conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Medtech Using Social Media #5: Winning the Lottery

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Our conversations help individuals lead groups forward.

Our conversations help individuals lead groups forward.

Working on a client’s factory floor yesterday, I heard a guy describe how his troubles would be over if only he won the lottery. It’s a common enough thing to say and I’m sure we all think it from time to time. I happen to think winning the lottery would be more like trading one set of problems for another. Without the life disciplines that build on any skill (including making money), without a bit of thankfulness, suddenly receiving lots of money may not change all that much about a person’s life. Maybe for the moment more expensive toys enter the picture. But without discipline, the money eventually runs out and even larger debts take their place.

In marketing communication, just like in every other area of life, we search for the perfect tool that will solve everything. The perfect strategy of engagement. The perfect ad or the perfect media buy. The perfect social media tool. But deep-down we all know that perfect tools don’t exist. Or perhaps the perfect tool for the job does exist, but it gets corrupted when interacting with us.

The vision for engagement using these new social media tools is a vision for engaged contact with a group of people who believe in what you are talking about because you are talking about what they believe in. The vision is precisely not sharpening the perfect tool for the perfect kill (that is, the perfect sale, or the perfect implantation of our message in some consumer’s brain along with the instruction to “Buy!”). And even though lots of folks are—for the moment—listening to the social media channels, with Twitter and Facebook making headline news daily, newer channels will arise and suck away attention. The enduring lesson is that we all do better when we talk things through—no matter what technology enables that talk.

The equivalent to winning the lottery for a medical device firm using social media is a group of committed friends, colleagues and fellow-travelers making a journey together. It is a group where questions are shared as freely as answers. It is a collection of conversations where your brand is given legs and flesh as the brand promise works its way out through conversation after conversation. Winning the lottery is about building a fierce loyalty along the way.


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  1. […] more like learning to be a friend again. I described the equivalent of “winning the lottery” in a dialogue-based medical device marketing context, but Seth Godin takes the next step with […]

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