October 15, 2008

Not Another Web 2.0 Post!

If you're not sick of the (mis)use of that term by now, then you're probably not working with the Web much!  So, I'll try to avoid the term, and go with what made the concept so wildly successful for so many companies like MySpace, Facebook, and the like.

Peppers and Rogers, a one-to-one marketing consulting organization, said it well:

"Today, marketing must focus on co-creating experiences that engage and entangle consumers – on their terms."

tangle_museum_chrome_111_50p That is a powerful word to use about customers: entangle. But it really is what we want. Our brand should be so compelling that they just can't let go. They are constantly pulled back in because they feel so compelled. When they are entangled, they also tell all their friends. And remember, "friends" in the on-line world is many times more powerful than the off-line world!

The phrase "co-create" should also be a little unnerving. In higher education, why would you let that high school student or college freshman put information on your web site? Because it has to be on "their terms." They are coming to your web site to have their needs taken care of.

According to the Noel-Levitz E-Expectations study, those needs include:

  • Personalization
  • Campus Visit Request Form
  • Engage (IM) with Admissions
  • Email Current Students and Faculty
  • Virtual Tours
  • Blogs
  • Profiles of Students and Faculty
  • Financial Need Estimator
  • Online Application

Those are just the basics - the entry price for playing. We all know about the Millennials and their need for entertainment, interaction, and social engagement. We also have to deal with their helicopter parents' needs as well. In the coming weeks we'll review each of these expectations as well as several other ideas to "engage and entangle."

October 1, 2008

Engagement vs. Hog Feeding

I had the pleasure of hearing Al Switzler, co-author of Crucial Conversations, give a speech a few weeks ago. He described an interesting model of human behavior that was enlightening and even a bit disturbing.

We all need to have those conversations that we have been avoiding, whether it be with a spouse, child, boss or staff member. But HOW we have that conversation is, well, crucial.

What happens when we continue to avoid those conversations? Al told the story of a saw mill that his team visited a while ago to work with their management team. Their productivity had been decreasing of late, and they needed to understand how they, as managers, could get things back on track. Well, I'll let his co-author tell the story:

Feed the Hog.flv_000268455 Feeding the Hog

How many of your teammates are "feeding the hog", instead of being productive? According to a recent study from BlessingWhite, fewer than 1 in 3 North American employees are fully engaged. What's much worse is that 19 percent are actually disengaged.

How do you engage your team? Do they feel a sense of purpose? Or do you squash their ideas because they aren't your own? Have you approached that team member who isn't pulling his/her weight? Engaged employees contribute to your success, and they stay longer in the company. Help them turn off the hog and get their unique abilities and strengths put to work. Everyone really does want to contribute, but they are individuals who don't all think the same way. They have unique ideas and ways to do their job. I always have to remember: they aren't the same as me.

And thank God for that!