Tag Archives: McKinsey & Company

Service Vs. Social

When you’re connecting with your friends and relatives on Facebook or other social media, do you think of it as marketing?  I don’t.  I’m not certain what I call it but if marketing is the communication of a product’s value I’m definitely not trying to convey my value as a person to others.  Not consciously anyway.

Why I’m asking the question is our old friend “social media marketing.”  There was another study released a week or so ago, this one by the good folks at NM Incite (which is a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey so they ought to know!).  It covered customer service via social media and found (as summarized in this article) that:

The majority of Twitter and Facebook users — 83% and 71%, respectively — expect a response from a brand within the same day of posting. Some 71% of consumers who experience a quick and effective response are more likely to recommend that brand to others, compared with 19% who do not receive any response… The biggest issue: 36% report having problems solved quickly and effectively, while only 14% report that the company responds quickly but does not resolve the issue, and 10% report never receiving a response at all.

That data is presented in the context of a positive experience leading to positive posts which can be shared across other social spheres.   In other words, marketing.  What I find interesting is that this information  along with some additional thinking on social, is more about serving the brand’s own needs than those of the audience.  As I postulated at the top, while I’m very happy to help out my connections in any way I can I’m not monitoring social media with a marketing mindset.  Unless and until brands can approach social as we non-digital, non-corporate entities do (read that as humans), brands will always be seen much as we do a social connection we made at a party many years ago and with whom we have little or no bond.  Those connections are kind of creepy and I, for one, always wonder why I even have them.  A lot of folks “unfriend”, hide or block those people and you might not even know it if you are the one blocked.  Ouch, especially if you’re a brand.

If we’re going to use social media to connect with consumers, I can’t think of a better reason to do so than customer service.  Yes, that can be a gateway to shared, positive experiences, just as it can precipitate a storm of bad comments if done badly.  It’s not something I’d approach with a marketing mindset if you’re trying to humanize the brand.  Unless, of course, all of your real friends use their accounts mostly to sell you insurance, real-estate, or used cars.  Then you just might need a few new friends!

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Me Or Your Own Eyes?

You’ve probably heard some version of the 18th century joke about a wife who, caught by her husband in bed with a lover, denies the obvious and adds: ‘Whom do you believe, your eyes or my words?’ The Marx Brothers used a variant of it in Duck Soup when Chico, dressed up as Groucho, asks “who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?” Obviously people believed their own eyes since the quote is usually attributed to Groucho.

Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)

I thought of that quote as I was trying to explain a report to someone. They kept telling me the same story about what was going on in their business even though the data was saying something quite different.  Who was I going to believe: them or my own eyes?  Or my own data?

One of the big trends these days is a discussion of “big data.”  In a nutshell, almost everything we do these days in business generates data, and most of the managers I know are drowning in the stuff.  Despite that, most of the companies in which these managers work are not what I’d call a data-driven culture.  In fact, they suffer from the same issue mentioned above.  The will often fit the data to the story instead of letting the data help them solve the questions raided in the telling.  McKinsey stated in one of their reports that:

By 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.

What’s needed is change management with a goal of developing a data-driven culture. Maybe that’s too strong – how about a culture in which data isn’t subordinated to the role of being used selectively to reinforce or justify bad decision-making?  At some point, people have to learn to trust their own eyes – the data they see – and not the stories they hear.  That’s what I think – you?

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