A Business Technology Place

Social media awareness


A classic marketing framework for describing consumer behavior is awareness,  interest, desire, and action (AIDA). Tim Ash does a good job of relating the AIDA model to eCommerce and Internet Marketing. Over the past several months, I’ve been trying to promote the ‘A’ for awareness with social media with my organization, friends, and family. It’s been a surprisingly difficult task.

At work, I routinely collect and share social media examples with peers and managers. Now, I don’t consider this a spamming effort. I try to make the content of each message relevant. It might be about relationship building or how businesses are using social media to reach customers. My Starbucks idea is a great example of this.

Here are some typical responses from work:

  • Something like “that’s nice, come back to me when you can prove it will make a million dollars in 90 days”
  • “That would never work here”
  • An acknowledgment that it sounds really cool.
  • No response, no acknowledgment. I translate this to mean, they are too busy to read the message, they don’t understand the message, or they think social media is a home based fad with no business relevance.

I see this as a battle between classic push marketing (paid print ads, internet banners, etc.) and value based marketing (content based where customers elect to see your content). Before I can get people to be ‘interested’ (AIDA) they need to be aware of just what social media is.  The ideas of building relationships, offering helpful services, and being authentic are not new. What is new, is that you would do these activities without charging the customer for each interaction.  Awareness.

At home, or with friends, I often hear comments like:

  • Why would I put my personal life online? – Pick and choose what you share. But its a good way to build relationships, because people will post what’s important to them or what they are passionate about. It definitely gets you past the shallow conversations about the weather!
  • “Who has time for that?”  – I guess you have less time if you just turn on the TV and plop on the couch. Everyone has the same amount of time in the day. Make your choices about what you’ll do with it.
  • “I’ve never heard of that or wouldn’t know what to do” – People are creatures of habit. Have you seen the fastest growing segment on Facebook?

How do you promote awareness of social media in your organization, family, or circle of friends? Write me, I’d like to get some insight into what has worked for you and what has not.

Photo Credit: Relationship-Economy

Starbucks gets the big idea


Have you seen mystarbucksidea.com? Starbucks has gone outside their corporate walls for idea generation and thought. They’ve given their customers a chance to submit ideas to help improve the Starbucks brand and business. This isn’t anything new you say? You’ve had the ability to do this for years right?  You could submit ideas and leave comments through suggestion cards and customer surveys. Hold on, let’s take a closer look at what Starbucks has done with this site.

The My Starbucks idea site is really a community. Customers or interested persons leave their ideas where they are visible to everyone. Each idea is then voted on by the community and discussed. If Starbucks implements an idea from the suggestions they will post it on their blog named Ideas In Action.

What so ingenious about this and how is better than traditional surveys and comments cards?

Idea submission

To submit an idea you must be a registered user. Not to worry, the registration form only has 3 fields ( Username, email address, and password). So you won’t spend time writing out your name, complete address, and those dreadful demographic questions.

The process then allows you to pick a screen name for use with any posts you might make. To submit an idea you only need to fill in three boxes: the idea name, a description of the idea, and the category (from a selection box).  How simple is that? Don’t forget you can submit multiple ideas and keep coming back to the site.

Viewing ideas

Both registered and unregistered users can view idea submissions. Ideas are grouped by category, points, date for easy viewing. This creates a sense of community and understanding. It’s not something you’ll find with traditional customer response mechanisms where your survey is a one-off input.

Voting on and discussing ideas

Registered, users can then give each idea a thumbs up or thumbs down which will help determine the point score for the idea. The total points for an idea are shown by its name. In this way, Starbucks can get an idea of just how popular an idea is with its customers. Think about that. You can make your voice heard through voting for others comments even if you don’t submit any of your own ideas.

Registered users can also create discussions for each idea. This allows people to both further clarify the thought or to have a healthy debate on the merits of each idea and if they should be considered further. Again, it creates a sense of community and feeling that customers can contribute to shaping the future of the company. You can’t get this by dropping a white card into a wooden box or by filling out an online survey and never knowing if anyone reads it.

It comes with the territory

Perhaps the most impressive thing I saw on the site, was that the moderator allowed negative posts to stay on line. Starbucks reserves the right to moderate the site from profanity or inappropriate comments (as they should). But they do not delete posts which customers use to vent frustrations or to give criticism. This lets you know that this site is not just a marketing feel-good board. It’s a place where comments are welcome and viewed. Posters beware though. Since this is a community site, you may find that others don’t agree with your assessment.

My hats off to you Starbucks. You’ve got the big idea!