I have been reading a book recently entitled “The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion,” by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison. The book shows how converging technology has been a massive disruptor of long-held business models, organizational models, and modes of learning; and how it has facilitated new opportunities in each area, particularly through the power of digital communications tools.
The authors’ advocate using the power of passion, networking, and immersing oneself in flows of knowledge (rather than possessing a fixed body of knowledge) as means to move forward more rapidly and smartly in a rapidly changing world.
As a result of reading the book, I have started following their insights through blogs and other outlets such as YouTube. I was particularly struck by a recent blogpost by John Hagel III about changes for marketing created by the “pull” environment so effectively described in the book.
This post, entitled “Mastering New Marketing Perspectives,” describes the old model as one in which marketers tried to create “walled gardens” to hold relationships with clients or customers. That approach meant that businesses tried deliberately to isolate customers and make the act of change to other vendors difficult, whiile continually bombarding them with messaging whenever/wherever the customers could be found.
In Hagel’s view this model is increasingly ineffective. Instead he advocates a model of “collaborative marketing” defined by him in terms of “three A’s.” He suggests using incentives to attract potential clients or customer and notes that being helpful and engaging to these same people is the best possible way to attract them in the first place.
To do so means that one must acquire a deep understanding of the various ways someone might use a product or service, which leads to the concept of working with customers to “co-create” such products or services. Finally, he recommends that one use social networking tools and word-of-mouth to mobilize third parties, including other customers, to engage in interactions with your clients/customers on your behalf that they would perceive as valuable and beneficial.
My summary is only skimming the surface, and I encourage you to read it for yourself. I think it is essential reading as one considers new approaches to reaching out to potential clients.