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Recommend This!: Delivering Digital Experiences that People Want to Share Hardcover – February 10, 2014
From the Author
Here's a nice write up from our friends at Acquia
From the Inside Flap
Practical, sound advice for anyone who wants to stop shoving messages down an audiences throat and start actively engaging with them - a far, far, more effective way to market. --Steve Duplessie, Founder and Sr. Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group
Written in a totally usable style, and designed for quick referencing, Recommend This! should become part of the canon for 21st century marketers grappling with the new centrality of relationships in how we sell, market and support our customers.--Brad O'Neill, CEO, TechValidate
Big Data makes it possible to create personalized online interactions, and now Recommend This! shows us how to use that power to fully engage every visitor. Read This Book! --Chris Lynch, Partner, Atlas Ventures
As an early stage investor, I see intense competition across a lot of markets every day. Companies need a way to differentiate and it's hard to do it on products. Jason and Kirby have deftly explained the only way to truly differentiate is through relationships, and they have provided a roadmap to help companies start focusing on building them. -- Will Stewart, General Partner, Rogers Venture Partners
Connections, relationships, and insight - we all need it. JT and Kirby have fundamentally reminded us of the critical need to meet people where they are - customers, friends, loved ones, neighbors - each provides us with the opportunity to connect in a genuine way. Technology becomes the powerful enabler, but without a roadmap we will never capitalize on our potential. JT and Kirby offer a pragmatic, solutions oriented approach to help us drive business and personal relationships. Story after story demonstrates that technology is not just about efficiency, it's about relationships. --Jane Shannon and Sandy Brisentine, MyExecutiveSolutions
The daily increase in online noise makes connecting with digital audiences ever more difficult. Recommend This! offers a thoughtful hands-on approach to breaking through the noise, to make and optimize online relationships. --Dr. Ellen Lary, former VP and GM, Xiotech
Digital experience is how we now create and manage relationships. Recommend This! is a breakthrough - not only offering a new method for measuring the value of relationship networks, but offering a practical guide to optimizing that value. --Michael Levinger, President and CEO, Digital Collaboration Solutions
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What follows is an entertaining and useful guide to employing storytelling, content and social media to create compelling customer experiences on a large scale. The book transitions adroitly from the theories of neuroscience, to practical steps, offering a wealth of knowledge to meet this challenge. For marketers hoping to attain the holy grail of customer loyalty and intimacy in an era of brand commoditization, this is an invaluable book.
This book surprised me, pleasantly, by adding new ideas and concepts about the digital experience in every chapter. It's like the authors did a reboot after every chapter -- and then launched into a new idea, or technique, or approach. There's enough material in here for a couple of standard business/technology books. It really covers "digital experience" from every conceivable angle.
Another thing I liked about this book -- it's nearly future-proof in that the authors are careful to discuss concepts in a way that don't tie them to specific technologies or platforms. So the ideas are bigger than just "mobile strategy," for example. It's almost as if they are promoting a process that will get you thinking about the digital experience in a way that allows you to incorporate the inevitable new technologies that are coming down the road.
And in the relationship economy—they coin the term "relawatts" to measure it—the true currency is attention.
Yet, it's challenging to grab attention when we have access to—and use—a nearly infinite number of channels, and have limitless numbers of contacts. In the old days, people researching a major purchase might have consulted an issue of Consumer Reports; now, they go on the Web and read product reviews, talk to their friends on social media, pass through Google a bunch of times, and probably finish with a trip to the company's own site (or Facebook page)—and they could be doing this from any mix of desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and phones, sometimes simultaneously. It's a nonlinear pattern that looks random. And you have to engage people on these outside sites—but the goal of your interactions on social media should be to bring the visitor over to your own website, where you can control the process and mine the data.
Meanwhile, the old Dunbar rule about people managing about 150 connections is totally out the window. We might have thousands of people we're connected to, but those connections are far shallower than in the past.
And they point out that a relationship has to be two-way, if the prospect or customer wants that. Which means customers and prospects have to have ways to interact with you, even if they're just visiting a website or downloading a white paper. However, not every prospect wants to be interacted with, and smart businesses allow users to stay anonymous. Google, for instance, is based on a pure (non-monetary) transaction. The visitor is "just looking"; Google provides the desired information, which the visitor clicks on. Google does build more of a relationship with its real customers, such as its advertisers—but not necessarily with the causal visitor seeking information.
Thibeault and Wadsworth suggest that the way to solve all of this is by becoming a thought-leader, and they see four key mindset shifts that marketers must make: from firing messages at prospects to talking to (I'd say with) them; from transaction to engagement; from sales-oriented to helping-oriented, and from just-another-vendor to highly credible, trusted information source.
Forget about push-style selling, sales funnels, and such. Become an expert curator. Provide information, solve problems, and yes, tell stories—not so much about the brand, but about how its customers solved their problems by using the brand (a crucial distinction).
And let customers and prospects talk not just to the marketing staff, but to the product experts--including other customers. They see that two-way communication as conveying a major advantage to the digital world. When active users comment on your product, or even on your white paper, they become part of the curator world, and have elevated themselves beyond mere transactional interaction; they feel invested in your stuff.
But companies can go farther, and harness available technology to provide a first-class user experience. Thibeault and Wadsworth believe in websites that respond differently not just in adjusting to and optimizing for the users platform (what browser, what device), but in the content of the responses to visitor queries. Taking it even further, companies can start and nurture their own online communities. A well-run community, Thibeault and Wadsworth say, can be a powerful competitive advantage.