Wiki as a Marketing Tool
"Media" is a term that literally means middle. What is in the middle of your communication with your customers?
"Clone your best client" is a piece of advise that a mentor gave to me. He was right. We have all heard how it is easier to keep a client happy than to find a new client. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft says "Unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." With these two quotes in mind, lets look at different e-marketing and media techniques to communicate to or with your clients, and then compare them to using a wiki-type technology.
This is a buzz-word that implies that your customer only wants to get information that pertains to them. They are right. By listening to a radio station or watching TV, we as consumers are giving implied consent to the type of advertising that we will tolerate. These days are numbered as broadcast is replaced with custom content.
Broadcast vs. Discussion
Business is built on relationships. Relationships are built on proximity. Proximity is based on quantity and quality of contact. The old way of marketing has been through the traditional media: radio, television, and print. This is a broadcast method of marketing...you shoot enough into a crowd, and you are bound to hit somebody. Each of these old-school media methods hinges on demographics, or the "type" of person that you know is qualified to buy your product or service.
The internet cuts this middle layer out. Now, you are able to contact and interface with your market directly, by one-to-one interactions without the traditional media iants of Radio, TV, and Print.
Most newsletters are broadcast to your client list that has subscribed to receive information and offers from you. The frequency is low, often one or two newsletters per month. This type of communication is one to many. This type of invited communication, which often sits unopened in people's Inbox is now referred to as "Bacn", (bacon), and implies that you are only one step above Spam, or, Unsolicited Commercial Email. You can read more about newsletter options in the newsletters article.
Discussion forms do well for lifestyle-type issues, such as health, personal issues, trauma, technical, and entertainment. This type of communication is many to many. References to your product or service here will carry much weight, whether positive or negative. Comments here last for a long time.
Email is good for "private" discussions, and not much else. We are overwhelmed with spam and email has a very short life left in the new market. It is already being replaced by text messaging, wiki collaboration, and social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn.
Chat, IM, Text messaging, etc. are all great methods for our new bite-sized hungry market. Typically the messages are short lived. This is about to change with new mashups like wiki chat which enhances the Discussion or Talk pages of wiki articles with the real-time appeal of chat.
The mob rules. You no longer have direct control over your marketing. Your fans might make videos about your product or service. You can't beat your customers; you must join them if you want to succeed in the new market. You can set up a wiki and give them a platform to discuss your product or service. This new media platform is a wiki. Do you have one?
Do you have content? Can you be found in the new market? Do you have a wiki? Is it being used? Remember the slogan of your wiki: "Content that anyone can edit." Think of the slogan this way: Content that anyone WHO CARES can edit. And who cares most about your wiki? Clone your best client by listening to them describe who they are and what they want. Make your internet home one that is a place your clients feel at home to discuss your product or service with you. If you can't move as fast as your customer, you are going to be alone at the dance.
--Phalseid 24 March 2007 20:11 (CDT)