Jeff Korhan: State of the Industry

Columns - Industry Voices

Every month our columnists give their take on a common topic. Last month they wrote about what they want to change about the green industry. This month it’s a high-level look at the state of the industry.

October 14, 2011
Jeff Korhan

  Jeff Korhan

You should be a student of your industry to stay on top of what is trending and for learning better practices. With that said, how important is the state of the green industry to the success of your business?

This will depend on many factors, with location probably being the most important. For example, there are many communities in the United States and Canada that always seem to thrive, regardless of what is happening nationally.

There are always companies that manage to beat the odds in both up and down economies. Why shouldn't that be you?

If you want to run a better business, forget about the big picture. Instead, focus on what matters and that you know best – your local community.

Think Like a Community Manager. You are the green industry for your customers. So, doesn't it make sense to always bring a positive attitude and new information about it to them – such as sustainable practices and the latest technology?

One way to more effectively do this is to borrow something that is common with emerging technology companies. Create a new position in your company known as the community manager.

The community manager makes sure every interaction with the company, regardless of whom it involves, is a favorable experience, not a negative one.

The community manager typically responds to the president or CEO. For a typical green industry business, the community manager would report to the owner. If your business is small, the community manager is the owner.

Having a community manager position creates a shift in your thinking – from serving a market of customers to a community of people. It's difficult to serve a diverse marketplace, but serving a community of like-minded people comes naturally to all businesses.

Potential responsibilities for a community manager include:

  • Respond to inquiries for general information
  • Act as a bridge between departments
  • Handle general complaints (from non-customers)
  • Track leads and referrals
  • Plan customer appreciation events
  • Respond to customer suggestions
  • Manage traditional and social media communications
  • Listen to pitches from those wanting to partner with your company

Communities are the new markets.
Marketing today emerges from the community – not from the organization. These are those shared communications about your company – both favorable and unfavorable. Of course, we all know that good things can even result from unfavorable experiences when they are handled well.

This is why the role of a community manager is so essential. It's a role that serves as a liaison between sales, marketing, customer service, administration and production. The community manager takes care of those little details that help to keep everyone focused on the core business, much as a concierge does for hotel guests.

Community managers turn interruptions into opportunities. The mere presence of the community manager indicates your company is always ready to serve.

To be competitive today, your business needs to stand out above the rest. Having a skilled manager 100 percent dedicated to creating favorable experiences with everyone in your community could prove to be the difference.

Create a community manager role for your company. Your customers and prospects will instantly be impressed with your commitment to them.

Jeff Korhan is a speaker, consultant and top-ranked blogger on new media and small business marketing.;