What Marketers Can Learn from Singer Leann Rimes

This post originally appeared on Social Media Marketing Magazine on 11/1/2010.

I have always been a music enthusiast, but I’ve never been that interested in country music. And while I’m not ready to race out and fill my iTunes account with the likes of Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks, I recently purchased a few songs by the lovely and talented Leann Rimes. Why the sudden change of heart? If you must know, it was because of a single tweet. Well, it was actually two tweets… and the fact that during a show I saw at the ANA’s Masters of Marketing event, she was authentic and genuinely made an attempt to connect with the crowd of 1,500 senior marketers.

As someone that embraced Twitter back in 2007, I regularly use it to learn, engage, and build relationships. To that end, I often make a point of acknowledging people, companies, and organizations when I feel like they are doing a good job. This may or may not mean anything to them, but it’s my style, and so far, it’s borne a lot of goodwill and business value for me.

Getting back to Leann Rimes and her performance at the ANA conference last week: as she was wrapping up her set, I took the time to look her up on Twitter and send her a thank you tweet. Imagine my surprise when she actually tweeted me back (twice)!

The reason I’m sharing this experience is not to show off—although who doesn’t love having a successful female country singer tweet them back—but rather to point out a lesson that big brands could learn from this experience. For starters, it doesn’t hurt to follow Ms. Rimes’ lead and ensure that your brand is perceived as credible and authentic. That was the thing about Leann that got me to tweet her in the first place. But more importantly, the fact that someone as busy as she must be took the time to tweet back to a potential fan was huge.

Did she do it because she knew that I was on the fence about liking her? I don’t think so. Looking back in her tweet stream, it appears she does that with a lot of people. It’s just who she is. What I can guarantee is that while she is a very talented singer, one of the main reasons she has become so successful is because she engages her “customers.”

Now would I have been as excited if a brand like Lexus or Starbucks tweeted me back? Probably not. But I do appreciate it when a brand takes the time to acknowledge me, and it has made me more likely to stick with that brand. For example, in the case of WiFi provider Boingo, I’ve actually become one of its biggest fans, primarily because Boingo regularly engages me in conversation on Twitter. Now Boingo only earns $120 per year from me, but I tell everyone I know about Boingo, have mentioned it in blog posts, and have even gone so far as to be interviewed in an article about Boingo and the “network effect of super fans” on the FASTforward blog.

So is your company engaging its customers? It doesn’t take a lot to get started—just a good listening tool and an internal and/or external resource that can help reach out to customers (or prospective customers) who are mentioning you. You’ll be surprised how far a tweet, a blog comment, or even a Facebook “like” will go in turning people’s heads.

Social CRM FTW! (Guest Post)

Today we have a guest post from Lauren Carlson at Software Advice. I don’t normally do a lot of guest posts but Lauren asked very politely and as a big believer of social CRM, I thought this might be an interesting topic for the folks that read me on Citizen Marketer 2.1. Enjoy!

Lauren Carlson of Software Advice

Social CRM has gone from vaporware to one of the most buzzed about terms in the enterprise software market. Take a quick look at Google Insights for Search and you will see that the term’s popularity has increased exponentially over the past few years [see Google trend data below].

Paul Greenberg, the recognized thought leader in social CRM, describes it as “the company’s response to the customer’s control of the conversation.” Essentially, it takes the vendor-customer relationship from transactive to interactive. That is all fine and good, but what does that mean for companies actually using the software?

With an eye toward providing a little clarity about the space, Software Advice, decided to write up some case studies that illustrate how actual companies have implemented social CRM technologies. Each study highlights how social CRM was used to resolve real world issues and improve business operations, taking social CRM from a concept to a solution. You can view the article here and read each case study in depth. However, the following is a very brief overview in problem-solution format.

Problem: Chordiant, an enterprise software company, needed to find a better way to coordinate the needs and desires of the individuals involved in the product requirements process.

Solution: They created Chordiant Mesh, and online community powered by Jive’s Clearspace, where employees, developers, customers and partners can collaborate about product development. The feedback was very positive, resulting 15 successful collaborative product releases.

Problem: Linksys, a Cisco division that provides VoIP and networking solutions to consumers and small businesses, needed to reduce support costs while upholding high levels of customer support.

Solution: The company partnered with Lithium, an early leader in social CRM, to create an online support community. The deployment of the community increased self-service participation, which reduced the need on costly phone support. Linksys reported savings in the millions.

Problem: Enterasys Networks, a data-networking company, has hundreds of employees stationed around the globe. They required a social networking tool that would eliminated geographical boundaries and let their employees communicate in real time.

Solution: They decided to deploy Salesforce.com’s Chatter application. The company experienced improved service performance, thanks to real time collaboration on service issues. Additionally, the sales team was able to work more closely together and close a record number of deals in the first quarter after implementing Chatter.

Problem: H&R; Block, the tax preparation experts, wanted to find a way to see what their customers were talking about in order to anticipate problems before they arose.

Solution: The company decided to use Radian6’s social monitoring technology to achieve this goal. The trend analysis tool allowed the company to drill down into community conversations and see which topics were creating the most buzz. This gave them better insight, enabling H&R; Block to be more proactive in their customer service.

Problem: Pepperdine University’s business school was looking for a better way to encourage collaboration among students, staff and faculty.

Solution: They partnered with Yammer to create a Twitter-like environment where users could interact and communicate in real-time and with more transparency. They saw an increase in community participation, due to the familiar UI, which has helped to enhance the learning and teaching process.

Because it is still in its fledgling stage, Social CRM still has a few kinks that need to be worked out. However, these case studies stand as a testament to the potential of this new market segment. It will be interesting to see its growth and maturation of the coming years.

What Can I Do for You?

As we move closer to one of my favorite holidays of the year — that would be Thanksgiving — I’ve doing a little thinking about what I’m thankful for this year. Of course I am extremely thankful for my loving family and my kick ass job, boss and colleagues here at Powered. But at the end of the day, I am also incredibly thankful for you. Yes, that’s right, YOU. The people that read my blog, endure my tweets and indulge me on Facebook.

This year, with your support I’ve:

  • Landed a book deal
  • Been invited to speak at numerous conferences
  • Connected with dozens of prospects and even a few customers
  • Learned a TON about marketing, social media and location-based services
So now it’s my turn to give back to you. Just tell me what you’d like to do (join you for a webinar, podcast, write a guest blog post, grab a coffee, help paint your kitchen). You name it. And while I can’t promise that I’ll do it in the next seven days, I’ll try and schedule it as soon as possible. For FREE. Because you deserve it.
p.s. there is one thing you could do for me if you feel so inclined. As we wrap up Movember, I’m shaking trees for donations. Consider giving $5-10 to help kick cancer’s ass?

We’re Writin’ a Book

Okay, when I say “we’re writin’ a book,” it’s a Dummies book. Which of course is a real book. But it’s not like we’re creating the next great American novel. More specifically, the “we” is my good friend and geo-location savant, Mike Schneider and me. And the Dummies book (Wiley imprint) we’re writing is Location Based Marketing for Dummies. To my knowledge, it will be only the second printed book on this subject. Our friend, Simon Salt’s book being the first.

In the book, we plan to cover a broad array of topics including:

  • Choosing the right platform(s)
  • Building a LBS campaign
  • Creating a relevant offer
  • LBS as part of your loyalty program
  • Integrating LBS with other marketing efforts
  • Developing a monitoring strategy
  • KPIs and Measurement
Mike and I have started writing the book already and plan to have the book wrapped up in March of 2011. The book is scheduled to be published in June of 2011. God willing, we’ll start the pre-orders around May. As soon as there is a link up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, we’ll be sure you know about it.

By the way, I’d like to give a special thanks to our acquiring publisher, Amy Fandrei. She’s not only super smart but she knows her stuff and has already done a fantastic job at “herding kittens” so to speak. Let’s hope she’s not sick of us by the end of this process.

So How you can help?

I’m glad you asked. If you’re a LBS platform or vendor, we are interested in access to your executives, platform and case studies. If you see a new LBS hit the scene, send @schneidermike and I a tweet with the hashtag #LBM4D. You can also keep checking in and letting us know if you discover cool offers, glitches, Easter eggs and any other LBS topics that might be noteworthy. Tell us if you have specific things you think the book should cover, we are always listening.

And of course, you can read the book!