On January 29th I attended a lecture at UCL given by my colleague Tim Fitch to the masters students studying Strategic Management of Projects. The lecture covered the power of social media for businesses and the benefits and advantages of properly using it through personal experience.
The lecture started with the development of marketing as a business idea with the evolution from consumer marketing to services marketing to relationship marketing.
The 6 market model (adapted from Christopher et al 2002) helps an organisation study the stakeholders and key market domains that may be important to them. It is highly important for an organisation to maintain its relation with internal as well as external environment in order to grow and sustain. Through the analysis of all 6 markets, managers can identify the critical markets and the opportunities in each market. This helps also to choose the right customer and to understand what value means for each particular customer. Once understood, the offering must reflect the customers’ wants and needs. The importance of Referral markets and the impact on the industry was stressed with power of the market to influence decisions.
In our professional life and in our personal life our connections should never be underestimated or left behind. In business, if connections are maintained and sustained, they will help it grow by gaining more projects both with current customers and potential customers.
These connections are portfolios of opportunity for a business which can expand into several programmes and influence multiple projects in the future. The biggest value accrues to most businesses by repeat business, therefore a business must measure service delivery and customer satisfaction and take action.
The fragile relationship between the traditional one-on-one approach was elaborated and requirement of firms to aim for relationship marketing to key account managers was stressed to enable sustained relationships.
Relationship Management must be developed as a core competency within any organisation. In order to manage these relationships, which is usually a long list, Tim suggested the following hierarchy of thinking:
• Understand the customers organisation
• Understand the strategic drivers for the business
• Initiate contact
• Develop Relationships
• Understand the pipeline
• Develop project and customer specific win strategies
The gold nugget that we took from the lecture were the ‘relationship tips’ for developing our own social network and database and that can help us be more effective when it comes to networking and increase our future business opportunities. They were:
• Relationship initiation (approach people).
• Exchange business cards – procedure (give out as many business cards as possible and collect as many as possible, annotate the date and codify them accordingly for your personal database. You never know when or how they may be of use).
• Grabbing networking opportunities (get out there, network, attend events, etc.).
• Salesforce® (use it to create your database).
• Project based relationships (sustain them)
• Connect with people through LinkedIn and Twitter to be up to date.
By doing some or all of these we will start to notice that our social network will increase over time and if we were to graph it, it should look a bit like this:
People will remember us and whenever there is a working opportunity, the chances they reach out to us for project collaboration or any business opportunity will be better.
The Rise of Social Media
The most popular social media tools Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn were founded in 2006, 2004, and 2003 respectively.
Currently, the use of these tools help people keep in touch with others who are both close and far away and to have the latest news from around the world. However, a business can use the power of social media in order to gain work, clients, partnerships, etc. In other words, it aids a business become more visible, not only in its own industry but among other industries.
For example, through the use of LinkedIn and Twitter, both very powerful engines for relationship growth, we at Invennt can demonstrate positive results through creating connections and using these platforms to engage and amplify the connections.
Social media extends what is possible regarding maintaining relationships with the 6 markets. Strong social media profiles with active participation through these engines generate leadership, communication and influence. There are huge amounts of benefits that will come to businesses and people by using the power of social media in order to enhance relationships in every sense.
At Invennt we strive to create value through construction and in doing this unlocking the potential within our industry. If you are interested in unlocking the productivity and potential of your organisation through better use of social media please get in touch at Tim.Fitch@invennt.com or call 07816517590
This post was written by Ana Cristina Torres who is an intern at Invennt and currently studying for a MSc at UCL. As an aside Ana found Invennt through social media.