Worlds Without Maps

Why is social media of interest to businesses right now? The answer is simple: it’s what the people are doing. Who benefits the most from connecting with people via these channels? Companies who adapt to the new territory, who use the new tools accordingly, and who strive for human connections over traditional marketing capture/conversion. The trick of it all? This is a world without maps. Your old maps don’t work. This is a space where new ideas often trump the old, and where purpose/intent matter more than tradition.

You’re New Here

In business, we are all new again. All the major car companies can’t assume anything about their customers. Banks aren’t guaranteed to be there forever. Cornerstone institutions are rolling up, sailing away, moving into new modes that don’t benefit us any more. We can’t count on anything. Oh, and on the business side, your customers are losing jobs, merging, consolidating, changing the rules.

Accept that you’re new here. What do you need? You need eyes, ears, intuition, intent, and anthropology.

Your Eyes And Ears

Listening tools abound. You can now see people’s intentions writ large on these various social networks. No, not everyone is out there voicing their opinions, but you can start with the people who are. Use the searching tools to see what people are saying on blogs, on Twitter, on Facebook. Listen around in forums. Google yourself blue. And then process this.

Listening is deafness if you do nothing with it.

Intuition

Want to change the world? Ask thousands of questions. Ask the same handful of questions thousands of times. Ask yourself, “How can I help my customers during these tough times?” Toyota is giving free maintenance for two years as a way to win back sales and customers. It’s a solution that will benefit both sides of the equation. How is your bank treating you during these economic woes? What have you said about it? What will you do?

Intuition about what others need is a powerful tool in this world without maps.

Intent

Do you really care about your customers/prospects? If not, it will show. Do you value them? Show it. Demonstrate it with intent. Make decisions that don’t always benefit you as much as they do the customer. You don’t have to sink the business, but just by showing more intentions to the positive of your customers, you’ll win more opportunity.

What do your actions say about your intent?

Anthropology

You’re looking to better understand the social and cultural development of humans. It’s all we have left, because all the history we had attached to us before has shaken itself off, or it’s clinging to our backs like a prison.

Why are we sending kids to schools that train them to be industrial cogs? What are we doing to help them rebel? How are we reshaping the world, now that the unit of measure is knowledge/information? In a world where we don’t all have to work side by side in a factory, why are we building so many offices?

If you dig into this area, if you start looking for new trends, whispers of what curves are coming next, you see the big stuff. You see the boomer generation growing huge. You see India taking over the creative side of the stick to go along with their dominance of engineering and process management. You see shifts in who’s spending, where we’re paying attention, and more.

This one’s the biggest to consider in that world without maps. Because we need to understand the people more than we need to understand the systems. If you’re trying to re-rig your marketing tech to account for these new territories, you’re wasting time by not starting with understanding the shifts in what humans want/need/are moving towards.

Is This Crazy Talk?

Anyone who just nodded yes, I’ll see you a few years from now and we can talk more. Those of you who get a glimpse of this, who see that we’ve got a new opportunity to really take meaningful action, let’s work in that direction.

What’s your first move? What have you already been doing? What will you do next?

Without maps, where will the lay of the land take you?

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