Friday, May 22, 2009

Will real time search turn marketing into customer service?

With the popularity of Twitter's real time search, and some Very Large companies like @Comcastcares, @Jetblue, @Wholefoods and @Ford being very vocal about the importance of maintaining a two-way dialogue with their consumers, it follows that the next stage of marketing may feature company reps reaching out via Twitter Search to real consumers and offering product deals, offers, or advice. 

This has already happened in some instances, but it hasn't happened on a grand scale...yet. Marketing as customer service seems the obvious next step in online marketing to me. But I haven't really heard many tech pundits kicking it around in convo or posts much. There was this post by my fave search expert, John Battelle, that sticks out in my mind. It was posted last year. 

The main idea of the post is that Google may feel to us like it's immediate, but it's really an archival system. Battelle writes, "Google represents a remarkable achievement: the ability to query the static web." What Google hasn't done yet is show us what query searches in real time. 

But guess who has done that? Twitter. Ahhhh...Twitter. The darling of the community sites just can't do anything wrong it seems. But it may have some competition lurking in Sunnyvale.

In a more recent post by Battelle, the omnipresence of real time search appears inevitable when Battelle quotes Google co-founder Larry Page as admitting that "People really want to do stuff in real time and they [Twitter] have done a great job about it...we will do a good job of things now that we have these examples."

So have we reached the moment when your search coughs up what people are saying about your query that very second? And if so, what does that mean to marketing? 

This is what's really interesting to me. And you better believe corporations and CMOs everywhere are similarly salivating over the idea of direct, one-to-one sales and marketing via real time queries. I mean, it's the ultimate opt-in, right? The consumer is actually requesting information and is probably near the end of the buying cycle. Plus, the corporation rep can snag that lead and convert it into a sale, immediately.

I can even visualize what the day-to-day job would require: some kind of marketing/customer service/account person hybrid, sitting in front of a multi-panel listening platform, where they monitor certain key word mentions online and entice influencers with micro blog outreach moments. Do you see it too? What do you see?

Monday, May 18, 2009

My pal smarts off on Ideas Project

A quick shout out to my friend Roland Smart, who is featured today on the intriguing video-based tech and influencers blog site, Ideas Project. True to its name, Ideas Project features thought leaders giving an encapsulated (read: BRIEF!) description of a Big Idea. I've posted one video of Roland above, in which he describes how Marketing 2.0 is all about bi-directional conversations with community, and how companies grow out of a community need. For more Roland, read the full posting.

Check it out. He makes a killer point in no time. What can I say, his last name ain't Smart for nothin'.