I read this book, Marketing in the Groundswell by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff, some time ago. Both authors of the book are/were from Forrester Research, a technology and market research company. The main thought behind ‘groundswell marketing’ is that traditional marketing is more of shouting. A typical traditional marketing is putting up an tri-media advertisement — TV ads, radio ads, newspaper/magazine/billboard ads. Tri-media advertisements are usually a form of shouting, a one-way marketing. After the ads are out, the way companies can measure the effectiveness of their marketing is based on the sales figure. They have not much way to know the feedback of the people.
With groundswell marketing, this is the opposite of shouting. Groundswell marketing puts emphasis on listening to the ground — the people, the consumers, or simply the audience. This strategy is made easier because of the internet technology. Consumers/people now have ways to express their opinion or give a feedback about a product through blogs, social networking sites, twitter or any micro-blogging platform, online forums/community boards. And, this is a very powerful ‘phenomenon’ for the reason that people tends to listen more and influenced by other consumers/friend/real people than by the shouting ads.
Right now, if a consumer wants to buy a new mobile phone, he will mostly go to google and search for mobile phones or he will put a blog or tweet or post a status update in his facebook that he is in the look out for a new mobile phone. Now, if you are a small mobile shop owner, you can track these tweets/blogs/shoutouts and communicate (not necessarily sell right away) directly to that person.It is a ‘cheap’ way of doing marketing.
To do ‘groundswell marketing,’ you can always use google, search in twitter or social networking websites or blogcatalogs. Easy. But would it not be much easier if you can just go to one website and give you all search results in one page from different social networking sites and content sharing sites? So here comes CONVOFLOW by Proudcloud, a Web 2.0 technology solutions provider here in Philippines. The main core team of Proudcloud is composed of: Jay Fajardo (CEO), Tony Abello (CFO), Robert Madamba, and Alex Rodriguez. They are the same people behind RoofCamp which is about encouraging local start-up experience.
Back to CONVOFLOW, it is a nifty web-based application that helps you search from different social media platforms in one page. As quoted from ProudCloud website,
“Convoflow is a real-time search engine that harvests from social media content to provide a fresher set of information as an alternative to the traditional archival content gleaned from standard search engines. This is particularly important as the velocity of information on the web increases and its relevance is determined by social capital.”
This will not only be helpful for social media people or enthusiast. It can be a big help to businesses or any person who has an interest for a particular topic or subject. For example with Smart Philippines, they now have a twitter account, SMARTCares. The team behind SMARTCares can then use CONVOFLOW to track blogs, conversations related to their products on one page via CONVOFLOW. Below is an example of search result for keywords ‘Smart bro.’
At a first glance of the CONVOFLOW ‘harvests,’ SMARTCares can easily find who are having a bad time with Smart Bro, and who are also happy. They way CONVOFLOW organize the search results by social media platform (Twitter, Friendfeed, BlogCatalog, Digg, Youtube, Flickr) makes it easy for the users to pick up the social media he wants to prioritize. For example, I just want to know what the people are talking about my product on twitter. I go to the twitter area, click on it — you can then scroll down/up the tweets by clicking on the arrow at the bottom or you can use your up and down arrow keys for an easier scrolling — sweet huh!
Can you feel the power of this tool? At one glance, you know who is frustrated with your product so you can easily talk to them and appease them. People are actually easy to please. Just listen sincerely to their rant and be honest with the real situation, and most likely they will be happy with the sincere attention. They might even tell their other frustrated friends about the explanation you provided them, and so another irate customer appeased, and so on. And, for those people happily tweeting or blogging about your product, you can give them a quick ‘thank you’ message or maybe you can give them information about upcoming events, and I am sure they would be glad to broadcast it on their blog, twitter and others.
If you have a small business going on and you have not much money to put up a marketing team or an ad for it, this is a cheap way of getting customers. For example, you have a ‘planner’ business, you can search for ‘starbucks planner’ since it is the ‘in’ thing now. So usually people who will tweet about starbucks planner are mostly fond of planners. There, CONVOFLOW, gives you potential customers in an instant. Of course, you do not sell to them right away. You can try to engage with them in conversation, and look for the perfect timing on how you can make them get interested with your product.
I have not much idea about UI or usability, but it serves the purpose without much drama — simple and functional. But I wish it has a way to filter tweets by country/region, and also I wish it could provide older results.
Convoflow is a good start to get connected to the real people.