You’ve seen the look — the patronizing nod when you suggest using social media in your marketing mix. You know what they are thinking. Where’s the tangible benefit? We use accepted financial measures; sales, margins, profit, and return on assets (ROA). Rather than turn with your tail between your legs, tell what you can deliver — brand equity measured by price premium.
It’s a long-term investment, so you’ll still have an uphill battle. But you will be speaking truthfully about the value of individual interaction delivering an accepted business metric — price premium.
How do social media deliver premium pricing and brand equity? By listening to your public. Everyone wants to be heard — we each have our own goals and dreams. Excellent sales and customer service people are great listeners. They know that it’s more important to listen than to talk. They understand that the best way to get someone’s attention, acceptance, and loyalty is by listening attentively. Likewise, listening drives social media and one-to-one marketing. They have the added benefits of automating and recording a lot of the listening function as well as radically extending the reach of each person in your organization. The result is that you can clearly demonstrate to each person that you have heard and understand his or her goals and dreams — repeatedly, individually, personally.
Will people invest more in themselves if they feel that they have been heard? Yes, 32% more according to Pam Popp, CEO at J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services. She was recently quoted in Pensions & Investments saying that, “plan participants of client sponsors that have adopted J.P. Morgan’s Audience of One — an educational program on retirement saving for participants — contribute, on average, 32% more than those who haven’t.” The Audience of One program is a one-to-one approach of listening, recording, and responding to customers about their individual retirement goals and dreams. It personalizes and humanizes the investment process. The result is a 32% increase in share of wallet. That kind of business driver justifies a price premium.
There’s no question that social media and one-to-one client communications in the financial sector pose potential problems in the form of risk and compliance. But the rewards far outweigh the risks and the risks can be controlled. The risk that cannot be controlled and that poses the greatest threat is to do nothing and miss the opportunity.