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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Are you ready for your customers to be your Marketing Dept?

In a service design group Slideshare presentation posted by UK design group Engine, I read the following line:

"The service economy is here, but it's just not very well designed yet."

True, but it’s quickly becoming an understatement.

Sure the service economy is here. >70% of GDP is represented by services. Even in product-based businesses, service and services are the differentiators that separate category leaders from the commoditized also-rans.

Here’s where I’d go farther.

In a service economy enabled by the connectivity of social media, companies need to put the best marketing tools in the hands of front line service employees AND customers themselves in order to prosper.

Unique to services is that the line of production also serves as a company’s primary marketers. The faces providing the service experience are the face of the brand. And because the “product” is intangible, customers’ only reference is the feeling they were left with after having used a service. What they say to others will be determined by the outcome of the service and how they were treated while receiving it.

Social media has connected us all. It has it enabled a greater depth of interaction between companies and the customer they serve, and a MUCH greater connectivity between past and prospective users of your service.

Instead of allocating marketing budgets to all of the traditional activities, companies need to be spending time, effort and capital on putting the best marketing tools in the hands of the people best suited to market the service - front line service employees and customers themselves.

2 comments:

Chris Haines said...

A company that does this well is Bonobos (www.bonobos.com, @bonobos)

Sara said...

Exactly! Customer service is word-of-mouth advertising! It's what I'm hoping to get across in my blog.