David Spark has a new blog and podcast "be the voice" that focuses on how companies can use thought leadership to build their businesses. I’m honored that David asked me to be one of the first guests on his new podcast.
Three key ideas we discussed I think are worth expanding.
- Don’t be afraid to be open. All too often, companies fear showing their hand too early because they are afraid. They are afraid that their biggest fears — that the product positioning isn’t right, that the market might be hostile, that competitors will get wind of their ideas — will come to fruition. The more insecure they are, the less likely they are to be open. But that’s the wrong approach — the more unsure you are, the MORE important it is to reach out to your strongest advocates to get an early read on your strategy and positioning. And what to do if you don’t have good relationships with potential advocates? You better start developing them now so that you’ll have them in the future
- Agencies are the heros — and the villians — of social media. Interactive and PR agencies have done a great job educating and bringing marketing to social media. In most cases, they tap a trusted relationship with the client to ease them into a potentially scary space. But because of a traditional business model — especially for interactive agencies — social media initiatives often appear as campaigns, rather than as a way to build a relationship with customers. The result is sometimes that I’m being "used" to tap into word of mouth network rather than the company really wanting to develop a relationship with me. Marketers be smart — in the end, you are the guardian of the relationship with your customer so think long and hard about how you want your agency partners to build that relationship on your behalf.
- Time spent blogging and finding my own "voice". David expressed surprise — almost alarm — that I spend so little time on blogging. And I have to say that I’m rethinking my approach because of the interview. David’s exhortation to "be the voice" means that my voice needs to be expressed, and frankly, more frequently. It’s been a while since I’ve found my own voice, subsumed as it has been for the past year behind the writing and marketing of Groundswell. Now that I’m on my own, I need to find that personal voice again, and to do that, I need to write more frequently. So you’ll be hearing from me — be sure to let me know if I’m blogging too much!