Igloo was recently approached to be featured in Direct Marketing News. Here, Igloo Senior Vice President of Marketing & Operations Andrew Dixon offers his input on why marketers are placing an importance on collaboration in the workplace.
Mobile technology, cloud computing and the internet have all fundamentally changed the face of communication, but nothing has been as transformative as social in changing the way we interact and build relationships - both in our personal and professional lives. Thanks to the power of social technologies, people are more closely connected to information, and to one another, than ever before. The consumer, peer-to-peer, Web 2.0 environment has ushered in a new age where anyone with an electronic device and an internet connection can be a media tycoon. Start a blog and in seconds you can publish your thoughts and opinions for all to see, from anywhere and everywhere. It's the democratization of communication and it's driving an exponential increase in the number of channels and in the sheer volume of content. That's why the broadcast marketing model is no longer a viable strategy. In order to cut through the clutter, you need to share and engage with your customers in a new way. Of course, marketers are responding and evolving faster than ever before. New technologies and touch points have spurred rapid innovation in techniques, processes and tools. But even as these changes occur right before our eyes, we still rely on email, a technology that is decades old, as the de facto business collaboration tool. The question is why?
The email let down
How many emails hit your inbox yesterday? 100? 200? The email overload problem is one that many of us can relate to. Distribution lists and "reply alls" are annoying and inefficient ways to collaborate. And because it's a one-to-many communication tool, it isolates content and creates silos. Take the process of coordinating an integrated campaign, one that touches an array of agency partners and marketing disciplines across the business. Typically, this involves sending multiple email updates, file attachments and status updates as you coordinate logistics back-and-forth. Then, final versions of the campaign material are published to a shared drive or brand portal for rollout across territories or regions. Let's remember that email was never really meant to be more than a simple messaging tool - we've been asking it to do things it wasn't originally designed to do. There has to be a better way. We're not necessarily talking about a world without email here (unless you want that) - just one with far less.
The emergence of the social intranet
The newest trend that has been born of our dissatisfaction with email is the re-emergence of the corporate intranet, powered by social technologies. Acknowledging that the consumer social web has transformed how people communicate, social business software brings those same innovations to the enterprise. You get the great social features and user experience you love in your favourite consumer apps (i.e. the ability to follow, blog, update your status, etc.), while at the same time meeting stringent IT requirements. This has tremendous application for businesses that traditionally have been restricted by hierarchies and silos within their organizations. With social business, information flows more freely and enables people to self-organize into communities, discover each other and connect - instantly. As a result, work gets done far more efficiently than ever before. For marketers, that means you can: Brainstorm ideas for a new direct marketing initiative or post updates on a range of marketing topics, including competitive intelligence & campaign performance Develop an integrated marketing calendar to streamline messaging and bring together disparate functions responsible for print, direct, email and social Collaborate and share digital assets across marketing functions and agencies Meet less, hold fewer conference calls, and even put an end to reply-alls
Reaching today's social customer
Social business is not just about a better way to collaborate at work. It also gives you the opportunity to enhance your relationship with your customers - to better support them and improve your marketing efforts by making your brand about more than just product. Today's buyer has far more choice than ever before. We've gone from information scarcity to information abundance. Your message can be seen, heard, shared with friends and deleted with the click of a button. That is, of course, if it manages to break through the clutter in the first place. The purchase process has changed. Today's buyer responds to conversations, not just campaigns. That's why an online community, powered by social, is critical as it helps you establish a dialogue with your customers. And when you know what customers really think and want, you can adapt your products or services as part of a feedback loop.
Case in point
Mobilicity Wireless carrier Mobilicity relies on Igloo's social business software suite to create a more connected and well-armed dealer network across Canada. In less than 2 weeks, they were able to launch a branded, social intranet to provide dealers with a single point of access to training materials, sales tools and system and network updates. Corporate marketing can now easily communicate with those in the field and help them overcome customer objections, while dealers may network with each other to share marketing inspiration and examples of promotions that were effective in their regions.