Peeling Away The Layers

By nature, I am an analytical person. Growing up, I was that kid in class that was constantly raising his hand, asking more questions and wanting to understand why. I haven’t changed.

Lee Odden of TopRank (a personal favorite blog), wrote a great article this week titled, Why Do So Many Companies Suck at Social Media?

It really got me thinking. It brought back to mind a wonderful metaphor I learned over 10 years ago during Franklin Covey’s Helping Clients Succeed™ Consultative Sales Training program. It goes something like this.

In helping clients, before providing a solution, you need to discover the core of the problem. It’s typically something that is most shielded from view or not yet revealed (the core). As you peeling away each layer (by continually asking, “Why?”), you learn each of the surface issues until ultimately you are led to the deeper truth revealed at the core. The root cause of the problem.

In Lee’s article, Why Do So Many Companies Suck at Social Media?, he identified a number of the issues (layers of the onion):

  • Part of the problem is that most companies are not inherently “social” to begin with.
  • Marketing on the social web is less about the tradition of packaging and distributing information.
  • Companies that are trying to understand how the social web can work for them are looking for specific formulas.
  • Copy cat techniques don’t always prove successful, “Cisco’s attempt to leverage their take on the Old Spice campaign didn’t work so well(6,900 views). However, Brigham Young University did a parody of the Old Spice campaign and nailed it (1.8 million views).

And Lee touched on what I see as the deeper truth (the core) in this statement, “Companies need to figure out what works best for the social channels, media and content that best resonates with their customers.”

But I think it can be said more simply. The core of this onion is:

Most B2B companies don’t know their customers. Period.

Let’s be honest, they don’t, at least not at the level necessary to get and keep their customer’s attention and stand out. But to me, that is ok, it’s great actually. Because you can’t fix something until you first understand what the real problem is (the core).

That’s our focus at Make Good Media. Helping you through the process of intimately learning your customers and developing strategies to effectively reach them in all the channels they consume media, including the social web.

Tell me what you think. Do you agree me with me? Is that the root of the problem?

Jeremy Victor

Here are some helpful resources to begin the process of really getting to know your customers:

Humanize Your Marketing With Buyer Personas
Buyer Personas: Where (and How!) to Start

Photocredit: Genbug – Flickr Creative Commons

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