Monday, August 30, 2010

Services Marketing & Social Media

While it can be argued that IT Services Organizations in the current Context of highly competitive environment and extensive cost pressures tend to lean more and more towards products based philosophy . Every services organization in the quest of adding more and more value tend to focus on building packaged service offerings which at times could be actual intellectual property (IP), but most times will be nice packaging of the conventional services creating a perception of it being a IP. Many a time the recipient of the services might not be mature enough and in such cases , the neatly gift packed service offerings will be passed of as frame works , close to an IP etc.
Quintessentially Services Organizations are "People Based" Organizations and hence the quality of the value zone being created between the Service recipient and the delivery provider is highly dependent on the "ingrained DNA" of the organization. A mature recipient will be able to see through a superficial attempt or just a PR focused perception creation.
Could GE be known for Six Sigma with it out it being ingrained into every business and every part of GE ??
Leave alone the conventional marketing mechanisms being practiced in Services oriented organizations, which include targeted marketing , focus on creating one on one relationships , building mindshare , wallet share etc . Tectonic shifts are occurring in the age of Social media , which has the power to either RESET , RECREATE or "Destroy" the fallacies of the so called high level thinkers who are intent on only creating a perception and they are hardly giving any emphasis on the actual implementation and execution of the culture you want the organization to espouse. The execution and implementation of this in a "People based" Services organizations is the toughest and hardly any CEO can claim that he is close to perfection .
An example i came across was to do with Starbucks of whom i am a very Loyal fan with at least one visit per day to any of the establishments . It is a well know fact that Starbucks as a organization after the string of success it has enjoyed is going through trying times with the state of the economy and also the onslaught and proliferation of the McDonald cheaper premium coffee brand . Howard Schultz who has returned as the CEO and in his analysis of the organization brand , in his second stint talks about how the bloggers , twitterers and face bookies put holes in the brand equity of Starbucks which was carefully cultivated over decades of handwork.

A simple sensational unfounded story on "dipper well leaks" which claimed that Starbucks was insensitive and was wasting millions of liters of freshwater which had all of the conservationists up in arms . This essentially happened courtesy a huge viral campaign launched on the Social media.
Services industry is all about "People" and Social media is all about "People in Communities" which can dramatically amplify the effects both positively and negatively about the perception you are trying to build . A warning to all the so called "high level" thinkers, focus on controlling the negative and give emphasis on execution and implementation of the culture you want the organization to be known for.

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