When I become interested in something, I can’t stop talking about it. Some may call it brand advocacy (I can talk hours about the wonders of Boloco), others may say I’m obsessed.
Exhibit A: Jay Baer’s Youtility. Baer posits that marketing should be about “help not hype” and provides marketers with lessons on how to capitalize on the collaborative economy. It’s a fantastic read—I’ve written several articles and shared many social status updates on Baer’s book.
Fortunately for me, sometimes my fandom is helpful. I was lucky enough to get in touch with Baer, interview him for our blog, and share some youtility-inspired lessons with you.
AM: What inspired you to write Youtility?
JB: I wrote the book for two reasons.
First, to give non-profits and companies a strategic scaffolding for content creation. Lots of interest around content marketing these days - and rightfully so - but not a lot of overall understanding of "why" content matters. Youtility is the playbook for that.
Also, I wrote the book as a reaction to the culture of "amazing" that currently pervades marketing. Many consultants/speakers/authors are advising companies to be "amazing" - as if wanting to be like Zappos makes you Zappos. It's seductive advice, but not very sound advice.
A better, much more viable success formula is to just be useful. Thus, Youtility.
AM: The book contains myriad lessons for companies and nonprofits alike. If you were to give one piece of advice to each of those audiences, what would it be?
JB: First, create the ultimate FAQ. Methodically and comprehensively answer every question prospective customers/donors/volunteers have about your organization, and keep on doing it. Everyone thinks they have enough information about their organization online, but almost nobody actually does.
AM: The point you underscore again and again is that listening to customers is crucial to determining their needs, and helping meet those needs. Other than @HiltonSuggests, what are other companies and/or nonprofits doing this well?
JB: Dozens of examples. You see it every time a company pays attention and delights someone by working "off script". This requires empowering your people (like Hilton does) to seize opportunities. I actually wrote about that kind of thing a lot more in my first book, The NOW Revolution.
Question for discussion: What are the most frequent questions you encounter? How is your company seeking to answer them?
Stay tuned for part II!
Photos are author's own.