It’s been all the talk in the last day or so: Time magazine has named “you” their person of the year for 2006. Sure, Time gets a lot of publicity each time they publish their annual issue with a different person on the cover, and they are getting it this time.
On this one, feedback is definitely mixed. Is Time finally embracing the blogger culture? Is this old school trying to grasp new school as mentioned by Ann’s post? Is it just a publicity stunt as discussed by Mack’s post? Is Time missing the boat, as put forward by Ben, in that the real “you” is only the one-percenters, with the rest of us in the digital grandstands?
Does it matter? No. What matters is what companies are going to do about it.
Will companies start to take a “Customers Rock!” attitude as a result of this story? Will they actually listen to their customers and engage them in the conversation? Most customer conversations today are en-masse surveys or customer focus groups, neither of which tell companies anything about “you”. These methods tell them about people who they think might be like “you” but aren’t really “you.” Anyway, these are not even conversations; they are all one-sided.
I like what Lewis Green suggests to organizations about how to market to customers. From his post:
Continue to reach out with an integrated marketing strategy, but not one that talks about your business but one that discusses your customer’s wants, needs and desires and why your products and services may fill those criteria.
Let’s hope the focus on You, the real customer, is not a flash in the pan story for the companies you do business with but a wake-up call to start engaging You in a real dialogue about your wants, needs, and desires. Better yet, let’s demand it.