Changes in how, where, and why consumers access information has made a new approach to marketing possible. Based on the idea that companies are competing with real people for the attention of their customers (who are also real customers), friend-of-mine awareness advocates that success is based on getting customers to think of your company as a friend first and allow conversions to flow naturally from this relationship. By providing customers with real value you will be rewarded with loyalty and advocacy.
As our avenues for personal and commercial relationships are becoming less distinct, the average Facebook feed consists of a mixture of information from friends, family members, and companies all vying for our limited attention. Naturally personal connections and relationships will tend to come out on top if companies do not seek to set themselves apart in a humanizing way. With constant invitations to share and like content, consumers are subjected to many types of interruption marketing tactics and they can begin to wear thin, or even annoy, quickly. This type of marketing can often cause more harm than good by generating distrust or dislike for your business name just by virtue of being annoying. The best way to compete with the relevance of updates from friends and family is by also being relevant and useful, after all, you are competing in the same market.
Hilton Worldwide, the blanket company for Hilton Hotels and Doubletree Hotels offers suggestions and tips related to travel but they don’t stop there! Not only do they offer advice to their customers, they also have a team of hotel staff who love their cities and want to help visitors enjoy their stay. One great example of this service is this exchange between a visitor to Dallas and a Hilton employee in the area:
@LTHouston tweeted: “Good places to eat near the Magnolia Hotel in Downtown Dallas for Saturday?” and received the following reply from @HiltonSuggests:
“@LTHouston, Wild Salsa on Main or Campisi’s on Elm are awesome, both within walking distance of your hotel in Dallas, enjoy. VAC”
The Magnolia Hotel is not owned or affiliated with Hilton but the hotel worker saw an opportunity to help someone enjoy their city and stepped up to provide the information. You can bet this twitter user considered staying at a Hilton over another hotel the next time they traveled.
Right from the early days of the service, Hilton has been committed to helping people and letting that attitude of community speak for them: A Memphis resident tweeted that his dog was sick and he did not know where to take him and a Hilton representative quickly recommended a good, nearby vet. The dog owner was understandably impressed and Hilton likely gained a customer for life.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital Car Seat Helper App
By tapping into a universal worry among parents about purchasing the right car seat, the hospital was able to create a helpful app that helps to alleviate indecision and aid parents in making sound decisions they can be confident of. The app is simple, effective, useful, and free and has created a ripple effect of recognition for the hospital which will surely prove useful in competition for grants and donors. Although they did not test and evaluate each car seat themselves, they were able to take the information available from the experts and turn it into a format that is easier to use earning them recognition from their peers and loyalty from parents.
More on friend of mind awareness check out: Jay Baer’s book Youtility.