Tuesday, August 15, 2006

You want my company to start blogging? How do I make money off that?

From my comment to Roy Young's post on Daily Fix about whether CMOs should be blogging:
Do I think that the same person/title in every organization should be blogging? No. Do I think every organization should encourage their employees to blog? Yes.

The problem is, when a company is presented with blogging, their first question usually is 'yes, but how do you MAKE MONEY off that?'. Until you can quantify the process and show CEOs a figure on a balance sheet that says 'last quarter we had X number of dollars in increased sales for every blog post', then most companies don't see the need for blogging.

That's not how blogging works. It works by letting companies and their customers BETTER UNDERSTAND each other. Blogging can also change a company's entire culture. Just the other day I ran across a blogger from Sweden who was 'outted' as a blogger by a member of the company's marketing department. Since that time, the entire marketing department has started turning to her to teach them about blogging and social media, and now they are trying to get the company's CEO to start blogging. A few days ago no one in the company was publically blogging, now the entire marketing department is getting into this space.

The point is, as Hugh MacLeod once said, that blogging makes things happen indirectly. Start blogging and you start talking to your customers. They start talking back. You start to better understand them, they start to better understand you. They realize that you are listening to them, you realize that they just want to be heard. Their expectations of you begin to change to meet your limitations, your processes begin to change to better meet their wants and needs.

End result? Sales increase. Costs go down. Customer satisfaction and service goes up. All this happens indirectly.

The Catch-22 is that companies truly can't see the benefits of blogging until they start, and many don't want to start until they KNOW they can make money off it.

Again, this is why I said yesterday that the stimulus for companies to embrace blogging has to come from the inside, not from the outside. Sure, in a few years every company may understand exactly why they need to blog, but for now, unless there are bloggers working for a company and passionately spreading the word internally, then they have no clue other than to ask the 'How do we make money off that?' question.


Anonymous said...

It is a great discussion over at MarketingProfs and some interesting view points.
It is funny because there has been a bit of discussion around why marketers are not seen as "owners" of their brands ... and are not invited into discussions about company strategy. It is one thing to focus on the bottom line and the next quarter profits, but quite another to communicate and connect with your employees, your suppliers and your customers in a meaningful way that builds the top line and impacts the bottom.
If we are still getting the "how can we make money off that" question, then we are not communicating the vision and the potential well enough.

Anonymous said...

Great response, Mack. Quoted you on my blog as well.


Anonymous said...

Great insight, Mack. I'm usually one of those guys who believe you need to quantify the impact before executing. However, maintaining an ongoing dialogue with customers is just good business... and blogging is just a medium to help accomplish that. Thanks for adding to the dialogue.