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“I’m still growing and helping organizations evolve strategically alongside an ever changing media landscape.”

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For a number of years, Marisa Peacock, principal and Chief Social Business Strategist has worked for non-profits, independent schools and small businesses, managing and producing websites, multimedia, and online content. While the goals and objectives may differ across these industries, she found a few similarities – they were understaffed, underfunded and trying to keep up with an ever-evolving media. From online publishing to social media to mobile to multimedia, it’s hard to know exactly what to do and how to do it.

The Strategic Peacock helps organizations create and implement online strategies that appropriately target the right audience with the right information using the right media.

Marisa Peacock, The Strategic Peacock, LLC - Principal

MO: What inspired you to start your own business?

Marisa: I had left a job at a small web firm and within days of sending out the all-points-bulletin to my network, I received numerous calls and emails from past clients and colleagues asking if I’d consider consulting for them, helping them to better understand social media and develop a strategy for their small business and non-profits. It was completely organic and after a few months, I’d collected a handful for steady, loyal clients, many of whom I still work with. Two years later, I’m still growing and helping organizations evolve strategically alongside an ever changing media landscape.

MO: What was the most challenging aspect of developing The Strategic Peacock?

Marisa: Narrowing down what I do and what I don’t do. I have always been a “Jane of all trades” so I’m very comfortable multi-tasking and capable of doing a variety of projects and tasks. However, it’s just not practical to do it all. You have to sit down and figure what you do best and do it. As such, it’s helped me become a better collaborator with others who I have refer projects out to because it’s outside my scope of work. I think the hardest thing for any small business owner is saying “no” because you’re afraid to lose business. But saying “no” can open a lot more doors because you know who you are.

MO: What’s your favorite social media tool?

Marisa: Twitter has remained the strongest tool in my arsenal, but I really enjoy using Instagram, Foursquare, and Pinterest, too.

MO: Why do you love the concept of the empowered employee?

Marisa: I am very inspired by the empowered employee. I am that worker, who is always finding new ways to be productive and collaborate with others. Employees at the ground level know how to get work done, know what can be better and know what isn’t working. There is so much to learn from them, and they’ve been ignored. Until now. Thanks to the consumerization of technology, there’s nothing stopping new tools and innovations from seeping into the workplace. Companies are foolish to ignore it or censor it. More and more companies are embracing social, collaborative tools because of the empowered employee and as a result are cutting costs, becoming more innovative and adding value to their products and services. What’s not to love?

MO: What are some good ways to engage customers through social media?

Marisa: The first thing to remember is to be social. It’s a conversation, a discussion, a debate. It’s about sharing information. Asking questions is always a good start to engage, but the questions have to be relevant to both company and consumer. If the company doesn’t care about the answer, what’s the point? And if customers don’t feel as if they’re being listened to, it’s not effective. Transparency is key to engagement. The more personable and open people are the more trusting others will be. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Don’t hide or ignore negative feedback. Learn from it.

MO: How has your role as a senior reporter at CMSWire.com, contributed to your understanding of the customer experience?

Marisa: Customer experience has emerged as a hot topic recently. But it’s always been there – it’s just that tools like social media can help us enhance the way we interact with customers. Everyone from the big software company to the local bagel shop is focused on customer experience, as they should be. But the customer experience is no longer limited to a website or in-store visit. By talking with vendors, reviewing research and exploring new tools, I’ve learned how to better manage all the touch points along the consumer lifecycle and how businesses of all sizes can better serve their customers and build stronger communities.

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