What are the benefits?

One of Kathy Sierra’s main themes is about getting to the root of what it is that "users" want. This is more commonly referred to as benefits to the user. Most people/organizations that have a product or service to sell, have a tendency to define the benefit with respect to the product or service it self.

…2GHZ processor and 100 G of storage…

…0 grams of transfat…

Kathy’s point is that users don’t really care about the product or service itself, they care about what the product or service can enable them to do.

…easily upload my pictures to flickr…

…eat as much as I want without feeling guilty…

Right now I am facing a situation where I need to define the benefits of something. I need to keep Kathy’s perspective in mind.  Here is the situation…

I am a huge advocate of using social media within an organizational setting. I have spent much of the last year talking about it whenever the opportunity arises. I finally became inspired to try and create a position that is 100% focused on social media. Subjectively I know this type of position would provide a great benefit to the organization. My problem is that I am having trouble objectively defining the benefits. Almost everyone I talk to asks the same question, "What are the benefits to the company?" I reply with the usual talking points,

Internally social media supports innovation, breaking down of silos, …

Externally, social media can get us closer to the customer, allow us to become part of the community…

The typical response is "but show me the benefit." As I read Kathy’s post this morning, I began to wonder if I have fallen into the trap of defining the benefit in terms of the subject (social media) instead of the object (the user).

So it is off to find a new windmill, how to show the benefit of social media in terms that clearly point to the benefit of the user, as opposed to meeting my own need of finding a problem for my solution.

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