Miracle On The Social Media Street

12/25/2009

Before you go off the grid for the holidays .. or perhaps when you come back on after toasting in 2010 .. imagine a time when there was no Internet or Twitter or blogs or Facebook or even email. It is Christmas 1947 and the CEO of a major retail organization briefs the company's ad department.

  • "No high pressuring and forcing the customer to take something he doesn't want. We'll be known as the helpful store. The friendly store. The store with a heart. The store that places public service ahead of profit. The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before."

Miracle on 34th street No, it's not a new Twitter customer care strategy. But it is an innovative sales program launched in 1947 by Macy's Department Store .. it was a Miracle On 34th Street .. on the silver screen. Customers would not be coerced into buying what they did not want and if another store had a better, less expensive product Macy's would send them to that store.

Fast forward 62 years to 2009. Social media is one of the most exciting marketing strategies we've seen in the last 60+ years. Social media teaches us many lessons. One of the most important for marketers is our business is not all about the brand .. it is all about the customer. As with so many lessons, we seem to keep relearning this one.

In the world of conversational marketing there is no room for high-pressure sales techniques. As Mr. Macy learned we have to take our lead from our customers. Adding a relationship focused social media strategy to your master marketing plan can be a powerful initiative which demonstrates that you place your customers' needs above a one-off sale.

The digital relationships that the people (not departments) who are the heart of your brand can set off a chain reaction. Continuous listening -> which leads to continuous learning -> which leads to a continuous conversations -> which leads to trust -> which leads to loyalty -> which leads to the cash register bells ringing. And every time a cash register bell rings a marketer gets a bonus or gets to keep her job (!).. oops wrong film. Sorry.

Corner grocery store digital relationships that are build not only with you and your customers, but among your customers, could never have been imagined when Kris Kringle entered Macy's in 1947. However, even as we approach 2010, for many organizations open conversations still seem like a Miracle on (insert organization name here) or like the ghost of Xmas future (oops wrong movie again. Sorry.)

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible... consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

As we begin 2010, technology developments spin even faster taking digital marketing into areas that were impossible in '47 or '57 or even '09.

Imagine a site that holds current inventory and pricing, allows for on-line financing and results in better, faster cheaper processing.

Imagine a site that allows for product customization.

Imagine a site where you can start a conversation with a real person about what matters to you regarding a product or service.

Imagine a site where you can talk to a real person who doesn't respond with an FAQ list.

Imagine a site where you can actually help change the direction of a product or service before it's even launched.

Imagine a site where you can include your review of the product, service or customer care.

Imagine a site where you can talk to people about their experiences and learn from each other.

Imagine a company that doesn't close the door (or comment section) to you or your ideas.

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

It's interesting to compare a 1940's film, where finding solutions to customers' problems was perceived as unique, to 2009 where finding solutions to customers' problems is considered ingenious.

The techniques may have changed. New buzz words may be added to the mix. Bells and whistles may be a little louder. However, after all is said and done, the premise remains the same:

-Listen

-Understand

-Add value

-Do what it takes to go the extra mile to delight your customer

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

Toby max santa hats  And with that Max and I wish you a holiday full of joy and all things wonderful in the new year.

Sidebar: A Classic Diva Marketing post based on an article written for AMA Marketing News. 

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Comments

Great insights Toby! Happy Holidays to you and Max :)

Posted by: Ellen (@zaellen) on Dec 25, 2009 5:38:58 PM

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