Forbes.com posed an attention-getting question in the headline of this recent article: "What's More Important: A Wildly Original Business Model--Or Smart Marketing"? The article itself focuses on Brighter, a startup selling dental savings plans at deep discounts to subscribers. The author maintains that the business plan is nothing extraordinary. So, what gives? Brighter focuses on insanely accommodating customer service and aggressive marketing, yielding high-volume word-of-mouth and steady growth. Just think about the number of times you turned to friends or community members for a recommendation when it comes to new doctors, dentists, vets, etc. Customer service and marketing go hand-in-hand. If you need a primer on the convergence of marketing, PR, sales and customer service, check out Monday's post and stay tuned for more this week!
$1.3 billion dollars cash?! No problem for IBM; a solid investment, they hope. IBM has gobbled up enterprise software maker, Kenexa. The company makes Social HR and Talent Management software, helping companies manage, monitor & communicate with staffing agents, regulate the on-boarding process and conduct employee assessments. In fact, Kenexa has a whole suite of handy services and software solutions designed to streamline the HR department and train/retain top talent. If you can't afford to buy your own enterprise software company, that's understandable. But you can hire one!
Last week, Don talked about the need for top-down leadership when it comes to social processes within the enterprise. This week, Yahoo! CEO, Melissa Mayer, is showing us (in part) how it's done. In her new role, Mayer is doing her best to tear down the red-tape that naturally runs within large organizations. She is instituting a company-wide initiative called "PB&J - Processes, Bureaucracies and Jams". Employees are encouraged to log into an internal dashboard to either 1) propose improvements within the company or, 2) vote proposals up / down. Yahoo's C-Level gets a real-time look at what's going on across the ranks and has the opportunity to respond. The morale boosting implications are huge; and depending on how Yahoo! acts on employee recommendations, corporate processes could see rapid reinvention.
Gamification is a fun buzzword; but the theory behind gamification extends well beyond apps like Foursquare, Get Glue and UnTappd. There are practical applications at the enterprise level and many of the psychological drivers behind gamification are being successfully applied to sales, business development and operations. Don't believe me?! Enroll at Coursera.org for free and take Kevin Werbach's 6-week Wharton course on the subject (started this week).