Tunneling Through :: The Intersection of Enterprise 2.0 + Social Marketing

Enterprise 2.0 meets Social Marketing

In 1988 tunnel boring machines aimed at one another began their slow attack from France and the United Kingdom respectively.  The ultimate death match resulted in the Chunnel – a consistent, fixed mode of mass people/cargo transportation across the English Channel.

A similar thing is happening with the inevitable convergence between the fields of Enterprise 2.0 [communities of practice, collaboration networks, knowledge management] and Social Marketing [customer communities, influencer networks, social media, Social CRM].  With the goal being a consistent link between workforce, partners and customers and with the infrastructure to provide a continuous ebb and flow of knowledge, ideas, reputation and all things intangible.  Kinda like the Chunnel.

The success of the Chunnel, as with merging Enterprise 2.0 and Social Marketing initiatives, depends on clear objectives, planning, tools, people and sheer determination.  There’s a big difference too, though.  The Chunnel diggers started at the same time on each side.  I recommend starting your internal/Enterpise 2.0/collaboration initiative before engaging customers or influencers in your customer community/social media initiative.  Don’t meet in the middle.  Why?

Ideally you want some experience with internal collaboration before customers are engaged.  Or ‘Get your house in order before you invite over company.’  Think of your workforce as your immediate family, and your suppliers, partners and vendors as your neighbors.  They can see your house a little messy – especially if it’s due to a snazzy renovation.  Your customers are more like your dates – your best foot is always forward.

It’s for this reason that a strategy where internal collaboration is enabled first is best.  Work out the kinks of collaboration with your internal workforce, suppliers/partners, etc. first so that you’re prepared to respond to customers ridiculously faster than with a silo’d organization.

Evolution of Enterprise 2.0 and Social Marketing

The worlds of Enterprise 2.0 and Social Marketing are the result of a similar evolution[in my mind].  Enterprise 2.0 represents the needed transition in learning and knowledge management from formal [classrooms and databases] to informal [communities and Web 2.0] while Social Marketing is the same evolution in marketing from traditional [print and banner ads] to social [customer and influencer communities].

They have a different audience but the same objective – integrating anyone you count on for success into your strategy for better products, services, efficiency or enhancements to your business model – aka innovation.  Internal and external communities are the incubators of ideas for improvement.  Bring them together successfully and you’ll have the most valuable resource needed for the new economy – knowledge.

Next Steps for Enterprise 2.0 and Social Marketing

As the respective fields are evolving it’s in everyone’s best interest to…wait for it…collaborate.  Shocking, eh?  And this is where those nasty changes in process come into play.  Just b/c it sounds like a great idea for teams form Marketing, Knowledge Management, Innovation, IT, HR, etc. to work together for the sometimes utopian goal of a freeflowing exchange of information through a company’s value network it doesn’t mean it’s easy.  Inconvenient things like politics, personalities, power and culture are all front and center.

This is where we find it helpful to use a tool to visualize and measure process as it occurs in today’s dynamic times. A value network analysis shows stakeholders their current process flows [intangibles included] and let’s them determine how best to rearrange them for mutual benefit.

However it’s done, though, these areas need to be working together – the tunnels within your organization and to those that you count on for success need to be dug and the infrastructure needs to be in place so that knowledge, ideas, reputation and all of the other intangibles you rely on can flow as they need.

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