Another pattern I noticed among our Visionaries was the various ways they connect people to people in the online world. As one participant said, “People don’t learn from information; they learn from people.”
On Visionaries’ Web sites, you notice that students can interact with one another, find experts, interact with their coaches and teachers. Customers can connect with other customers with similar issues as well as with their sales team. Consumers can glean tips and tricks from one another. Customers can see a product that someone else has customized and reuse those patterns to create their own customized product. Seekers can look at a graphical network of experts in a particular field and find the people whose expertise has been frequently published or patented. They can see who else is connected to those experts.
Most visionaries seem to feel that part of their job is to connect their customers with one another so they can learn from one another and share experiences. They also believe in connecting customers with internal experts and resources. They recognize that customers’ needs bridge organizational silos and pull employees and subject matter experts together across those silos. They realize that referrals, social networking, and viral marketing are the engines that drive customer acquisition.