In an ongoing dialogue I am having with Mack Collier (from Viral Garden and nice guy despite our differences of opinion and his overuse of CAPITALS to emphasize his points) over at Marketing Profs Daily Fix, I push the idea of social media and new platforms for conversation being just the latest incantation of regular conversations and feedback companies pretty much had before.
Apparently in the minds of the newly self-anointed gurus, people never actually communicated before Facebook, Twitter and the Internet 2.0 in general. Companies pushed seemingly unwanted and ugly objects onto unsuspecting customers who bought blindly and silently. These were the dark days before “conversation”, “viral marketing”, “buzz”, “social media” and “iProducts”. The world was in black and white (but not in a cool way) and people didn’t have the idea of talking to each other about what products they bought or what services they used.
Smart companies have always based their success on having a good product, adapted to the market and targeted to reach the corresponding consumer. From the Model T Ford to the iPhone, companies have needed to respond to their customers and react through the evolution of the products. Yes, companies who don’t do this fail. It’s true now as it was true then. There are millions of great ways to provide interest and information between companies and customers and of course using “new” technology is the most recent therefore the most shiny (people love shiny stuff).
PS. This is cool (and perfectly illustrates my point). Teach your kids the basics of economics the way you learned them – have a lemonade stand! We made the stand on a table in front of the house, your kids can do it on the iPhone. Same idea, same lessons learned (except Steve Jobs associates his company with learning, kids, sharing information and economics).
Yes, it’s smart.