Relationships, Value and Confidence: Valeria Maltoni On Smarter Marketing
Valeria Maltoni is the founder and principal of Conversation Agent,
By Hunter Boyle April 26, 2012
Valeria Maltoni is the founder and principal of Conversation Agent, where she works with organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups, and writes one of the top 30 marketing blogs worldwide as ranked by the AdAge Power150.
We caught up with Valeria between her frequent speaking gigs to talk about relationship marketing, how to grow your business with more than just tactics, the real bottom line on social media, and the sources that help fuel her thinking and insights.
Confidence takes work. There are no wrong answers — it really is early days with social and even digital media hold more exciting opportunity. What’s served up in the mainstream right now is the concept of “trust” because it’s the easy choice.
Confidence comes from making the best possible promises, delivering on them, exchanging value in return and then making better promises. Promises made in confidence and not hope is what leads to strong, resilient, and enduring organizations. Social technology helps directly with that.
Brands benefit more from confidence than trust. One way to measure the value of a brand is to measure the gap between what was promised and what was delivered. This is the brand delta. The smaller the gap, the larger the premium. But as the gap grows, the brand’s value diminishes until goods and services need to be discounted. This is valid for any size business.
It’s about giving people a way to organize their experience. Their mind opens wide. Provide a way to organize experience, and everything else flows from that.
You built one of the first online communities with Fast Company. Tell us what you learned from that and what lessons still apply to building online communities today.
At a more tactical level, I’m a big believer in the power of email to help establish a relationship of mutual interest. When you’re invited (by opt-in) into people’s inbox, that’s a valuable place, it’s the gateway to someone’s “to do” list. For example, in my premium newsletter, I publish deeper research and analysis of topics I shared in the blog’s editorial calendar that got a lot of attention. So there is a way to qualify leading content and read people’s digital body language to give them what helps them in their work.
You can re-imagine content and package it in various visual formats as well. In fact, you’ll be using topics to pull interest both with organic search and through sharing by people in social networks, and your experience and smarts to hold attention. Inbound marketing helps you lower the cost of leads as well.
Being flexible at comprehending — identifying, classifying, and putting in a model is about source code. Analyzing is about thinking to motivate doing in a more appropriate way. What people do in the end flows from why and how. So you need to operate from the motivation. What is it that people (read: customers and clients) want to do? How can you use your experience and practice to help them leverage their own assets to trade more effectively?
What Do You Think?
How are you approaching your relationship marketing? What do you doing to build or maintain confidence in your organization? Don’t be shy — share your thoughts in the comments.