Why? Getting closer to your audience requires you to see them as individuals. Learning more details helps you break down dangerous generalizations you may be making about them.
Context Online networking tools have evolved past the glorified rolodex to places where you can research people, companies, and trends. You'd be surprised at how much information can be had for free or very little commitment.
The Diving Board End of the Cold Call? May-8-06 from Jeannette Borzo (Paid sub) profiles businesses that locate and qualify prospects using such onlines tools as
- LinkedIn is designed to get people to start working their connections. Very well designed and growing.
- Jigsaw is an innovative service targeted to people who want to swap information. Looks promising.
- Spoke helps companies apply knowledge management tools to leverage who their employees know.
- ZoomInfo seems geared to recruitment, but also offers powerful tools for profiling someone's web presence, including you own.
- Plaxo really IS the automated rolodex. Be careful that you don't substitute its convenience for acutally maintaining your network on a human level. I no longer accept Plaxo update requests from people who don't return my emails or phone calls.
- iProfile, Hoovers, and CI Radar are tools for researching companies. If you subscribe, these services will supply you with contacts at the companies you're tracking.
Next? Have you browsed your contact list recently and zoomed to learn more about a couple of audience members? Did you learn something that surprised you?