Sunday, February 14, 2010

Getting Customers to do the Advertising

Having almost a week off because of the snow gave me some time to finally catch up on some reading. I just finished 'I love you more than my dog': Five decisions that drive extreme customer loyalty in good times and bad by Jeanne Bliss, a customer service expert. The book argues that customers will naturally want to sell your product/service when your organization is genuinely guided by principles of putting customers first. Jeanne Bliss notes that this can be difficult for many organizations to actually implement because it requires a radical shift in how business is done -- It requires asking "Do my customers even want a chair?" before asking "Since we make chairs, what kind of chair should we make make?"

As Erik van Ommeren pointed out during his Me the Media lecture at Towson last fall, companies and other organizations are no longer driving how the marketplace thinks about their products/services. Potential customers are developing their opinions based on what other customers are saying. (Customer reviews are king.) In order for companies and other organizations to regain some control of how their products or services are seen in the marketplace, they need to get their customers to be willing to sell their products/services. If Jeanne Bliss is right, getting this to happen on a large scale won't just require marketing executives to learn how to write compelling tweets; it will require a massive organizational overhaul. Those of you in advertising may have your work cut out for you...