Monday, January 05, 2009

Stop reacting, and start listening, to customer online feedback

I generally like this post from Matt Rhodes, my fellow Futurelabber ("How to react if somebody writes about your brand online"), but I have a bone to pick with the premise.

One of the biggest mistakes marketers are making in social media now is focusing on reacting. They are taking lessons learned from political campaigns and applying them to their relationships to the public. It's a misfit. Political campaigns are adversarial. If your relationship with the public is that way, you have bigger problems than what people say about you on Twitter.

Reacting as strategy is a last, desperate attempt to deploy the marketer's favorite tool, "messaging," into a connected marketplace. As Doc Searls wrote, "There is no market for your messages."

Rather than a futile tit-for-tat, your post to my counterpost competition to establish the preeminence of a company's message in the networked marketplace, how about listening to what customers are saying, and taking it to heart? Thinking about it, perhaps? And, if warranted, a respectful, measured contribution to the dialogue? It can be done. Ask Comcast, and Dell, for starters.

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