One of the recent changes I’ve noticed both internally within agencies but also with clients is that there is a growing willingness to learn about how the hell they can better leverage their digital channels but also who else needs to be involved internally on these projects so they succeed.
But one aspect I have noticed is that often much of the knowledge sharing forms a one-way relationship with a process that some clients feel that it’s likened to pulling teeth.
The other ongoing problem is that this one-way relationship means the same conversations can happen over and over as companies experience staff turn-over and you have the same conversation with each new member of their team on what they can be doing online.
This post came about because I believe that many parts around a model of one-way interaction seems to be broken, so I did think that there can be a better solution to this process that is closer to a skill share or barter model, which offers a win/win for both parties.
There are often very specific questions that you are asked that you sometimes have no idea about and even a Google search can’t answer easily.
But if you had access to an expert or someone with experience on the topic you could easily answer it. The problem is that the task/question at hand maybe too small for an expert to be engaged or too specific for a general or generic response but I believe skill share could fill that gap.
I believe everyone has something they can teach and everyone is always looking to learn more but also sharing knowledge can help build a community environment.
There are often some questions that you answer several times which don’t relate to your core skill set but you are still able to answer them, the same is true of the people asking you questions.
So what is in it for you?
- Empower new internal evangelists
- Learn something new
- Enrich your relationships
- Receive unbiased advice
- Answer growing list of internal questions
- Help other businesses
The Digital Barter Rules
- Can’t be an existing, recent or upcoming project
- Must be a valid knowledge swap
- Must be for knowledge gap swap
- This is not a replacement for training or workshop sessions
- Barter cannot replace support channels
How you decided what to barter
- Make initial offer for what you need
- Receive counter offer for what they want
- Final agreement on knowledge swap
- Deliver on final agreed knowledge swap
What’s the benefits?
As an agency or marketer you can gain insight on an existing client problem/task that is beyond your scope of engagement or skills set.
You can also get much more insightful views into industries/products from a client/customer perspective with this type of process and deliver better projects that might be beyond your usual scope of work.
How can I see it working?
I think the concept works best if you have a larger pool of clients, prospects or contacts to work with if you want the most out of this idea, but I see it as offering you a pool of pre-qualified experts you can gain insights off.
I see that it could be similar to Quora but initially it would be an offline discussion instead of a public forum.
Ideally you would have two lists internally that contain knowledge you can share but also what knowledge gaps you want help with that would be ranked based on complexity and importance.
Long term I would see a credit/point system built up and based on the complexity of the question/answer to ensure there is economic factors encouraging asking and answering small/simple questions.
How could you use it?
If you were planning on developing a mobile booking application for a bus tour company but had no experience in the travel industry as to what could be improved around current booking systems or what features are required by tour operators to ensure your application actually adds value and delivers good ROI.
You could find an employee or client that has experience or insight into tour operators or travel booking systems that could help ensure the success of your app in exchange for your knowledge or insight into helping them improve something within their business.
You can also use it when fielding all those questions from friends and family about how they can learn more about online marketing.
How could it fail?
There are so many ways that this could stumble and fail, but the idea of a dual path of knowledge and not just a parasitic relationship ensures everyone wins in the end!
There are some questions that might be initially far too complex but I think starting small and building up the concept and testing how you can make it work in your business.