How Companies Can and Should Act Like People

This particular marketing blog was started to address new trends and offer advice to companies marketing in a new age of consumers, digitally savvy and connected consumers. And in the digital age, the rules for how companies “should” act are changing. And the companies that are beginning to act more like individuals, people with their own personalities, are winning.

The old school rules stated that companies had to be “formal” and “professional”. There was a distance between corporations and their consumers. And there was a clear hierarchy.

Today, consumers are on the same level as the companies they purchase from. There is a stronger sense of ownership and familiarity with the brands we encounter every day. And companies can take the lead in creating that bond by employing some common sense approaches to communication in the digital realm.

Companies can:

  • Interact directly with consumers on Facebook and Twitter
  • Use less formal language in all web copy
  • Personalize all emails with subscribers’ first names
  • Promote employees and use the real names of executives on the website and in letters and other online copy
  • Share stories and content from their fans and customers
  • Involve customers in new product discussions
  • Inform the public of updates and news from the company in a timely manner

Companies should:

  • Do all of the above

Marketers as the Facilitators of Communication

Marketers know what it takes to sell their product or service. We build it into all of our ads. We build it into our websites. And if we had our way, we’d build it into the look, feel, and sound of every piece of communication to potential customers.

This blog was originally started to cover all the aspects of what I call, marketing communications. And one of the most important aspects of communication as it relates to the marketing realm today is what other members of the company are saying about your products or services.

In a small company, the amount of people who interact with potential customers might be limited. But the larger a company is, the greater the chance that people outside of the marketer’s direct management are dealing with customers.

Most likely, there is a customer service team, a sales team, potentially a fulfillment team, etc. who all deal directly with customers, and more importantly, with potential customers.

As a marketer, it’s important that you take the lead in relaying the message throughout the company. The marketing message should become part of the corporate culture. It should become part of any new employee’s indoctrination into the organization. And as it shifts or changes, those changes should be communicated directly to the frontlines.

One of the reasons marketers make great CEO’s and business owners in today’s world is that marketing often facilitates, or guides most other facets of an organization or business process. And it’s our job to make that so.

Consumer Thinking as a Marketer’s Best Friend

As consumers, we make many different decisions on a given day. We may choose to shop at one retailer instead of another, online instead of off, product A instead of product B. The reasons we make those decisions will vary, from decision to decision, and from person to person.

It’s the marketers job to try to hone in on those decisions, and even better, hone in on the reasons behind them. Once we do, we isolate common themes and figure out what most people are thinking when they make the decision to choose our product over the competition, or the other way around.

We then take that information and use it in our messages, rephrasing it to tell consumers what they want to hear.

For example, I wrote a post a few weeks ago about Verizon Fios and their ads about the speed of their network compared to others. Verizon knows that many customers that are unhappy with their internet are unhappy because it’s too slow. And so they use that knowledge to deliver a message that is more likely to trigger something in a consumer’s mind, more likely to get their attention, because it’s something that they have thought about in the past.

It’s amazing to me that so many companies talk about this benefit and that benefit of their product or service with no idea what it is that consumers want to hear. Even if you can’t afford expensive marketing firms, surveys, or focus groups, you have a whole world of consumers at your fingertips. Social media has broken down those barriers between companies and consumers.

Want to know what your customers are thinking when they buy your product? Ask them.

"I" of the Consumer Week in Review

Another week, another group of posts for you to sink your teeth into. This past week we saw the start of a championship series featuring Lebron James and Dirk Nowitzki, a tornado watch in New York City, and some Republican presidential hopefuls join and drop out of the 2012 race.

And if you were busy all week, here are some new posts that you might have missed:

Happy Sunday!

"I" of the Consumer Week in Review

Another weekend coming to a close, another week about to begin. And the blog goes on. This past week we saw a guest post from Peter Sheahan, and a note on how to SELL. I hope that everyone is enjoying the Memorial Day weekend!

Here are some blog posts you may have missed this week:

  1. The Rules of Marketing
  2. The Evolution of a Great Idea (Guest Post)
  3. Selling something? Then SELL it
  4. Learn from Advertisements

Don’t ever miss another post! Subscribe to receive “I” of the Consumer updates every day.

Happy Sunday!