This week I will be talking about a strategy that I have learned about in chapter four of the book “Groundswell”. Before discussing this strategy called the POST method, it is important, as in any strategy, that one have a clear vision and goal. If one does not know what one wants to achieve from a particular strategy, the chances of obtaining the necessary objectives and outcomes are minimal. It can be particularly risky if one decides to use the POST method without clear questions since this method uses technology like Social Media in order to build its strategy. One must therefore be able to articulate the information being sought. Secondly, technology goes through on-going change which could further complicate the matter.
I will now go through the POST Method and use the financial industry to follow as an example as to how this method could be used as an effective strategy. The POST method focuses on four main areas: People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology. Each area has a step to contribute to building an overall strategy.
People: This portion of the POST further explains Social Technographic Profiles that were referred to in my previous blog post. Social Technographic Profiles are a way of categorizing people based on the groundswell activities that they are active in. The book identifies and describes 7 major profiles: creators, conversationalist, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators, and inactives.
As mentioned in my last blog I would like to pursue the financial service industry as a financial planner. First off by going to forester’s webpage you can put in a range in age that are seeking financial services. From there one can narrow in or what age groups use as a major profile and adapt how one can target them accordingly. An illustration is below:
Middle aged males and females have a higher expectancy to spectate rather than engaging with content. When seeing that 70% of males and 59% of females are spectators, versus 20% male and 15% female’s creator one has to engage the target audience. This is not so much creating new information. One has to be a creator by using social media platforms to attract them in.
Objective: This is where one’s company decides what its goals are. Is it to listen to your customer’s needs? Is it to engage with your customers? This is where one or one’s company look at the 5 primary objectives companies can pursue in the Groundswell. The 5 objectives are as follows: Listening, Talking, Energizing, supporting and Embracing. Listening has been touched in a previous blog. it illustrates how listening is demonstrated as a primary objective for businesses. I will briefly describe the other 4 below:
Talking: Using interactive channels to actively spread messages about your business to your target audience. (Ex: Banner ads)
Energizing: “Finding your most enthusiastic customers and use Groundswell to supercharge the power of their word of mouth” (Groundswell, Chap. 4, 2010).”
Supporting: Set up Groundswell so that your customers can help each other. An example of this would be creating a forum for which individuals can communicate effectively with one another. Also it allows you and your business to give input when needed. For instance FAQs.
Embracing: Integrate your customers into your company’s business if possible. This is hard to do and sometimes may not be beneficial.
Ill now give an example using the financial industry.
Although the financial industry can incorporate more than one primary objective into their strategy, if should be apparent that the financial industry should start with one primary objective to narrow in on the ultimate goal. From what I have found in the private financial industry, a primary objective to attract customers is listening to them. At the end of the day they have certain needs when it comes to their own finances. They are saving for the future and may require several different financial services. My future job is to see how I can help these customers with their future goals. For the most part this is done through listening to what their issues, concerns, questions are and drawing on knowledge to be able to support them. Being able to effectively answer those tough questions would help provide service to the customers.
Strategy: This is where you answer questions like, “how do you want your customer relationships to change? (Groundswell, 2010). Do you want them to speak about your service, or do you want your target audience to engage with your service. This is where you implement a plan in order to make necessary changes that you wish to see.
For example in the finance industry most companies use advertising to entice individuals to invest their money into a particular companies financial services. Depending on the types of financial services being offered they tend to use different outlets of advertising. For instance a commercial or video may be beneficial when trying to acquire individuals to purchase life insurance. A lot of individuals use this type of coverage so promoting what a company offers it may attract individuals to it. Maybe one wants to sell mutual funds, in that particular case has one diminished a target market, as not everyone has capital saved up or might want it. In this case it may be better to use a company website to attract customers surfing the web for options.
Technology: Now that one has decided who to target, it is time to find which technology will be the most effective. it is important to focus on one platform at a time. It’s better to have one great platform than having 3 mediocre platforms as mediocrity won’t drive in your target audience.
Sticking with the financial industry in particular, private financial companies may benefit from using a company website where they can create a forum. This allows clients to interact and engage with fellow clients, as well as to engage with the particular company. They can also get FAQs answered and register comments or concerns they have. This allows for greater transparency from business to client.
Forrester Research. (2009). Forrester Research’s Consumer Technographics Data. Retrieved October 4, 2014, from Forresters Research: http://empowered.forrester.com/tool_consumer.html
Kaplan, A., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the World, Unite! The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59-68.