The Four Stages of Competence is a learning model attributed to Noel Burch at Gordon Training International in the early 70's. The basic premise is that as a person attempts to learn a new skill, they progress through each of the four stages prior to attaining some level of mastery of the skill. I first encountered this model in a sales training class for a marketing company I worked for in the late 80's and I remember thinking it had a pretty strong correlation to the level of awareness our prospect base had of the services and solutions we offered. That awareness, or lack thereof, extended to prospects' ability to objectively assess the root causes that made them solid candidates for our services.
I’ve had the good fortune of primarily working with larger clients with the budget and support staff that allow them to experiment with their marketing in a way that elevates long-term success. Recently, I ‘ve been spending a fair amount of time with smaller businesses and a picture is quickly emerging - and it’s one that causes me no small level of angst. The picture is of a sizable digital divide between the haves and have-nots, the enlightened and the uninformed, the successful practitioners and the frustrated masses.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the seven key benefits of social media. My intent in writing that post was to provide an overview of the benefits a business can derive from engaging in social media. I attended a local business networking meeting yesterday and as I listened to the various pitches from business owners about what they offer, it dawned on me that there was a critical gap in their pitches – a gap that I know extends to their social media engagement (for those who use social media – and not surprisingly, quite a few don't). What’s the gap? It’s engagement without intent.