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02 May '15 | Debjyoti Paul

German Shoppers: Meet Them in the Fast Lane to Phy-gital

15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

Shoppers Will Share Personal Information (But They Don’t Want to be “Friends”)

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Modernize or Perish: Property and Casualty Insurers and IT Solutions

14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

Benelux Reaches the Phy-gital Tipping Point: Omnichannel Readiness is Crucial

13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

Beacon of Hope: Serving Growth and Customer Satisfaction

05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

What You Sold Us On – eCommerce Award Finalist Selections

17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

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8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

What does a mobile user want?

03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

Tips for Conversational marketing

Posted on: 13 February '12

A lot has been said about conversational marketing. A lot has been written about the difference between earned media and paid media. Is it just old medicine in a new bottle? Does it mean that

  • Instead of filling up a newspaper or magazine, you now flood social media sites with your content and advertising?
  • You do the same old things on new channels – like creating a mobile app for your website?
  • You create a Facebook page in addition to your home page and periodically post quizzes and surveys on it (and sometimes talk about world peace and hunger)?

Being where people (and your customers) are is a great idea, but it is only the first step.

1. What’s a conversation?
In all the hoopla and mushy talk about engaging with customers, starting a dialog with them and just doing “earned media” stuff, we seem to forget that a conversation is just that. A conversation is not just about publishing, advertising or watching videos and reading blogs (and posting comments on them). It’s about a meaningful exchange of information to satisfy needs.

To understand this better, just think about what you would talk to your customer about. Do you press the play button on a video and turn up the volume, or do you try to see how you can help them, discuss a problem or answer a question? It’s that simple. That’s conversation.

2. Good Conversation is two way
I love good blogs, and especially love the excellent comments that people post on them. Are they conversations? Sure they are. But most of those are just people trying to establish their own brand. Try asking them to buy your product or service. If they do (or some of them do), then you do have a great conversation going. A meaningful social media conversation has four elements to it:

  • Need
  • Information
  • Collaboration to match the information and the need
  • Collaboration to improve the information

3. Defining the right metrics
Counting on links, bounce rate and time spent on a page just means you are advertising, not conversing. These metrics can definitely help to improve the conversation, but cannot be your final metrics. Some good final metrics are retention, acquisition and spending share of customers. This means that you know your customers from their clicks. You know, and are learning about how to meet their needs better with your products and services. That’s what a conversation gives you. If you cannot explicitly link conversations with actual customer identities (if permitted by law of course), and if you are just publishing, you need to rethink your strategy.

4. How to make good conversation?
Content is an important component, but how you apply it is the crucial aspect. There’s a lot of content out there and people are making good money off the advertising, but that’s not really a corporate model for a business with products other than the content (think bank, retailer, services, etc.). What conversations can they start without getting all mushy about it? Think of the needs and information framework above. That’s the place to start. For example, consider visiting a bank’s website. You have to really (I mean really) search for how their product helps to meet your objectives. Most banks don’t even list your objectives. That’s an easy one. We call it a low hanging fruit. There are probably a lot of low hanging fruits out there to satisfy world hunger.

Next steps
Get out there and shake things up. Remember the needs and information framework and focus on it. Focus, think and think again. Once you have that foundation ready, the social media and e-commerce pundits can help you build upon it. But without that solid foundation, you’ll be advertising, not conversing. What’s your take on it?

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  • suresh

    gud article

  • Arvind

    Hi Manish,
    This is a very interesting article. However, I get your focus to the 3rd point. Acquisition and spending share of customers. How do you measure that in a B2B environment. We know the acquisition cycle is very long in a B2B environment. I agree the traditional format of measuring the bounce rates is more of advertising, but beyond a conversational acquisition the measurement might be quite a task. Any thoughts?


    Nice Article… Thanks for sharing with us…