Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Marketing Motto: Love 'em or Leave 'em

John Winsor had a post on Corante about customer love. A marketing executive for an outdoor products company was surprised to find that he was uncomfortable with customers who could drop $500 for some gear and that he "loved" a young river guide who came to the store to return his gear.

The story taught me first to read more carefully before I send comments back to a blog writer ... (I got his story wrong in my first reading, and my comment missed the mark). But it still led me to the same conclusion regarding the marketing executive's haunting question about corporate love:

This story is at the basis for why so many companies struggle now that the customer is in charge. It turns out that customers all along were just a means to an end. Profit. We didn’t really care and it showed in a thousand little ways. We wrote into our company vision statements that we put customers first. But we acted differently. Now the shift. Those that fail to make it will be revealed and succumb to the marketplace.

You can spend a few million dollars on CRM software and never be a company that cares about your customers. The few million just exposes you more quickly as a fraud. When we get to the point that we truly love our customers, we will become more relevant to their needs. And they will love us in return.

This marketing executive would do better finding a job with a company that serves river guides so he could "love" them and provide them products and services that are relevant to their needs. Or as another commentator to Winsor's blog posting, maybe the marketing executive should refocus on river guides as an audience he could love -- develop products for them and be proud of who he is and what he does.

Corporate love ... the act of truly caring about your customer ... is at the basis of contextual marketing.

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