Many Brands Continue to Act “Me First”

Going direct with customer conversations means that organizations can connect with the source of their bread and butter. This is a tremendous opportunity to gain contextual insights, understand when your brand is relevant, what to listen for, and what people respond to.

The upside is selling more to your current customers.

It's marketing at its best. Where the product may have little that sets it apart from that of other providers, responsive communication and dialogue earn you attention, and share of wallet. People will make the effort to switch with that upside.

Intellectually, we all know the best recommendation comes from a satisfied customer.

Online recommendations also come from a non (or not yet) customer who is impressed by seeing your behavior and actions toward customers. Yet, many businesses are still waiting around until something goes wrong. Even then, they hold out getting involved or show they don't care about your situation, until after the damage has occurred.

What's worse, customer relations and support groups are working against your marketing programs by demonstrating the slogan really means "me first."

Fake caring until you can do, if you must. I recognize that many internal structures need to be fixed, processes simplified, and the right people hired and put in place — indeed, you get what you pay for and what you encourage, too.

As I'm preparing for our conversation about influence, I continue to come across examples of the negative kind.

Take for example the disconnect between what people are saying about Virgin Mobile on the company's site, and elsewhere about its service. As he says in his bio, Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence (SMI), a consulting and research firm focused on the Internet's influence on offline consumer purchase behavior. On the phone with Virgin Mobile, he is only a customer. 

It is easier than ever to identify where the process and people problems are today. Organizations must want to take care of them to solve issues. As you can see from the video I included with this post, there are people who are worth having in your organization [YouTube link 10:03']

If you watch the video, you'll see a reverse engineered version of what customers see and experience when they call brands that continue to act "me first." Are you noticing and rewarding those people who are doing right by customers? Do you see how that is also marketing?


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0 responses to “Many Brands Continue to Act “Me First””

  1. That video has got to be the greatest prank ever pulled off. But the larger point is important too…I think that sometimes companies get caught up in “being official” and folks who deal directly with customers think they have to speak a special language. Just talk to people the way you want someone to talk to you. End of story. Thanks again Valeria!

  2. I immediately thought of this cartoon by Tom Fishburne on the Antisocial Network.
    There often seems to be this huge disconnect between an organization’s social media goals and the execution. It comes down to a number of issues from training and follow through, lack of strategy and priority – or worse, put into the hands of a marketing intern.
    I often hear comments like “well, we need to be on Facebook so we’ll put up a page and talk about what we’re doing here”. Yes, in February of 2011 I still hear this. I don’t think brands see the damage done with poor attempts at social media. Nor do they completely understand the potential of social media done brilliantly.

  3. I watched it a couple of times because it was so good. I continue to marvel and perfectly approachable human beings turning into robots inside the walls of an organization. Then I remember what happens when you’re a non conformist and understand.

  4. It’s almost as if execution were this foreign concept, a slippery situation, something to be embarrassed about. I also see many organizations thinking they don’t need a senior level person for such a role, which becomes then a self fulfilling prophecy on the lack-of-results end. The reason why brands don’t see the problem is that failed marketing campaigns were never an issue. This is different though, more personal. People will not come back.

  5. That container prank was fabulous!! I loved watching that video! But come on, I want the chocolates with the container logo on them!
    I like what you said about faking caring. I preach being genuine, and authentic, but if you’re trying to get to that place, you might learn some good habits if you’re faking it – You’re practicing for good customer service skills for tomorrow’s customers.

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