“Who loves ya baby?”
In the beginning, a business starts with an idea. And if you’re a typical entrepreneur, you develop a love for what you do that drives you on.
For example, maybe someone you know can’t unflutenate their wasteng. Everyone knows a flutenated wasteng is bad news. It causes pain for those afflicted by it, and so you work to develop a process that unfluenates wastengs to a stellar degree. Your process genuinely is the “quick and easy” way to unflutenate wastengs.
In the midst of the time and energy that you put into developing this process, you develop a real love for it. And you can’t wait to tell the world what your new process will do for them.
This is where content marketing comes in.
For a time, your first customers are your first love. And they feel the love, to be sure. You can’t wait to be with them, and they can’t wait for you to come around. They subscribe to your materials, and refresh their inboxes constantly while they wait for news of your next offering.
But then, over time, a business starts to take its customers for granted. Maybe the first generation of entrepreneurs, who loved the business, move on, or pass away, and another generation of leadership comes in and changes things; later, yet a third generation comes in and loses all memory of the first love that drove the business on.
This would be bad news indeed.
But it gets worse. The third generation of leadership, who has not only lost all love, but has lost all memory of the love, hires some high-powered sales and marketing executives to figure things out. These individuals may be proficient, but they don’t have the love for the customers that drives them on. They don’t have the love for your process.
Two things are needed for Love
According to Jack Welch, former CEO of GE and now globe-trotting business guru, the most important thing you can have in business is “authenticity”.
The most powerful thing you can do is, well, be real. As in not phony. As in grappling, sweating, laughing, and caring. As in authentic.
That works in real life, but of course, when you talk about search engine optimization (SEO), it seems as if Google is looking for that sort of genuineness in its current search algorithms.
A second concept was articulated by Steve Jobs in this 1993 Wired interview:
To design something really well, you have to “get it” You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that.
What does grok mean? According to Wikipedia, the science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein originally coined the term grok in his 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land as a Martian word that could not be defined in Earthling terms.
Quoting the novel:
Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science…
To return to our example above, you and your customers share the ailments associated with fluenated wastengs, and you work with all your might unflutenate them. You have more than empathy for such sufferers. You love them.
The real joy is when customers love you back: advocacy is considered to be the Holy Grail of social media. Customer advocacy can really help you multiply the return on your efforts. It takes all of the above to a new audience and leads to word-of-mouth praise, online and offline.