More than any downturn before, there are readily-available opportunities for savvy marketers to use new tools and techniques to gain a relative advantage. For example:
- have conversations with your customers via Twitter (Dell have apparently made $1m sales this way). It costs nothing and you can get kudos, feedback and insight. Is it mainstream enough? Check out Stephen Fry’s account or Britney Spears‘.
- Turn your press office into a blog. They cost little or nothing and allow instant publication of news. Core journalists will subscribe to your feed and you can give them useful embedded multimedia content via YouTube and Flickr. Tech companies have been wise to this for a while.
- Set up a Google Alert for your brand. What are people saying? And spend time in forums where comments crop up regularly. People love it when company representatives respond to their concerns. Just tell the truth and be polite.
- Is your company’s Wikipedia entry accurate? You can’t put a sales pitch there, but you can ensure it’s fair.
- Use Monittor to track real-time what’s being said about your brands on the web
- Conduct simple surveys for free or build friendly customer contact websites using Google templates
There are many more ideas out there. Get over the ‘geek’ imagery; not knowing about these things is nothing to be proud of. MDs expect their marketing departments to understand PR and advertising. If they don’t already expect them to understand the opportunities and cost-savings of social media, then they soon will.
Maybe you can lead the way.