Let customers do the marketing

The rise of bloggers commenting on their experiences of services and products is changing the rules of the game for marketers.

by Forbes
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Some may still wish to control the way in which the market views its products through mass marketing. But such techniques are no longer as effective as they once were.

American Airlines could spend $1 million on a TV ad and get only a hundred top customers as a result. If a blogger posts a bad experience he has had, this can cause no end of difficulty. Verizon discovered this to its cost when an angry customer filed a blog to complain about being over-charged, which attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors.

The answer for marketers is stop trying to control everything. Efforts to bully bloggers into liking their products had been proven to fail. For instance, Microsoft was accused of trying to bribe bloggers when it sent laptops to some of them to promote its new Vista operating system.

Instead of trying to control customer debate, companies should instead focus on making the experience or the product or service worth talking about in glowing terms. In this way, they can turn the marketing megaphone around and let their best customers do the marketing.

JetBlue airlines, for instance, gained customers through word of mouth because the experience of using the airline was so enjoyable. When the airline let its customers down after being caught unprepared in a snowstorm, its CEO David Needleman immediately apologised to customers and thus helped to minimise the damage.

So overall the message to marketers: stop being control freaks and start making something customers want to talk about.

Your product, Your customer by Seth Godwin
Forbes, 7 May 2007
Review by Morice Mendoza

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