I’m not a huge fan of the social media book craze. They’re a dime a dozen. Go check out the marketing section at Barnes & Noble sometime. There are literally hundreds of books telling you all you need to know about digital marketing from content strategy to SEO to how to “do” Facebook.
And most are from authors I’ve never even heard of. Not that I know everyone–far from it. But, the beauty and the drawback of the publishing industry now is that everyone’s an author. And, just maybe that shouldn’t be the case.
Anyway, as a result of this social media book overload, I tend to avoid most of these books. I’ve read a handful over the years: Lee Odden’s Optimize comes to mind as one I liked. But overall, I tend to think most are regurgitated content I’ve already read on the web, or repurposed blog content.
Enter Jay Baer’s new Youtility book. He was gracious enough to give me an advanced copy. I devoured it in two days.
Why read Jay’s book and not others? A few reasons:
1: Jay’s a great writer. I’ve been a big fan of Jay’s blog for years (even though I’d love to see him write more lately). Partly because he’s a smart guy. But partly because he’s also a great writer.
2: The concept of the book resonated with me. So many companies are focusing on using social media to sell. And then here comes Jay talking about companies using social and digital tools to HELP. I’ve always loved that approach, so I was immediately interested in Jay’s book.
3. Stats to back up his thinking. Since I’ve been a reader of Jay’s blog for years, I knew he’d definitely be backing up his opinions with good, old-fashioned research. No willy-nilly opinions here.
So, how was the book, you say? Here are six quotes I think sum up Youtility to a tee:
“In 2010, shoppers needed 5.3 sources of information before making a purchase decision. In 2011, just one year later, shoppers needed 10.4 sources before making a purchase decision.”
Jay talks about the “zero moment of truth” here and how people are accessing more points of information before buying simply because they can. So, the question becomes: What is YOUR company doing to make sure your customers have the information they need before making a decision? Do you know what info they’re accessing? Do you know HOW they’re accessing it?
“Your industry isn’t relevant. What matters is that other companies are embracing Youtility, and, in doing, they are changing the expectations of your customers, whether you like it or not.”
Love this quote because, much like Jay, I hear this same refrain from potential clients on a fairly regular basis. “That’s not relevant in our industry.” “No one does that in our industry.” It doesn’t really matter that no one in health care is providing customer service via Twitter because Comcast changed that game back when they started doing it in 2008.
For decades, the key question has been “how valuable is the brand?” The key question moving forward is “how valuable are your apps?”
I’m not sure I’m completely on board with the “app-ification” of the Web, but there’s little doubt that it is going to play a might big part in the future of online marketing. I think about Target’s new Cartwheel tool. Right now, it’s very clunky, mostly because they DON’T have an app and you have to go through the web on your phone to access the darn thing. The app-ification of marketing might be closer than I think…
“You have to understand not just what your customers need, but how and where they prefer to access information.”
I though this was a key quote to the entire book. It’s not enough simply to know what your customers need in terms of Youtility. You also need to know how they want to get to that info (on their smartphone, on the run, at home on the couch, etc.) I agree with Jay–too many companies stop after answering the first question. You can’t forget about that second part.
“We need to cross the line from enablement to encouragement.” — Michael Brenner, SAP
For anyone that works in social/digital within a big company, this quote should resonate big time. Right now, for the lion’s share of organizations, we’re in the “enablement” era, as Brenner’s quote points out. The marketing and PR departments are helping identify and push internal experts to create content and participate online. Where we need to get to is that “encouragement” phase where these folks are not only doing creating/participating on their own–they’re encouraging peers to do the same without even asking.
“Forms are the enemy of spread.” — Joe Chernov, Kinvey
Another great quote that really points out another key area many companies struggle with. In the rush to grab leads on the front end, many companies are too forceful. They ask for too much up front. Phone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses. I’m not saying you don’t ask for this information, but I tend to agree with Baer here, too. If your company’s Youtility is strong enough, these customers will come back and reach out to you for more information. The lesson: Put more effort/resources into your Youtility, use fewer forms on the front end and work to meet more customers at that zero moment of truth.
Have you read the book yet? What did you think?