Sunday, September 30, 2012

Meet Them Where They Are, Then Move Them Where You Want Them to Go

Customers aren’t going to take the time to tell you what they like.

At least, not directly.

The problem with focus groups, feedback forms, customer satisfaction surveys, digital suggestion boxes and online questionnaires – besides the fact that they’re tedious and inane and most people only participate out of guilt or bribery – is that the data isn’t organic.

People tend to act better when they know they’re being watched, so when answering questions about their experience, most will just give you fives across the board, take their free cookie and get on with their lives.

But if the goal is to deliver more personalized service, you have to reverse the interaction.

Instead of artificially squeezing customers into your marketing plan, you have to join them first, participate in their world and celebrate how you fit into their lives.

Not the other way around.

You meet them where they are, then move them where we want to go.

Pinterest is the ultimate example. Through the process of social sharing, sensational imagery, joyful discovery and indulgence curation, aka, pinning stuff they like, customers are telling companies everything they need to know.

And that’s the greatest advantage of social media. The ability to listen to your customers in their natural habitat.

Pinterest might be housewife porn, but it’s also the wish list of the web. And it’s certainly cheaper and more effective than asking customers to fill out some stupid online survey for the chance to win a free cruise.