Howard Tullman’s tips for successfully leveraging social media and technology to grow your business

Yesterday we saw Howard Tullman speak as part of Chicago Ideas Week. Tullman is the President and CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, an accomplished entrepreneur and a Doejo client. He shared his tips for leveraging social technology to grow your business. His top tips include focusing on interests over data, employing “smart reach” and using status as a business incentive.

Here are the social media and technology tips Tullman shared with the audience:

Be Responsive

Today’s web is all about speed. Everything that is created is immediately ripped off. To be a leader in this competitive market you need to be able to identify and understand your consumer’s interests. True leaders will respond to them, using this data to improve their product. “You need to know what the customers are looking for and respond to their feedback, immediately changing your product and your service,” Tullman said.

Don’t just rely on data

The most critical attribute about the Internet is the heightened engagement it provides. If you wait until someone finishes a search to understand what he or she is looking for, you are too late. To succeed on the modern web you need to be able to influence interactions in real time, targeting the consumer before they finish the interaction. If you only rely on data you will always be playing catch up. For more information on how to target new customers based on their recent search engine activity, Tullman recommends checking out Chango, a search retargeting platform.

Interests outweigh demographics

Interests have become more important than demographics. Metrics mean everything and personal data is the most important kind data we can capture. Today’s marketers already know who you are; they are now trying to figure out what you are interested in. Capitalizing on the trend towards personal data can help you get ahead by understanding the feelings and potential trends of your target market. 

Use social media to gauge market swings

Twitter is a powerful marketing tool that helps you to better understand customer acquisition funnels, build traffic and increase value while providing instant feedback. The conversations on social media will go on with or without you so you want to be engaged. “If you are not where your customers are and you are not in those conversations then you are nowhere. This is the way people are aggregating data on how to serve and better interact with their customer, their clients and their vendors,” said Tullman. If you are not there a competitor will be.

Recognize the increased demand for context sensitive information

Today there is an increased demand for context sensitive information. We now need to make decisions in real-time. These changes signal “the end of the old media idea that a fixed price and fixed content will work. Today the consumer wants to control this and decide on the fly,” said Tullman. These change have lead to an integration of mobile and social. Tullman says we will continue to see market segmentation and differentiated pricing in many businesses.

Context trumps content: use ‘smart reach’

The best way to sell your product or service is though an interactive experience that employs smart reach and precision targeting. Tullman explains smart reach as getting the information to your consumers exactly when they need it and want to use it. “If you hit me at the wrong time I don’t really care what the message is. If you hit me at the right time the content is more important than the message,” Tullman said. How will the acceptance of context over content change the future of marketing? “Our location is becoming a bigger part of the whole interactive process. We are going to see that using phones, GPS and geo-fencing, which is going to give marketers far better tools for precisely targeting what is going on around us,” said Tullman.

Free is no longer enough

Free isn’t cheap enough; businesses in todays marketplace also need to provide value, increase productivity and save time. To be a viable business you must also build relationships. “The worst time to try to build a relationship is when you need something—make sure to be helpful and additive to the consumer,” said Tullman.

Status is the major incentive

Tullman says another key to building a sustainable business is using status as a social driver. Gamification is as huge behavioral driver on the web where almost everything—even money—maxes out as an incentive except status. Acknowledgement, rewards, reputation are new social drivers that are just beginning to be mined as tools that provide incentives for people to behave in different ways. Now that we have the ability to measure, confer, publish and share status it has become even more powerful. A good example of using status as an incentive is Klout, a site that concretely documents online influence. Klout partnered with Rent the Runway for “perk” that offers users additional savings to users based on their Klout score.

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