO opened and clicked through in the campaign. You could even take this a step further and automate the email reporting activity directly into your CRM (e.g. SalesForce.com). For example, when a contact clicks through in a campaign, say an article that is shared, the reporting system would create an activity and set a reminder in your sales CRM to follow up with that person. Pretty cool huh?
Ok, so now that the sales representative has the reports, they can be much more efficient and effective at following up. For example, if your prospect database has 2,000 people in it, they will be able to identify the 20 that are interested, or at least are engaging with your brand, RIGHT NOW!
This type of approach creates efficiency and effectiveness in your marketing. Nobody wants to feel as if they are “being marketed to”. People want the comfort in their minds that someone cares about them. It’s a human need. So when information of value is shared, don’t you think it deserves to come from other humans? Especially the humans in your company?
My overall point here is that when you look at building a brand community, start with the people in it already. You can then choose the platforms and implement the right processes around those people to create a sense of brand community. A true sense of connectedness from the people in and around your company. Remember, product/service you sell is only as good as the people who sell it. Support and build a system around your people and you will experience growth like never before!