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Posts Tagged ‘ZDNet’

Relationship Marketing

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

There’s a great piece that’s been percolating around the Enterprise/Social space right now, based around ‘Why Every Company Needs a Robert Scoble‘ -

With free sexy infographic!

Written by Mark Fidelman, Social Business Strategist over on SeekOmega, he talks about brand evangelists and how awesome they are at -

‘…creating exceptional buzz around their brands that was once the domain of the world’s largest media powerhouses’.

He’s not wrong.

But, like everything else in the fast-moving world of digital and social, this too shall pass. Scoble is a purple cow in this area, a unique being amongst others who’s clout klout alone can help make or break a business. At least, you’d hope so. One only has to look at his immense activity on new web darling ‘Quora‘ to see the kind of dedication he puts into something he likes. One would imagine that he also quite likes his employer, Rackspace.

And it’s here that we find the rub.

This morning things got even more interesting when renowned analyst and commenter Dennis Howlett weighed in with his well thought out analysis over on ZDNet. CFO and investor commentary aside, Dennis’ experience in this area is second to none and he provides some excellent counter-points to Fidelman’s post.

However, when talking about Rackspace and their rather fantastic reputation in the Enterprise space, this quote in particular stood out for me:

“Whenever I have discussions with customers about their IT landscape and data center thoughts, Rackspace’s name is never very far from the conversation. Why? The company has established a solid reputation that customers are happy to talk about. As we have all known in this industry for a very long time, relationships drive enterprise sales harder than anything else. Get customers talking to one another and you’re off to the races. Tick them off and you are in deep trouble.”

I’ve bolded the bit I’m really focusing on here. Howlett has been writing about enterprise software for the best part of 20 years and provides some great extra analysis on top of Mark’s initial conjectural piece around the value of a true, brand evangelist. Seriously, go read it.

The point he makes above is neither new thinking or any kind of rocket science, but what it is is exactly what we, as word of mouth practitioners believe in through and through; if you have a kick-ass service and can deliver on your promises – then get your customers talking. It’s that simple.

The brand evangelist can help facilitate those conversations but, as Dennis quite rightly points out, that is only one piece of a much larger marketing pie*.

Scoble himself is naturally self-depreciating (and completely on point) -

Shouting about a product is easy. Creating meaningful relationships over a sustained period of time which consistently deliver against fundamental key business critical metrics? Well, that’s something else entirely.

Relationships. Matter.

It’s that simple.