Social commerce and ‘marketing as conversation’

Compete, Inc. just released a “Spark! brief” research report on the topic of how social commerce is becoming the new way of customer engagement. The report highlights some interesting findings, and can be read here.

Most interesting were some of the following comments and recommendations, that are also reflective of our experience with Kalivo:

  • Committing to a social commerce strategy means welcoming consumer participation into the marketing process
  • Treating consumers as equal participants is a new skill for marketers; blending your own marketing objectives with consumer trust and transparency will likely require repeated experimentation
  • Social networkers are increasingly turning away from traditional media and toward their peers for information and product recommendations

Compete goes on to recommend a few approaches for capitalizing on the trend toward social commerce, or s-commerce as they call it:

  1. Research consumers, while they research you and your rivals – Develop an online research program …. conduct surveys … use dashboards to track changes
  2. Create a channel to connect customers and your brand – Launch a community site … experiment with new ways to increase community value … invite influential customers to shape the product roadmap
  3. Engage consumers in a conversation: listen, learn and leverage – Join the dialog … frequent valued participation … apply experiences in the community throughout your business
It is important for companies to engage in these social networking strategies sooner rather than later in order to figure out how to best engage their customers as THEY become more social on the web. Customers are already doing this, and in fact the research finds that they are relying on the social web for their product information and recommendations, and hence this channel is becoming the primary means for influencing purchase behavior.

The early bird will truly get the worm in each market segment, as an established true two-way symbiotic dialog with your customers and prospects via the social web will be next to impossible to break. The companies that do this first will have a nearly exclusive and trusted channel to their customers and prospects, and a compelling pulse on their markets.

It’s important to start engaging customers in the social web channel today.

— brian

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