Looking back over my last few posts – a few things jumped out at me. What is normally a blog containing (what I’d like to think of as) useful thoughts on CRM and customer strategy, has become to the casual observer an advertising channel for what some would see as a vendor’s user conference.
That is not 100% true. Nor is it untrue I guess.
I got worried for a moment. Was I betraying my readers’ trust by barraging them with promotions of an event there is a good chance they have no thought of even attending? (Though I will note with total honesty that even if you are not using SugarCRM, the social media track alone is worth attending SugarCon.)
Or, on the flip side, was I taking advantage of one of the toughest things to assemble in this utterly fragmented social universe – a captive audience?
It is a delicate balance, to be sure. And, it is a cycle. We build up trust so that we can garner attention, right? But how can you leverage that attention to meet your sales and marketing goals (let’s be honest, as much as we are “social” – for us business people with real jobs – there is an end to these means) without damaging that trust?
I don’t really know the answer here. In an online culture that has become increasingly expectant and dependent on “free” – whether that be content, services, platforms, networks, etc. – how can you execute transactions or promotions that originate in this free flowing social realm without breaking that trust barrier a bit?
OK, maybe I do have an answer. And of course it comes from one of my mentors and someone I respect. Paul Greenberg always says to “create buyers – don’t push products.” So, I do believe that you can leverage the “attention” you have earned, without killing off the trust if you have some sort of value inside your promotional type blogs, tweets, etc.
In short, don’t expect me to stop hawking SugarCon any time soon – as I said, I truly believe that anyone involved in using CRM, building or developing in the clouds, using social media, or involved with business software in general can find something of value in the event.