I was just reading TechMeme and saw that Jeremiah Owyang has a great post on the five questions that companies ask about social media.
I have a sixth one: “how will doing this help my sales?”
How do I know that? A multi-billion-dollar-a-year company just asked me that.
Yeah, that’s similar to #2 on Jeremiah’s list, but gets much more directly to the point.
Of course, this is a question that isn’t answerable. Even if you think you can answer it, this is “code” for a way to tell the person asking to please go away and don’t come back.
Why do I say that?
Because there’s no way to prove that ANYTHING a business does will lead to more sales.
Even those “pay per click” ads on Google aren’t guaranteed to increase sales.
Quick, name one thing that’s GUARANTEED to increase sales at any company. Any one that you could come up with I could say “um, no” to if I wanted to.
And, anyway, companies do things that aren’t directly tied to sales all the time.
How about those press releases that the same big company just sent me. The speeches at conferences that this big company does all the time. The sign on the side of their Silicon Valley office. Does that increase sales? Cost a lot of money.
How about the security equipment that you have to pass through in its lobby. Did that increase sales?
How about the CEO’s nice windows in his office? Did those increase sales?
Ahh, but I do like hearing this form of no. It makes my creative juices run and they are giving us a chance with another meeting, which is better than hearing “hell no, now get out of my office.”
How do I answer this? Well, why did a guy who is selling $50 million a year in wine take half a year away from his business to learn to do this? He told me that it cost his business $24,000 per day that he was away in lost sales. Ask him today about the impact of that investment on his business and he sure is smiling a lot lately. But, can he prove that it increased sales? Why, yes he can, but then he took the time to do it and not say “I’ll only do this if it increases sales.”
How would you answer that question?
Best answer left here gets a new Seagate/Maxtor 160 GB BlackArmor hard drive. Encrypts all your stuff so if it gets stolen no one can break into it.