How To Gain Respect with Businesses
Usually I write for businesses and since this is a small business marketing blog that would be appropriate. Today, I want to speak with some of my cohorts in marketing who focus on technology. The social media, web dev, app dev folks of the world apparently need to be reminded that they are often ahead of the rest of society in technology acceptance.
Think of technology as hip-hop and businesses as your parents in the late eighties-early nineties. Remember hearing, “this stuff isn’t music,” and the ever popular, “rap will never last”? Well, we knew what was up, but Young MC and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s mainstream hits were needed to get the late adopters to finally resign in acceptance.
Sometimes I think some of us need to remember that Twitter is still closer to N.W.A. than Heavy D and the Boys. I often hear how irrelevant social media is to businesses, because of this problem to this day. The problem we seem to have is that technology has not been properly matched to business needs, and that needs to happen for SM to gain the same amount of respect as traditional tools, in the business community.
Last night I was at one of my favorite Detroit area events – Tweetea – in Royal Oak when I was reminded of this. We can get so excited about a new technology that we attempt to convince businesses that they need to do this thing – and it isn’t necessary. It also made me think of an old axiom used in sales that basically reads, “don’t sell but solve.” I would like to use this to create a marketing axiom that reads, “don’t market but connect.” It works for the marketer and the business.
The marketer must connect to the business need and offer solutions that will work at the speed in which the business is ready to accept the communicative tools used. The business must connect to their customer needs, as marketing something just to sell your favorite item is just as bad as marketers pushing their favorite new tools on a business.
I guess it all comes down to doing more than listening, but hearing what is necessary of the message receiver. Before offering something that is cutting edge and gets your marketing geek juices dripping down your chin like the brown sauce out of your Chinese food container after being turned over in your car during a hard stop – do just that and stop to think about whether this will connect you with your client more or take you further away from perceived relevance. Sometimes a consultative approach to offering the tech can get you there, but sometimes you may just need to back off.
As stewards of technology we have a responsibility to make sure that we keep it relevant to businesses by making sure that they either fully understand the need for a new service, or waiting to offer it only when businesses are ready. You’re not going to win any points by dribbling through your legs and staying in one place on the court. Sometimes a fundamental dribble to the basket is the easiest way to score.