First, some backstory.
A lot of people think that I tend to stray away from really passionate opinions on ye olde blog because I’m super nice and like to leave room for conversation. In fact, this is 100% false. I am one of the most evil people around and almost everything I do is self-serving. Now, in this particular case, what I garner from failing to put myself 100% behind any concept is some insurance for the future. If I leave air in the conversation and room for doubt, that means that I can come back later and say, “Woops, I was wrong.” It’s like when I was a kid and I insisted I hated yams. Then I actually ate one with brown sugar and butter and I realized I really like brown sugar and butter on yams. That was a tough one to eat crow about, but that took years. Now this here thing, well, it’s only been a week between mind-changes.
Remind me not to go into politics.
Ehem, so, back to the story. I am reading Lou Imbriano’s masterpiece, Winning the Customer. It is truly masterful. You should go read it. And I’m saying that having not quite reached the halfway point, so you know it’s good. Anyway, Lou is talking in this particular section about breaking down your database so that you can a) build relationships and b) get your spenders to become big spenders. These both sound like things that businesses would gravitate towards naturally, but then you’d also think businesses would gravitate away from embezzling and insider trading. You just never know.
As I’m reading this chapter, I’m starting to get really excited. It’s really not about general demographics anymore, right? Saying that you’re targeting “Males ages 17-54” is not really what marketing is about anymore, or at least it doesn’t have to be (sidenote, yes, this is what I get excited about on Friday nights. Leave me alone!). Then I started thinking about social media, and my brain took an unnatural leap right towards Google Plus. Lou is talking about how to make your big spenders feel really special, how to make your not as big spenders want to spend more, and how to get people who may not know you get to talking about you. Each of those groups, and many besides, require different kinds of messaging. Just like you can do via Google Plus Circles.
A sidenote to my sidenote about the sidebar
Those of you who loyally (or crazily) come to my site often may recall that a few days ago we were talking about Google Plus for business. I believe I said something along the lines of, “My trepidation about Google Plus for businesses comes out of two major channels of thinking.” That is in stark contrast to what Chris Brogan and other folks (some of whom commented on that post) have been saying about the business potential on Google Plus. But I wasn’t seeing it.
Now, my little marketing hamster in my brain is running full tilt. I’m thinking kinda like this: Let’s say you get your “elite” customers into a circle on Google Plus. Once a week, or once a month, you post to just that circle saying that you are sponsoring a special event that only they are invited to. Now, another circle could be people who visit your website via a specific promotion. Maybe that’s a “warm leads” circle. The list of circles could be dizzying, in fact.
Kind of cool, right? And it’s right there looking at me in the face saying, “HELOOOOOO!” But it took Lou Imbriano’s totally unrelated to Google Plus book to get me to see it. Weird, huh?
I’m not *just* eating crow though
I still think that dividing people up into these circles is something that would be super duper time-consuming. And how do you know for sure what people can or can’t see in Google Land? I still find that confusing. And how do you move someone from the “leads” circle into the “elite” circle? That’s a lot of detail. But I guess it’s not that far different from what people have done with rolodexes and email databases and stuff like that, right?
The moral of this story, of course, is not really 100% about Lou, Chris, Lou’s book (read it), or Google Plus. What I really want to tell you is that even here in the online world, it’s okay to change your mind about things. It’s okay to evolve. Just, like, I dunno. Don’t be a jerk about it! Ya know?
Are you smelling what I’m cookin’ here? Or am I cooking up a big casserole of crazy? You tell me!
Image by Roger Kirby. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/theswedish