Serendipity at The Summit

‘To get the most value from The Summit: – the people are the real differentiators’ – Gary Vaynerchuk

In his typical colourful way, Gary, who was one of my own favourite keynote speakers also said, ‘for all your f*#king tech, apps and APIs, the one thing that will never be replaced is human interaction. We’re living in an era of IQ and EQ, and you need both! ‘

Malcolm Gladwell (who, incidentally, launched his latest book, at the same location as the Summit, on the following day) speaks of a distinction between connectors and networkers. I believe I belong to the former category, as I have the good fortune to know a lot of people, who I habitually connect to each other, by making introductions. This mindset allows me to quickly identify the direct and indirect links between people. So, I was not surprised that the main value I drew from at The Summit was making tangible connections between many great people who I know but prior to bringing them together had not met.

The sheer scale of the event makes it very challenging to do all the things one would like to, at The Summit. So, while it would have been great to attend lots of keynote talks by the many ‘Tech Rock stars’ present, the reality was that even the best laid plans were impossible to stick to. However, as with most events, it’s those serendipitous, unplanned meetings that we remember when we later mentally ‘separate the wheat from the chaff’ of our two days (and nights!) of making connections amongst the 10,000 tech souls present.

While Paddy Cosgrove and his team did Ireland proud by producing this world-class conference, I do believe that the organisers missed an important opportunity by not having a workable networking App. The official App, ‘thesummit.me’ didn’t have that basic component of an event networking App – it did not allow users to connect with each other. The bizzabo App would have done the job, adequately, but as it was not the official one, it only had a limited number of people registered and its schedule of events was patchy.

So, at the largest tech event in Europe, we ended up having to rely on our good old fashioned, low-tech ability to connect with people…and you’ll never guess who I bumped into ..!!

My Top 10 Tips for Effective Networking

When it comes to creating strong connections, networking is most effective when online and offline activity are combined. Social postings can help build our personas, but it can also be difficult to be ‘heard above the noise’ of the millions of daily online posts.

I helped build and grow an online community on Irish Social Network, shutterstock_Networking RendezVous353. We attracted more than 10,000 Irish people globally. To achieve this we used Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I discovered when physically launching the network in London and New York, however, that ‘on the ground’ networking was as important as the online activity.

Each of us has a combination of strong and weak connections within our networks. We all need to work at improving our networking skills. Here are some tips to help nurture your own business network.

1. Harry, Meet Sally
As appropriate, make introductions between your connections. Ideally you should seek the permission of both parties. We all remember those people who made introductions for us which proved beneficial to our businesses.

2. Pay It Forward
Reach out to share information that may help your contacts. It’s good to ‘pay it forward’ and not to be always looking for something for ourselves in return. This attitude has been a key component in the success of Silicon Valley’s start-up ethos.

3. Give  Due Credit
Engage with connections directly by congratulating them on new jobs. This also gives you a chance to update them on your current situation and explore possible synergies that may exist between your product or service and theirs.

4. Ask To Get
The old adage is true: if you don’t ask you don’t get. Use the knowledge and influence of your network, by asking for help when you need it. Most people are glad to help, if they can. It is equally good to engage and offer your help to others.  After all, what’s the point in building networks if we don’t help each other?

5. Personalised Contact
Send links to articles, blogs or other postings you think may be relevant to your connections. As with all things digital, these should be timely and relevant and be sure to personalise.

6. Cut Back To Grow
Another useful task to perform periodically is to ‘prune’ connections you have who, on reflection, may not be relevant. It’s easy on LinkedIn, for example, to ‘Remove a Connection’. You won’t cause offence, as they won’t be aware that you have done this. Quality matters more than quantity when it comes to connections. Isn’t it better to have fewer, but stronger, links?

7. Nurture Connections
After the above ‘pruning’ process, outlined above, it may be useful to re-introduce yourself to contacts you value but may not have engaged with for some time.

8. Are You Engaged?
Making connections without engaging with them is like joining a gym and never using it – a wasted opportunity. When it comes to social networking, building connections or followers isn’t enough in itself to help raise your online profile. You need to engage. On Twitter this can be achieved by retweeting, replying or favouriting. On LinkedIn or Facebook commenting on posts or group discussions or ‘liking’ are effective ways to engage.

9. Checking In 
If you don’t have a specific reason to contact a connection, it’s often worth checking-in with them anyway. Give them a brief update on your business and enquire about theirs. You never know when you might ‘jog their memory’ about the service you offer and perhaps prompt a business opportunity.

10. Face Up
Try, when possible, to meet with your connections face to face. Social networking is all well and good, but you can’t beat good old-fashioned meetings. People appreciate you taking the trouble to meet them. Often the conversations we engage in at these meetings produce serendipitous opportunities, which may not have happened online.

by Pat Carroll                                                                                                                                   Founder of digital marketing and networking consultancy : Touch Communications

So, what’s a Shopperscore?

 

Are you a retailer who knows that presenting a customer with the wrong offer is bad for business?

Then, email can be your most effective communications tool. Even if yours is a bricks and mortar store, email is a tried and tested way of increasing footfall and can act as an effective showrooming tool.

How many times have you signed up to a newsletter, only to be bombarded with an arsenal of sales shrapnel?  

That certainly wasn’t what you opted-in for. You expected relevant emails, with special offers or information that appealed to you, delivered with appropriate frequency.  So, their trigger-happy, scatter-gun actions made you reach straight for the UNSUBSCRIBE button.

If a customer signs up for your newsletter, they are allowing you ‘into their Inbox’. This opt-in can be a golden opportunity for the retailer, but it is also a privilege that needs to be respected and handled with care.

For many subscribers, the opt-in occurred after they had made an in-store or online purchase, so that the very next email they get after that purchase is critical to what happens next. This could be a follow-on purchase, a recommendation or increasing the feel good loyalty. On the other hand, if the email message is not correct it may produce a decidedly negative effect.

Savvy retailers ‘get’ this and personalise their email communications to address their valued customers’ needs. They respect that we are all different. This personalisation can be as simple as asking for subscribers’ gender. In December, I received a beautifully designed newsletter from a high-profile fashion retailer displaying ‘the perfect little black dress’ for the Christmas party season.   (I just didn’t have the legs for it!)

shutterstockShoesGood email marketing practice nurtures sales, by treating customers and prospects like Mr Selfridge himself might have done, when he introduced his store to London in 1909.

Personalisation should take into account a number of customer attributes, like your age, style -preferences and of course, gender.

(UK high-street retailers, Dune successfully achieves this)

Dune1

 

Newsletter.ie is one of the few email marketing platforms that offer this service.

 

Dune2

 

Their ShopperScore  App contains all the features that the savvy retailer needs to help offer their customers a truly personalised service:

  • They develop a customer ‘Persona’, aligning the customer with its products.
  • This is much more than simply tracking clicks. Leadscoring is used to help gauge prospects by their buying potential value to the retailer.
  • A Welcome Series is deployed so that right from the get-go, your subscriber is encouraged to engage by prompting them with relevant and timely emails.
  • Using dynamic content, the customer receives material and offers based on their own particular Persona.
  • Integrated email surveys are utilised to further flesh-out the subscriber Persona
  • Customers can be further segmented and targeted with offers based on their loyalty scheme points.
  • Using Clickstream Tracking, even deserted trolleys can be tracked and an email sent to help direct the wayward shopper back towards the checkout.

Click through to find out more on the ShopperScore  App

Ready to treat your customers to the personalised shopping experience they deserve?

…just like Mr Selfridge did!

MrSelfridge