A reader fans the embers of a simmering issue with us and that is company's inability to engage in conversation with its customer base. We're not saying all communication has to be a conversation because there are certainly times when a little one way shouting is the best way the market. But with the proliferation of online forums and message boards for every conceivable topic, brand and product, it's a mystery why marketers have not jumped on this goldmine of customer contact.
If a company were to spend its entire marketing budget to create a "consumer conversation" department, we'd venture to say the ROI would far exceed that of a traditional marketing campaign. As we've written before:
If a customer were to say, "the hose on my Kenmore vacuum always gets twisted because the connection between the handle and the hose doesn't turn," the correct response is "I'll run over to Jim's (hose designer) office and see what he can do and get back to you" and not "Well, we've designed it that way so that the hose won't lose too much suction."
Give a shit. Basically, that's what this boils down to. Consumers are not a vast collection of numbers on a spreadsheet or a nice collection of 5 categories with silly marketing names like "early, suburban adopter." They are people with real concerns that will, ultimately, lead to a better product. Listen and give a shit. That's good marketing medicine.