Chapter 6: Talking with the Groundswell

“No matter what your company does, whom it sells to, or what parts of the world you do business in, people are blogging about your product” (Li & Bernoff, 2011). 


Marketing departments in every organization weigh heavily in attempts to speak with their customers. Two of the main methods used are:

Advertising: Thrives on repetition through reach and frequency.

Public relations: Exposures in free media

A traditional marketing method can best be illustrated through the marketing funnel. Consumers are driven by activities (ex: advertising) into awareness, continuing through the funnel to end up as buyers.the_traditional_marketing_funnel

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However, just using these methods isn’t enough. Once consumers reach the middle of the funnel, the shouting method will not be as effective. What is going to get customers engaged is conversation. Through Facebook, blogs, etc., a companies social media presence becomes influential to not only existing customers, but whoever else reads it as well. The most common and effective ways to talk to the groundswell are through:

  1. Post a viral video 
    1. Best for punching through the noise
    2. A brilliant idea is required
      1. An example of one of Blendtec’s viral videos can be found here
  2. Engage in social networks and user-generated content sites
    1. Solves word of mouth problems (clothes, movies, TV shows)
    2. Key is to be there and respond to your what your customers are saying
  3. Join the blogsosphere
    1. Useful when multiple sets of customers exist/ have complex products
    2. Blogs can help with consideration of complex options
    3. Often get posted on mainstream media
  4. Create a community 
    1. A long term commitment
    2. Useful for when customers or dependant on each other – not on you.

In order to create a successful blog, we can refer back to a refresher to use given in chapter 4 regarding the POST process. The desire to actually want to engage with your customers will take away the “shoving down your throat” feeling you might give off otherwise. Knowing who you want to reach out too (people) and what you tend to accomplish (objectives) are the building blocks towards reaching this goal. Implementing the strategy and using the approaite technogloy is what remains to reach your goals.

In the HR industry, the best approach they can do is align themselves with the marketing department to achieve whatever the end goal is. For example, if the organizations purpose is to promote awareness of a new product, the HR team can hire the right candidates to execute this through marketing. While educating the marketing team of what exactly they are aiming to accomplish, they can decide of either of the four options above is the most appropriate for what they are trying to achieve.

This chapter focused on shifting the shouting method into a more conversational method that is much more engaging. This is a continuous cycle that involves people, comments, and feedback and will constantly be evolving.

Li, C., Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technology. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press



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