How to Survive When the Internet is ‘Killing the Expert’

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Websites, online forums and social media are changing how people identify the individuals they consider to be experts in their field. In a time when anyone can blog, Tweet or post on any topic they want, it’s possible for just about anyone to emerge as the supposed ‘expert’ on just about anything — at least that is the perception for many.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an expert as someone “having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.” Nowhere in this definition does it say that blogging, Tweeting or posting makes you the expert. But you might not be able to tell this based on what you read in certain forums.

 

Cassie Boom laments in an article in PR Daily: “The Internet is killing the ‘expert.’ Anyone with an Internet connection can declare themselves an expert.”

 

So when you are the real expert — someone who is trained and experienced in your chosen field — how do you overcome this? You have to provide more than just information:

  • Encourage your customers to show you information they find on websites and social media sites. You can dissect the information with them, which will demonstrate how you are the true expert.  Embrace your customer and his knowledge. Whether good or bad, you create more of a relationship to discuss a topic rather than dismiss it.
  • Emphasize your service, e.g. having a live person who can talk about information and why it’s good or bad.
  •  Offer personal attention. Respond individually to customer inquiries over the phone, or in your blog comments section. Devoting time to individual customers shows that you are engaged and up-to-date with new developments and trends in the industry.
  •  Customize ideas to fit their needs instead of taking the cookie-cutter Internet approach. Don’t assume that your online audience is homogenous. Customize your ideas to fit the needs of different customer segments. More targeted advice shows that you have a specific group’s interests in mind.

 

Learn more about how to retain and gain customers through Interline Creative Group’s “Staying in Front of Your Customers” free webinar series. Visit www.interlinegroup.com/events for a schedule and to reserve your space.

Staying In Touch With Your Data

During flu season, the warnings are clear – don’t touch anything due to risk of infection.  But when it comes to your information, you risk everything if you don’t learn to touch your data!  Staying in touch with your data will result in amazing discoveries, including accountability.  Here are a few case studies to prove our point.

Our company once received a desperate call from a publisher’s representative in regards to a magazine we were working for. “The advertiser threatened to pull the schedule. There aren’t enough inquiries.  What can you do to help?” the rep exclaimed.

We examined the ads that were running. The product being advertised was an American With Disabilities Act product. We proceeded to obtain the leads that were generated and looked at them by running demographic profiling methods.

One of the inquiries came from a person with the title ADA Consultant. The company he worked for was one of the five Stay In Touch With Your Dataleading trucking companies in the US.  We touched further by calling the inquirer. It turns out this ADA Consultant was in charge of renovating every property owned by his employer to meet the standards set by ADA legislation.

We prepared a presentation centering on this individual (and a few other leads) that the sales rep then sent to the advertiser. The advertiser, which had not touched the data, phoned the rep within fifteen minutes and invited her to California to discuss next year’s schedule.

On a separate project, we studied five batches for five advertisers for one publisher (Confusing, right?  Stick with us, it’s worth it).  In the first batch, we found David E. David (name changed to protect the innocent). He listed himself as working for a state agency with the title of Administrator. We merged/purged that batch with the second batch and were surprised to find the same David. In fact, David turned up in all five batches!

Curious, we then interviewed the five advertisers to find out if they knew about David. Two of the five called David a Literature Collector because the lead reports they received said David circled more than ten numbers. These advertisers didn’t even fulfill David’s request for information. The other advertisers were unaware of David or any other of the names they had generated because they had no analytical system in place.

As it turns out, David WAS a literature collector. He collected for about ten departments for the state where he worked. He was a mechanical engineer with the responsibility for finding out “what’s new” and then sharing it with his fellow engineers. You couldn’t begin to sell in his state without passing through David first.

Studies have found that the more numbers an individual circles, the more likely he is to be a primary trigger puller in a buying situation. Instead of being dismissive, a little investigation into our data revealed David to be someone of great interest and potential.

Stay in touch with your data. Carefully reviewing your data often will keep you informed and aware of what your data has to offer.  Keep digging, you never know what remarkable rewards you might discover.

Hitting the Affluent Market Target via Research Data

Target-Affluent

Today is the day you should be thinking about your marketing. Actually, you should be thinking about marketing every day. Marketing works best if you have a plan and a target and then every piece will fit together, if you have the right knowledge. The way to get the knowledge needed to run a successful marketing program is through research.

For example, in order to reach the affluent customer the MarketNet team worked with the American Affluent Research Center (AARC), a private research organization, as a resource to understand the affluent customer. It may be a good fit for your company, especially if you are targeting affluent consumers.

In working with the AARC, MarketNet was able to learn more about that target demographic of customers, which enabled us to hit the target and reach our goals in the affluent market. We can, therefore, focus our energy in a certain direction — saving time and money to get positive results, gain market share — and continue to build our business.

This is true with any target. You need to know who is buying your product and any important information about them. If you are marketing to the affluent market, you can call us for insights from the Affluent Market Tracking Study from the AARC!

“AARC’s survey is of particular interest to the kitchen and bath marketplace as it contains a series of questions to identify which segments of the affluent market are planning to spend money remodeling in the next 24 months, how much they might spend, and where they would make most of their purchases,” says Jim Nowakowski, President of MarketNet, Division of Interline Creative Group, Inc. “Research is imperative when constructing your marketing plan, especially if your business is struggling to recover in this economy. Too many times marketing and research is dismissed, and that is detrimental to any business.”

The survey is a bi-annual survey of the wealthiest 10% of U.S. households published by AARC. The survey focuses on the 11.4 million households, as determined by The Federal Reserve Board, based on net worth.

“AARC’s surveys are conducted by direct mail on representative samples drawn at random of the precisely defined population of affluent households,” says Ron Kurtz, President of AARC. “It is consistent with the research of the Federal Reserve Board. The sample, therefore, is significantly different from other affluent and luxury market research, which is based on online surveys of panels of people who are compensated for participating in regular and frequent surveys.”

For more information on AARC go to: http://affluenceresearch.org/. For more information on how MarketNet can help your business market profitably to affluent consumers, contact us today!