Sunday, November 28, 2010

Limitations of typical Problem Solution approach

Social Media is the latest buzz in every company.  The Marketing team  is on the look out for experts to solve their problems.

Active Listening
The typical approach: expert approaches the client and asks for their problems and then comes up a solution strategy and execution..Remember advertising agency creative brief approach. The client gives the problem statement and the agency comes up with answers.This is where the Problem Solutions approach gets exposed especially if it is about solving customer problems.

The expert presupposes that the clients understand their customer problems. In reality, sitting inside the fort, the marketing team make inferences based on data or rely on market research inputs to identify problems or generate consumer insights and discuss with  the agency to solve these problems. The result of this brief will be a marketing campaign or service enhancement or changes to the product followed by new set of communications aimed at increasing top-line/better market share/improved customer satisfaction.

This is called as Primal Ignorance. In mathematics, while solving a problem, if the first step is wrong then you don't need to verify the answer.

What is the solution to this problem?

An expert in Social media, at the start of the engagement, will never come to the client asking for problems. On the other hand, he will listen to the client's customer conversations in the Social Media i.e through Facebook or Twitter etc. The expert will possibly use a variety of  both free and paid tools like, Google alerts, Google Reader, Radian 6 . This will help him get an independent view of the possible problems. In my experience, I have seen clients surprised at seeing the difference between their understanding of problems versus actual customer complaints.

This preparation will help both the client and the expert to narrow down on high priority items and focus on solution strategy.

Social Media is redefining the ways of problem identification and solution strategy formulation.Its not just about keeping the customer at the center and creating experiences but more so keeping ourselves closer to where the customers are present and start active listening.

Make the difference to your problem solution approach by getting the first step right through Social media.

What's your next Step!!!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Decide what to buy using Facebook

Broadcast Search
Festive season always means shopping indulgence as well. This time I decided to gift myself with a brand new mobile phone with all possible bells, whistles ( 3G, 5MP camera,OS,touchpad etc) and Jazzy interface.As soon as I went to the shop the only thing that I was able to do with ease was to eliminate the 100's of non option mobile models. Finally narrowed down to 3 handsets which includes Blackberry Torch, Sony Xperia X10 and Nokia N8. The sales representative at the shop was of no help to me as he had only good things to say about all the  3 handsets. Guess its part of his job to confuse the customer....

So I decided to look for reviews in the brand neutral website( if at all it exists!!!). Took Google's help to find  few sites and I made an assumption that top ranked sites on Google Page would be my best bet to get answers. To my dismay, most of these sites gave product comparison like a standard brochure..

What I was looking for was customer feedback based on their experience with the handset.. Even though some sites had customer feedback, I couldn't relate to a strangers experience.

Pause..... What was I looking for?

Not just customer reviews and feedback about the handset in a credible website but how many degree's of separation is the reviewer from me.

Which is when I realized, I am better of posting this question on handsets to my friends and friendsters on any social media netwoks like Facebook or Twitter than seek this information on another site.Effectively, I am broadcasting my search. This attempt serves two purposes:

  • Will get genuine feedback about these handsets from my friends. Their opinions and feedback will possibly be closer to my opinions or thought process
  • When one is uncertain about what to buy, vast majority of us possibly make choices that will make us acceptable in our social circles. You wouldn't wanted to be ridiculed by your friends for buying the wrong handset
After all this I may or may not have found the right handset for me but for sure will be more certain than before on what to buy.

So much for Social Search and Acceptance