Playing with Technology

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~Arthur C. Clarke

Maybe Wooster isn’t the school for you…

but maybe we can help you figure out which school is for you. Can you imagine any college saying something like that? I sure can’t. So why am I even thinking about it? Well, one reason is because of what I read on Scobleizer. He posted about his hypothetical Web 2.0 Expo keynote and in his post he mentioned that the only social media strategy you need is to figure out how to put people on your homepage. He also lists 5 points to back up this claim

1. The real social media strategy you should have is to get people to promote you. Most people are more likely to promote you if they think you’re listening to them. (Zappos does this by having more than 300 employees on Twitter who will fix any problem you have instantly). Amazon does it by having great reviews. If I review some products my name is on the site and I’m more likely to tell other people about Amazon than some other site, like Best Buy’s, that might have a lower price but doesn’t feature me.
2. Most people like a personal approach. I want to know that there’s real people behind a business. Best Buy’s approach feels cold. Zappos’ approach feels warm. You can feel it by visiting both of their sites.
3. It’s a lot harder to chose to screw some business when you know someone there. At Ford Motors there’s Scott Monty. Last weekend we bought a Toyota, but I feel guilty for not buying a product from Scott. This is a dude I’ve never met and only know from dealing with him on my blog and over on Twitter. Yet I feel guilty for not buying from him. (To be fair, Toyota has a bunch of people on Twitter too, but Scott was visible a long time before I knew Toyota was there).
4. Everyone goes through a sales process. I used to help run a consumer electronics store in Silicon Valley and I saw this up close and personal. But go to Best Buy and see if there’s a consultative approach. There’s none, other than “save 15%.” That doesn’t add value and doesn’t help me figure out which big screen I need. Add some blue shirts to the web site and we’ll go down the sales process together and close rates will go up.
5. Adding customers to the home page is low-cost but high return. ((Scobleizer Web 2.0 expo))

This got me to thinking about how we are getting people onto the redesigned homepage for the College, we aren’t. Well at least not in the way he is talking about. We’ll have success stories about alums and profiles of current students, but is that really genuine enough? I don’t think so. It gets back to the difference between the videos of the arch filling.

Then I started to think about Freedlander’s (a department store and landmark in Wooster that recently closed) and the service I used to get there. It was the kind of place where if they didn’t have what you were looking for, they would direct you to a store that they knew or thought might have what you wanted. That is the kind of personal connection I think he is getting at in his post. I went back to Freedlander’s even though they didn’t always have the best price because I always felt like they had my best interest at heart. And that is what prompted me to think about a college that wasn’t affraid to admit they didn’t have what you wanted but they knew of a college that did and they weren’t affraid to advertise that on their homepage. I’m sure this kind of conversation takes place between some admissions councilors and students looking at schools, but I’m pretty sure no school brags about it. Why not?





One response to “Maybe Wooster isn’t the school for you…”

  1. Jon Avatar

    Kathy pointed out that this is just the Progressive model. It would be fitting for Wooster to adopt it since AMRE has done so many projects for Progressive.