Hey Marketing…Take a Listen

Listen first.  This is the key to successful social media engagement for the enterprise.  No argument here.  It makes perfect sense.  How can you deliver the personalized, delightful experience your customer desires, if you don’t first listen for understanding?

I’m just curious why it took the proliferation of social media to give this concept validity.  Marketers have had at their disposal the voice of the customer for, well, as long as there has been a customer with a voice.  Sure, marketers have conducted focus groups.  Surveyed.  Segmented.  Surveyed some more.  From the customer’s point of view however, all that information seems to have historically fallen on deaf ears.  She still feels like she is being shouted at; being told that the company knows best what products she needs.   But, in fairness to marketers, how much can you really learn from assembling a focus group a few times a year consisting of customers that you think may fit the demographic profile you’re after?     

So, along comes the social web where customers and prospects and even non-customers are in a continuous conversation about your company and your brands; their wants, needs and desires.  What a wealth of information!  So, it was decided that the best approach to harnessing this treasure trove was to first shut up and listen.

But what if your customers aren’t there? 

Remember Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz?  If your a budding old codger like me, of course you do.  Dorothy’s problem was she was always looking for greener pastures, somewhere over the rainbow, perhaps in the social web.  When, in fact, all she ever needed and wanted was right there under her nose the whole time. 

If your a marketer feeling like Dorothy, ask someone at your next product strategy meeting where one of your company’s contact centers is located.  Take a trip there.  Sit down in a cubical, put on a head set and take a listen. 

You’ve had a perpetual focus group right here at home all the time. 


  1. Hi Barry, so glad that @WriteToCompany turned me on to your site. Thank you for bringing up this great question. Yes, this information has been there long before SM.

    I've been constantly amazed working in the trade show industry that marketers tend to leave a trade show hours after it opens. Booth looks good, check; staff all here, check; brochures laid out nicely, check; ok, time to get back to the office to work on the RFP for focus group.

    Come on people, your focus group is the thousands of people at the conference/trade show. Listen to them, talk with them, ask questions!

  2. Traci,
    Thanks for stopping by. And, among other awesome things he does, Write the Company connected us. So glad he did. My focus is on the contact center,so I didn't pick up on your angle. But, you're right on point. There are a series of "traditional" channels through which valuable voice of the customer insights are available to the marketer.

    So, before we run off and launch into Twitter or create an on line community for co-creation and ideation, lets do something with the information that customers have alread availed us to.

    So glad to have connected with you. Look forward to hearing your insights on how do trade events better, connect them to financial outcomes and make them a more effective customer relationship management vehicle.

Speak Your Mind