Monday, February 24, 2014
Managing Evidence: Getting Credit for Your Brand/Product
6:18 pm est
In legal circles
“tampering with evidence” is strictly taboo...it’s grounds for serious penalties. But in the world of managing
customers’ experiences, "managing evidence" is often not only desirable; it may be a tool necessary for survival!
Perceptive Are Your Customers?
Most customers fail to recognize the quality built into a product
or the efforts extended by a service-provider - even though they may buy your products. They’re generally
unable to fully appreciate the differences between one company’s product and the products of competitors. They
even seldom find the time to consider or appreciate the added value contributed by the perks and niceties that accompany the
products and services they buy. That’s why it’s critical for marketers to call customers’ attention
to these values after the purchase has been made. Otherwise credit isn’t given, increased loyalty (the primary
goal for offering the superior services/products in the first place) may never be realized, and positive word of mouth is
less likely to be generated.
Providing a great customer experience is essential, but it requires additional
effort to see that your customers understand and appreciate what’s being delivered to them. Consider an example.
Norton, the computer security firm, (that might be protecting the computer on which you’re reading this) provides excellent
protective software for computers. But if their software is doing its job, an owner will likely never be bothered; it’s
definitely a ‘low profile’ service. Norton has apparently recognized its need to reinforce its value to
customers by managing evidence. It accomplishes this with a monthly top-line report of the number of computer files checked
in its latest scan; how many problems it detected; and what it has done to safeguard a computer. And, each time the
service updates its virus-detecting database it informs owners with a pop-up. Norton is doing a great job of managing
evidence to remind owners it’s more than ‘paying for itself’.
'Tootin' Our Own Horn
seem uncomfortable with the concept of managing evidence. Given our cultural backdrop, this may be understandable.
After all, Western cultures teach the values of modesty. Further, managers may fall victim to one of two false assumptions:
1.) Assuming customers will be insulted by having good performance pointed out to them; or 2.) Assuming that all existing
customers already understand the added benefits offered by their products. In both cases managers accepting either
of these assumptions are going to be wrong.
Astute managers need to learn how much (or how little) of the value they’re delivering is actually
being perceived by their customers and credited to them. Trusting that one is receiving credit for the value actually
being delivered to customers is a fool's hope.
Monday, February 3, 2014
Easy Way To Increase Your Likes and Followers
5:43 pm est
your company has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or posts videos to YouTube, chances are you’re measuring your ‘success’,
at least partially, by counting your numbers of likes, shares, followers, or views. You may find
yourself benchmarking your volume against competitors’. But, while likes and shares may be the
most obvious metrics available, a a recent AP article by Martha Mendoza offered some startling facts and figures that give
us all something to think about.
Your Facebook Friends May Live in Dhaka!
- While you may not be personally familiar with Dhaka, Bangladesh, the
city of 7 million is an international hub for click farms. These ‘boiler rooms’
of workers generate millions of fans and followers for websites around the world, all for pay.
- Thanks to low labor costs, companies in Dhaka like Unique IT World
can find all the literate workers they need to create phantom social media accounts (difficult to actually distinguish
them from real followers) and then manually click on clients' social media pages.
- Skeptical? It could be coincidence that Dhaka is the home city of the greatest number of fans of
highly ranked celebrities(like soccer star Leo Messi who has 51 million likes) – but probably not.
stranger Dhaka, Bangladesh happens to be the most frequent geographic home for likes of Facebook's own
security page (among the 7.7 million likes), and Google's own Facebook page (15.2 million likes).
So, How Big is
the Click Farm Business?
Surely this activity
has to be an exception, rather than the rule....
security researchers Andrea Stroppa and Carla De Micheli estimated in 2013 that revenue generated by creating fake
Twitter followers has reached between $40 to $360 million for the supporting click farms. Similarly, fake
Facebook activities produce $200 million a year in revenue for these click farms!
- Attention US taxpayers. In 2013, the State Department, which has more
than 400,000 likes, agreed to stop buying Facebook fans after its Inspector General criticized the agency
for spending $630,000 to boost the numbers. (We wonder why no one noticed the fans were coming from foreign countries!)
How Much Does a
- For those seeking to inflate their
numbers to please their management or earn a bonus tied to measures of “popularity”, hits, fake fans
and followers really aren’t expensive. Companies like BuyPlusFollowers sell 250 Google+ shares for
$12.95. InstagramEngine sells 1,000 followers for $12. AuthenticHits sells 1,000 SoundCloud plays for $9.
- It’s a very open business, especially offshore, with
firms bearing names like WeSellLikes.com. In Jakarta, Ali Hanafiah will deliver 1,000 Twitter followers for
$10 and 1 million for only $600.
It’s an amazing story. We won’t
try to be ethics cops here, but all this does have to make you wonder what some of those astronomical social media numbers
we see bandied about really mean. And, why are companies trying to game the system? In the end, they may only
be fooling themselves. That’s why in the case of word of mouth we believe it’s dangerous (and incomplete)
to focus on quantitative measures (followers, likes, etc.) alone. Qualitative measures incorporating the ‘energy and
attitudes’ of true fans have to be more important.