The new era of social networking has created what has been described as a “conversation economy”. Agency new business professionals need to change from trying to sell agency capabilities and start marketing conversations. To do this effectively your agency needs a conversation strategy.
Marketers are starved for time and already engaged in many and varied conversations. With over 200,000,000 blogs out there, jump-starting new and meaningful conversations with targeted prospective clients is the big challenge for agencies today. Just building a website, writing a blog, being on Twitter or posting videos on YouTube, doesn’t mean sufficient prospects will find you organically, much less take the time and energy to converse with you.
Having the right conversation strategy addresses two key issues: What meaningful content will attract sufficient conversations with the right people? And, how will you jump-start conversations and keep them alive?
According to Marsha Lindsay, the CEO of Lindsay, Stone & Briggs: “Even if people know there’s an opportunity to have a conversation with you on Twitter or your blog for instance, you can’t expect them to engage given all the other demands on their time. You’ll need a strategy that both gets them to know you exist and care so much that you exist, they’ll become intrigued about conversing with you. This requires a strategy that integrates search optimization, media, message and contributions of content from the marketers themselves”.
“The right strategy begins with the end in mind: What message can work across multiple platforms and be scaled so quickly and broadly it can drive sufficient interactions to support your business model?”
A multimedia mix framed to spark conversations requires a compelling message concept that can work across a multimedia platform. Its foundation has to be far more than a one-time new business outreach; it must be a message strategy that connects the agency’s brand meaning with search habits and accommodates ongoing contributions that can range from casual conversations to marketer-generated content.
This is a tall order, but not impossible. That’s because the solution can be found in the motivations of the conversationalists themselves. After all, conversation is mankind’s natural search engine.
The question then becomes – how do you keep the conversation going? You’ll constantly be competing with other conversations for your target’s time and attention. So, spark and fuel conversations with surveys, forums and invitations for contributions that pertain to the incremental value that your agency can bring to their brand/product. Keeping ongoing conversations fresh is where contextual research and newsletters, blogs, websites, videos and social media shine.
For those agencies who get their conversation strategy right, marketers will take over the conversation for you, making your new business development more efficient, and making you a genius in your new role as chief conversation officer.