THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Collection, Connection and Engagement

Collection is about collecting names, addresses, smartphone numbers, email addresses and social media links. Data. Any individual or organisation can collect data. Many make it a bribe. Most often, if I want “free wifi” I have to deposit my data. To get a free download – data (even I do that). When you check in at a hotel – data. You can buy data – millions/billions of addresses at the drop of a hat – legally or otherwise. Data is just a numbers game for corporations with big pockets and, sometimes, no passion. Direct marketeers will tell you that 0.25% (that’s 1 in 400) will respond to pretty much anything. You can sell Readers Digest subscriptions that way, on Amazon a £19.00 home whitening kit. You can create customers, not clients. Collecting data will never create lifetime value. Connection. Connection is about building a tribe of followers. People who want to hear about your BIG IDEA. Your BIG IDEA can be about a product, a service, a philosophy, a belief, a way of doing and/or being. Its BIG because it defies the status quo. Its an IDEA because you are passionately committed to making it happen in the world. It attracts followers because it is relevant to them, to what they want to have better in their lives. If you are a prophet, you originated the BIG IDEA. If you are a disciple, you learned about the BIG IDEA, believe it and want to spread it across your world. The money is secondary, the IDEA is what matters.

That’s where Colin Campbell’s PRETHICS sits (if you don’t know what I mean, find out).

People and organisations with BIG IDEAS that genuinely create better lives for others, tend to make plenty enough money. Engagement. Engagement is what happens when you are IN A RELEVANT CONVERSATION with someone THAT ALLOWS YOUR BIG IDEA to help them.

  1. if I write this blog post with 4,000 followers who don’t read it, I’m talking to myself – I collected

  2. if I write this blog post and 40% of my followers open and read it but nobody responds – I’m connected

  3. if I write this blog post, 40% of my followers open and read it and 10% of them post a response, ask me a question, forward it to a friend (because it makes a difference to them) – I’m engaged

If you want your business to grow, you have to:

  1. Have a BIG IDEA that positively differentiates you from the competition (you are the prophet or the disciple);

  2. Collect data – all day, every day (perhaps as a bribe);

  3. Connect regularly to remind your followers of your BIG IDEA, what it is, how it appears in the world, how it had made a difference – parables, case studies, testimonials;

  4. Engage with your followers – generate environments in which you can directly relate your BIG IDEA to their own lives. Hold a conversation. Be Bold, Outrageous and Provocative. Attack the status quo. Be Marmite Anoop!

Marketing is described by Gerber as “lead generation, selling as “lead conversion”. In the connected economy, all marketing and selling is predicated by: collection – connection – engagement. That’s my BIG IDEA for today.

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