Is the most memorable quote from Stan Rapp at the ‘Engaging Times’ Summit held in Chicago this week:
“Today’s consumers are the most narcissistic in history. We’re all looking after brand I.” another from Stan.
“Don’t bother wasting money on social media until your organization can competently handle a customer phone call or email.” Don Peppers
The first is a succinct observation on fact that millions of us now manage our own “I” brand, primarily through Facebook. The second, a warning to those who think this funky stuff looks too cool for school and want to jump straight in.
The link between the two is not just that they are from two of the most important thinkers in marketing in the last 25 years, it’s that those of us with “I’ brands are all too willing to trip companies up when they let us down, don’t deliver and disappoint us. And this negativity can be devastating. Just ask Tiscali Talk Talk and SouthWest Airlines.
Here’s another quote: “Customers wouldn’t feel the need to embarrass us en masse, if our customer service channels weren’t so completely broken.” Bob Knorpp, The Beancast
The marketing buzz in the US right now is about two things – listening and engaging. By connecting the two, businesses and organisations can respond to the conversations their customers and prospects are having. That’s great. But, the real winners are those who have taken an additional, crucial first step; accepting that the world has irrevocably changed forever and that they no longer control the message.
It’s not a comfortable thing for businesses and marketers to acknowledge. But those who think they are in control are doomed. Maggie thinks that by turning her toy steering wheel in the backseat while Marge is in the front, she is driving the car. Some marketers are labouring under the same illusion as little Maggie Simpson, and she never grows up!
The good news is that those who get it – really get it and are prepared to accept the letting go that this entails, can win and win big.
While @ThatKevinSmith and his 1.6m followers are destroying SouthWest Airlines because he was too fat, United are issuing extra airmiles to people tweeting about delayed flights from the departure lounge. By the way that’s ‘delayed’ not ‘adjusted’ as SouthWest refer to their changes in flight schedules!
The thousands of employees that make up Best Buy’s twelpforce are answering customer service issues minute by minute under some common sense and open ended guidelines – if you don’t know, don’t publish, never use the customers name etc. etc.
They have wiped out Circuit City and made Radioshack a virtual irrelevance. Best Buy are now in UK – be afraid!
So whilst there are huge opportunities to grow sales, increase web traffic, develop new products, carry out research, or whatever your objectives are through social channels, the first place to look is your own backyard.
Are all of your customers happy all of the time? Of course not. What aren’t they happy about? Address these things first. Turn negativity to positivity without asking for proof of purchase first!
Whilst the Old Spice campaign was brilliant in its design and execution, don’t get carried away. Make sure your house is in order before you dive in.