Many are still looking for easy transference of the same old ways of doing things from traditional marketing to social. Perhaps the signs of solutions in search of a problem, or maybe a symptom of hanging on for relevance in an environment that is changing.
The kind of talk that speaks of people as leads continues to be "us" vs. "them" thinking, and it means cutting out opportunity.
Before you jump all over me, we all recognize industry jargon for what it is, jargon. Yet, unless we begin to talk differently about what happens when we organize activities and content to be in contact with customers and prospects, we will continue to think of them as "leads".
Who loves to be called a lead? It's not just words. They affect the way we act, too. If it looks and smells and feels familiar to the old ways of doing things, it will get the same results. This is why traditional push marketing has run out of juice. And it is a symptom of a deeper issue.
The issue is businesses are way behind on the social media/networks adoption curve compared to their customers.
Customer as teachers
You can tell who has spent time with customers and who hasn't in your marketing group. Those who have, see customers as teachers and have a good grasp of what happens on the front lines with customer support and service.
Which is the reason why organizations that have continuity and true integration between customer service and marketing groups have a competitive advantage. This carries over into social, as people who are used to dealing with individual customers understand better where people come from — if they are any good and want to, of course.
This idea of customers as teacher is counter-intuitive, because so many of our interactions with customers in the past have been the result of dissatisfaction and issues, and not a proactive conversation.
You've been cookied
However, I strongly believe that those conversations will continue to be manufactured and ring as false as long as marketers think of customers as clicks to cookie on a site. Indeed, many are even using the term as a verb these days.
If you're not familiar with the term, here's how cookies work. Aurem Hoffman wrote a good post recently about the role of cookies in erasing online anonymity and proposed solutions to the issue. The truth is many customers are not aware of these practices today. Wait a couple of years, and more technology-savvy customers may. Or they may not. There is a reason why spam exists, it gets people.
There are all kinds of other stealth ways that organizations collect customer data. What is not being done today, is using that data to actually help the customer, instead of hoarding those cookies in the company's jar for immediate gratification by marketers.
I dump all cookies at every session and resist the urge to sign up for papers, unless I use a throwaway email address. I look to supporting, buying from and interacting with organizations that make products I love and talk and act as "us" as much as possible.
You've been cookied to me means that there is little intention of getting to the true interaction part. More marketing done to you, than thinking about customers as teachers. When I had this conversation with direct marketing colleagues, they pushed back — almost implied that customers want to be cookied.
So I naturally wonder, do you mind? Is this something you never thought about? Do you manage the cookies in your browser?
[image control in the new TypePad composer is weird. I would have preferred more margin wrapped around the text. Then again, nobody asked this customer what features were helpful.]