Industry practices stifling growth, says consultant (and rider) David Nour

Publish Date: 
Oct 26, 2012
By Dennis Johnson

CARSON, Calif. - As a social networking strategist, consultant and author, David Nour specializes in helping businesses capitalize on the strategic relationships they hold with employees and customers. He also happens to be an avid motorcycle enthusiast who in two years went from riding a scooter to being a diehard Ducatisti who makes regular treks with like-minded moto-heads from the executive ranks.

So imagine Nour’s dismay when he, as someone still new to the sport but with money to spend, went to his local dealership to replace a mirror and get help putting it on the bike. The employee considered his need and then laughed at him for not knowing how to install a mirror.

That’s one way to ruin a business relationship and kill the chance of any future sales. In fact, from then on, Nour made all his purchases online. Not only did his selected e-tailer offer great customer service but made it easy for Nour to do what he wanted to do: spend money on things like full-leather suits, jackets, and accessories.

Nour’s Oct. 24 presentation at the Motorcycle Industry Council's Inroads to the Future communications symposium offered insights on his most recent book, Return on Impact, with a focus on how the industry can think and lead differently in the era of social media and mobile devices.

If the industry is to grow into a new world of post-recession consumer habits, it needs to focus on educating and engaging customers (existing and new) in a very different way, Nour said. It also has to stop competing for the same slice of the pie, and instead make the pie bigger by reaching out to a different audience.

“This isn’t the way you sold bikes 20 years ago,” he said.

So what’s changed? For one, the age of traditional marketing and advertising is waning, Nour said. When about three-quarters of consumers don’t believe your adverts and marketing message, but do believe comments from their social cohort, it’s time to start focusing on a pull-through marketing approach. And that old adage about consumers telling more people about bad service than good still exists; however, these days anyone can affect thousands, if not millions of people by sharing their bad experiences.

Twitter sees about 200 million tweets a day, Pinterest drives more click-through commerce than Facebook, with just a fraction of the audience, and Google now sees more searches from a mobile device than a desktop. But this all can change tomorrow given the evolving, disruptive nature of social technologies, he said. 

On the positive side, mobile technology and social networking is a platform that allows businesses to listen more closely to and engage customers than ever before. It’s possible to engage, cultivate and create advocates and evangelists for your brands, Nour said. Some companies are even using social media to drive commerce, in addition to answering questions and solving customer complaints. (continued)