Time to Choose

Mark Frasco - President

Don’t get me wrong, I’m gaining speed every day on the social media movement. However, in a “Flintstone” analogy, it reminds me of the early days of my career when we spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars preparing for and manning trade show booths at technical conferences.

The technical conference was analogous to the LinkedIn platform, each company booth, was like their LinkedIn site, and those who manned the booth were contributing content. We brainstormed on various “hooks” that would pull prospects from their empty gazed stroll past our booth, getting them to engage, even if for a brief moment. This is not unlike the vivid photos, video streams and catchy titles we use in social media to gain an “impression” or “click” on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google search.

Sure, there was interaction in those booths; we built relationships, however thin. The analytics were the number of prospect business cards you gathered or were thrown into a bowl to win a prize – probably a new device, like a FAX machine.

Thank you for obliging me, following me this far without yet making a point. Although both social media and technical conferences are useful, I’ve always found it somewhat curious why we focus much of our efforts building these largely passive systems in the business-to-business market segment. Both feature “hooks” to get a prospect’s attention with somewhat limited success and engagement.

In my work with clients, I help them describe to me their ideal customer profile – their strategic architecture. Almost without exception we can gain enough clarity to define market segment, geography, size, function, buyer type and style. With today’s sophisticated list development tools, why not use that ideal customer profile to research high-value targets and build direct awareness and relationship development processes for the purpose of making friends with them? I suggest to them that it is time to choose their future customers, rather than waiting for the prospect to find them online or wander into their booth.

Building your social media platform is useful, but not sufficient. This will be controversial to some, but without direct, proactive awareness and relationship development processes, the few prospects you attract rarely fit your ideal customer profile.

You’ve all met them, those who troll the booths, gathering the chocolate kisses, logo pens, and dropping cards to win the iPad. Likewise, we now have those who scroll social media liking this and commenting on that.

It might sound a bit prehistoric to some of you, but give me a solid list of high-value targets, a phone and a stack of thank you cards. It’s time to choose a future customer.

Questions or comments? Please contact Mark Frasco at mfrasco@teamCOACT.com.