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Radically re-thinking "Lead Management"

trust.jpgI have been away from the blog for a while now due to a personal intellectual battle.  It is the kind of thinking that tears you up; lots of "what ifs" and assumption challenging. 

Most REALTORS® working with the web wrestle with a problem called Lead Management.  They ask themselves "What can I do to improve the number of eyeballs on my site?".  To many, this means implementing an intricate (even complex) array of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and E-Mail campaigns to attract attention to their site.  These elements even show up in the relatively new blog strategies. 

A result of thinking about Lead Management in this traditional way is a bombardment of consumers. Here is a recap of the strategy:

  1. Hit consumers from as many different channels as possible. 
  2. My message drowns out all others.
  3. If you hit them enough times, they will come. 
  4. Once they come, work on trapping them.

The problem with this philosophy is that consumers don't really want to be lead around this way.  I think that bullying results in the consumer adopting passive aggressive behavior.  I guess you could call it an anti-attention reaction. If this is true, then a creative alternative to this pounding might actually be a pro-consumer approach. 

Thinking about this is the reason I haven't posted in a while.  What inspired me down this path are articles like the Intention Economy (Doc Searls) and Anatomy of a Gesture (Steve Gillmor).  Another thought provoking article by Doc Searls is Marketing vs. Intention.  The whole notion that consumer interaction with a website can be categorized by gestures that imply intention is fascinating.

Maybe there is something in this new thinking; replacing Attention Getting Mechanisms with an approach that detects Intention from Consumer Gestures. In person-to-person interactions, negative intentions are easy detect.  People leave long lines at the bank in disgust and dislike "pushy" sales clerks. The challenge of detecting gestures on the web lies in the anonymity of the medium.  We fall into the bombardment mentality because we are trying to identify the consumer.  How can gestures work if "pounding" does not.

 I don't have the answers, but something tells me it has to related to the following factors:

  1. Consumers will only give up their identity when they are ready.
  2. Web 2.0 tools can respond to interaction with dynamic web content easier than in the past.
  3. Consumer preference is organically determined.
  4. A taxonomy of Internet gestures is needed.

Maybe websites should not be as rigid (or static) as they are today? 

The tipping point for these thoughts will take time. While you are waiting, research the topics and determine for yourself what to make of it and remember that radical thought is a driver to innovation. 

Comments
  1. You've hit it on the head with this blog!  I'm always surprised at the number of sites that require consumers to fill out forms for every little "report" or tidbit of information that is offered. We try to keep that to a minimum and only ask for info if someone wants an actual service that requires our time and attention such as completing a free CMA, signing up for one of our classes, borrowing one of our garage sale A-board signs, or receiving one of our relocation packets. That's it. I'm happy to share info and answer questions without having to pester people. We go with an opt-in attitude which seems to make everyone a bit happier. Great article!

  2. Excellent commentary. Great post. Perhaps web consumers are more like cats than they were before the web, so they're hard to 'herd' using traditional methods and, given a good environment, they will opt to work with you on their own terms.

  3. John

    Hit them with something interesting, and leave them wanting more. That way they keep coming back to your site. That's what feeds are for anyway. It's like an anonymous drip campaign.

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