Thursday, July 22, 2010

‘Unusually Uncertain’

Investors think F-word after Bernanke’s U-word(s). Have changing demographics of U.S. workforce accelerated importance of social networking and communication skills?

A minute in to his semi-annual testimony before Congress yesterday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke sent the stock market into an afternoon slide (down 1.3 percent) with two simple words that underscored the fragility of investor and business community confidence…. “Unusually uncertain.”

“Of course, even as the Federal Reserve continues prudent planning for the ultimate withdrawal of extraordinary monetary policy accommodation, we also recognize that the economic outlook remains unusually uncertain,” said the Fed Chief. Bernanke’s comments followed discouraging data on housing, unemployment, consumer sentiment and bank lending, not to mention uncertainty over the effect of the sweeping financial legislation signed by President Obama yesterday.

Marketing for decision-makers in the post-industrial economy

As NY Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, points out today for the first time in American history, men no longer dominate the labor force. Not only do men account for about three-quarters of Americans who lost their jobs, during this prolonged recession, but women are now the majority of payroll employees for the five months that ended in March, according to one measure from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Citing, Atlantic Monthly’s Hanna Rosin, Kristof raises the question: “What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men?” As both columnists observe: Our postindustrial economy is indifferent to men’s size and strength. The attributes that are most valuable today — social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus — are, at a minimum, not predominately male. In fact, the opposite may be true.

Read for yourself to see if you agree whether the female gender’s superior social/communication skills are socialized or a result of different genetic wiring between the sexes. But for marketers intent on reaching corporate decision-makers and influencers, the importance of listening, social networking and open communication should not be underestimated.

It’s not necessarily a gender issue, but it’s hard to argue that more and more of us are selling to a group of decision-makers instead of a single buyer, and that group of buyers is soliciting feedback from a wider range of influencers than ever before. You simply cannot take that many influencers out to the golf course or a nice dinner if you want the business. Social media is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a need to have form of air coverage if you want to stay on the radar of your current and prospective clients with an ongoing, meaningful two-way dialogue that can be shared, linked and vetted.


No comments: