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Guest

Living with the Pregnant Widow

By: Guest | January 17, 2011 | 
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Les McKeown is president and CEO of Predictable Success and occasional champion when playing Gini Dietrich in Words with Friends.

The Russian poet Alexander Herzen wrote that after a revolution we are left with “not an heir, but a pregnant widow…a long night of chaos” in which the old is gone but the new has not yet arrived.

Hello, I’m your client. Nice to meet you.

Um…thanks, that’s kind of you, but no, I don’t need another book, article, blog post, case study or tweet to help me understand that marketing, advertising, PR, and everything else associated with it has been revolutionized by social media in recent years. I get it. Despite the unflattering little stories I see you tell each other about us clients, I’m not a complete doofus.

What do I want?

I want whatever’s next, baby. You’re the one who’s flogging this ‘social media revolution’ stuff, so give it to me. And by the way, I don’t want any crud. I want the good stuff, the top shelf stuff, the really powerful stuff. I want stuff that is a better-faster-stronger version of the old stuff I had before you took it all away from me. Gimme.

You want me to do what now? Send lots of tiny little messages. I see. And I put what in them? Useful information. Got it. And be what? Engaging… OK. I can get somebody to do engaging. What else? Links? What sort of links? Oh, useful links. OK, I’ve got that. We’ll do the tiny messages with information and links. I’m on it.

Seems kinda lame though. C’mon, I need you to reach here – what else ya got? The what? The Face Book. And that does…? Oh, I see … longer messages. With pictures. And we can put links in there too? Awesome. What else? Be engaging. I’ll just tick that twice then, shall I? What else with The Face Book? Be authentic. OK. I didn’t know I wasn’t, but if you say so.

Hold on…just thinking here…be engaging and authentic on The Face Book about what, exactly? I see. Useful information. OK, got it. And the links too – I’m guessing – they should be engaging and authentic as well? And useful – dammit you got me – how’d I forget that one? Why don’t I just underline ‘engaging authentic useful’ and ‘links’ twice with this sharpie?

All right. I have the tiny little messages and The Face Book. I’m ready for the big one…

Why’re you hesitating? Don’t hold back on me now – there’s got to be more than this. Given all the stuff you’ve told me to stop doing, there better be more than this.

You want me to do what? Sorry, you’re speaking so low I couldn’t hear you. Inked in? Ink in what? You mean ink in with my sharpie? Oh…’Linked In’. I see. You mean that job search place that people keep sending me those annoying little invites to? I’m already on there, I think. Haven’t checked in there for oh…coupla years at least.

What do you want me to put on there? Useful infor…. Hold on, I think I see where this is going. I’ll just underline  ‘engaging authentic useful’ and ‘links’ with my sharpie one more time, shall I?

Gosh, is that the time? You know, I completely forgot – I have an urgent appointment with my dentist for root canal work. Can’t miss that, huh? Really gotta rush. This has been…great. No seriously. Really eye-opening.

You got anything else before I leave?

Les McKeown is president and CEO of Predictable Success, the leading advisor on accelerated business growth. He is the author of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-seller “Predictable Success: Getting Your Organization On the Growth Track – and Keeping It There.”

74 comments
Rick_LaPoint
Rick_LaPoint

Hi Les,

I loved this.

Everyone told me I had to be on this new thing called Twitter. I said, "I've been using IRC live chat since 1995. Back when I wrote HTML for Netscape 1.0."

They looked bewildered, "What's IRC? What's Netscape?"

Back when I was in outside sales, being informative, authentic, engaging--and linking with others--was the time-proven method for getting the sale.

"But you've gotta be on FaceBook."

"I've been posting content, links and pictures on web forums, not to mention on UseNet, for years."

They looked bewildered, "What's UseNet?"

Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun."

If the "men on the street" interviews are any indication, I won't be surprised to see some kid look bewildered and ask, "What's the Sun?"

Rick

kategroom
kategroom

Goodness me, perhaps my tweets are contributing to people getting less done in their day, though clearly that creates opportunity for all the personal productivity experts on Twitter ;-)

Engaging, authentic, useful - Wow! Sounds like I should show some personality and think a bit. Maybe even interact a bit. Hm ....

BTW, I wonder what can be done to popularise the telephone and face-to-face conversations? I find that talking to humans IRL can be astonishingly productive ...

Thanks, Les, for getting me thinking (again).

DrMollieMarti
DrMollieMarti

Engaging -- authentic -- useful stuff... Guess it just doesn't feel like 'easy' to those looking for the 'easy fix'.

Glad your engaging, authentic, useful stuff includes big doses of brilliance & witty banter. Love learning from you!

SarahRobinson
SarahRobinson

How much do I love you Les McKeown? Let me count the ways...:-) Surely there is more, indeed.

40deuce
40deuce

I kind of laughed. Then I kind of cried. Then I did both at the same time.
I hope this really isn't what consultants say when they walk into a clients office... but I have a terrible feeling in my stomach that some actually do.

Cheers,
Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos (http://sysomos.com)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

You guys are all making me think way too hard at 7:40 p.m. I'll be back in the morning with my retort...in the form of a blog post.

Doug_Davidoff
Doug_Davidoff

Great stuff Les.

I'd laugh at the humor, except it's a little too realistic.

This is a perfect example of the problems people have in confusing process with results. It's also a great example of how the message is so focused on the tactics of SM. SM works as part of a larger engagement strategy. It takes commitment, but I think of it like the Celtics think. There's a sign in the locker room that says:

There's a game tonight and we have to play. We might as well win.

Since we are going to be putting forth the effort to play in business - we might as well put forth the effort to win.

janbeery
janbeery

hahahaha breath hahahahaha! Ok, now..... Whew! Real tears too!

Bottom line my dear potential client. When YOUR potential client is searching for a product or service and YOU have that product or service, are YOU where they are searching? Are YOU top of mind? Is YOUR potential client able to ask YOU for "whatever's next baby" on the latest and greatest improvement or solution to their problem? You'd better be, cause your competition is. That competitor is seeking any and all ways possible to be THE PRODUCT OR SERVICE of choice!

Oh, Look at the time! Well, I'm off to my next "problem solving" session. So many people in need of solutions, so little time!

Need anything else before I leave?

lesmckeown
lesmckeown

@kategroom Happy to inflame the little gray cells, Kate. Do come back and share nay further thoughts this generates :)

lesmckeown
lesmckeown

@DrMollieMarti Thank you, Mollie - I appreciate the kind words. You can come back here and comment anytime - although @ginidietrich doesn't encourage too much kindness in her blog comments.

HerzogIND
HerzogIND

@Doug_Davidoff @40deuce And whether or not clients can translate 'what they hear' into profit (or more sales, or better customer service, or whatever.)

40deuce
40deuce

@Doug_Davidoff Well, that makes me feel a little bit better then.
That part I can see happening more. We need to be able to explain ourselves and our course of actions much better. I knew that and agree with it.

Doug_Davidoff
Doug_Davidoff

@40deuce Sheldon, I don't think it's so much what consultants say. It's far more when clients "hear."

kunter
kunter

@ginidietrich Re: "You guys are making me think way too hard at 19:40"- (hmm) See? arrive at the place right after the Lady, be a gentleman, never cause "precious minds" to feel any more headaches :)) not even if she's running a PR company (the gray-cells annihilator) Ops.. is bauer here?? I'm bugging out before he comes after me :))

SeanMcGinnis
SeanMcGinnis

@Doug_Davidoff @lesmckeown " the most valuable skill in the world to have is the ability and discipline to always see things through your customer's eyes."

This is the ONE SKILL that makes the difference between an average business person and a good one. Great ones add something else, but good ones see things through their customers eyes, and it matters not the position. Sales, product development, project management, marketing - all of it is bettered by assuming wlel what your customers know.

Even thought it sounds incredibly easy, it is brutally difficult to do well.

Doug_Davidoff
Doug_Davidoff

@lesmckeown Well said. That's why I think the most valuable skill in the world to have is the ability and discipline to always see things through your customer's eyes.

lesmckeown
lesmckeown

@Doug_Davidoff I think it's also a case of assuming that my client is me. SM folks are immersed in SM, so they think everyone else is too - but less than 8% of americans have a Twitter account - less than 1 in 12 - but listening to us talk on Twitter (and I count myself in on this) we make the mistake of thinking 'we' are 'everybody'.

We're not.

janbeery
janbeery

@Doug_Davidoff Agree Doug! Good response! Bottom line, you going to get the business or is your competitor!

lesmckeown
lesmckeown

@janbeery I was just teasing with you on the 'solutions' thing. I reckoned you were having fun in your reply, so I thought I would too :)

Doug_Davidoff
Doug_Davidoff

@janbeery Yeah, I got a bit carried away. After I submitted my reply I got the tongue in cheek. I've just heard things like that so many times from people.

janbeery
janbeery

@Doug_Davidoff after thinking about it, I hope u didn't think I was serious on the execution of my response to the client! Just a little silliness.

janbeery
janbeery

@lesmckeown We deal with a lot of solution based environments in the medical community. Problem solving, seeking solutions, resulting in answers. Possibly a different use of language?
This is very interesting! I'm ever learning, ever broadening my mind to consider other approaches. NOW I'm going to take this to our team meeting tomorrow and ask the question, Are our clients seeking answers or solutions?
Thanks Les and Doug.

lesmckeown
lesmckeown

@janbeery See! That very word - 'solutions' - that's a real coastal expression right there. All the rest of us in the flyover states - we just want answers :)

Doug_Davidoff
Doug_Davidoff

@janbeery I agree with the intent of what you are saying, but not competely in it's execution. The promise of SM/SEO/PPC whatever is that "you'll be at the top" or something similar to this.

SM is a tactic in a much, much larger strategic approach. There are lots of ways to grow a business. Believe it or not the vast majority of successful businesses are not actively engaged in SM (please don't misunderstand - I'm not saying they shouldn't be).

To add to that, the vast majority of people active on SM posting, what is it, valuable links - ARE NOT SUCCESSFUL!!

There's a great opportunity for PR/SM pros to stand out and create some REAL value. Give us the filter - let us know what's really involved in being successful. Help us understand why so many play and fail and how we can make sure we're successful. Show us how SM fits in the larger picture.

Then you'll get my attention - and open access to my marketing budget.

Trackbacks

  1. […] and how we’re stuck on tactics and not on results. And on Monday, Les McKeown wrote “Living with the Pregnant Widow,” a tongue-in-cheek look at the so-called social media experts who, again, are stuck on the […]

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