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In case you missed this… October 15, 2007

Posted by Elana Anderson in Customer Experience, Marketing.
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We’ve been talking for years now about consumers are in control and marketers need to change their approach. Marketers need to get to know their customer — listen, interact, establish a dialog. A colleague at Forrester turned me on to The Breakup video by Geert Desager a couple of days after it was published back in May. I showed the video in June at Cheetahmail‘s Client Summit and the audience loved it. I’m still running across lots of you who haven’t seen it. So, if you haven’t yet had the pleasure, take a peek — it’s hilarious.

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1. Carol - October 16, 2007

Hi Elana

I’m going to take a controversial view. I’m not sure all customers want a relationship or dialog with their suppliers — some maybe yes (as per your post on whether or not a company is selling a considered purchase or not). They do want products and services that meet their needs, and marketing that is relevant (or at a minimum interesting!) but they don’t always want to dialog or be bothered spending much time thinking about us (marketers/products) at all. I think it depends on the customer, the product, etc.
I also, personally, am a little tied of all the analogies to “personal relationships” (men/women mostly). I generally try to route this out of the marketing that Unica does (but I miss some of the ones that go out).
Just my 2, controversial, cents.

2. Elana Anderson - October 18, 2007

Hi Carol – I don’t think your view is that controversial and I appreciate the sentiment. I certainly have no desire to have a relationship of dialog with the company that I buy toilet paper from. As a working mom, my time is precious and I have NO time to waste with providers of most of the commodities I buy. Thanks goodness my husband does the shopping too!

That said, [as you know] all consumers are not cut from the same cloth. Some consumer goods firms, for example, have been very successful identifying segments of similarly minded customers and actually developing a relationship in which both the buyer and the marketer benefit. P&G’s Home Made Simple is a good example. Like P&G, the companies that are doing this successfully are aren’t simply hawking their products (look at the at the HomeMadeSimple site and you won’t even see a single product above the fold). They focus on the common interests of the customers that seek to engage. Customers get tips on managing their household, decorating, healthy living and that sort of thing as well as coupons to try new products (but, again, the product marketing appears secondary). P&G gets valuable market research information and a group of customers that are convinced that the P&G is genuinely interested in them.

To translate this specifically to your situation (high tech software), you certainly have special interest groups within your client base. You could develop communities that are focused on topics like: marketing process & productivity, marketing analytics, campaign effectiveness, etc… You could provide content, facilitate dialog (e.g., best practice sharing, tips for taking your usage of the software to the next level, etc.), and provide networking opportunities.Clearly your clients would benefit from this. But the benefits are there for your company as well. Great insight into how your clients are really using the software, great insight for product development planning, etc.


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