Customer Participation and Social Media Rocker Chris Brogan

participationThis past fall, I was invited to speak on a panel about content marketing at the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Mixer. While there, I spent a lot of time talking to my fellow speakers, as well as the attendees hailing from companies large and small, about what social media means to customer loyalty. If we think about the “4 Ps of marketing” (product, price, place, and promotion), they are all still applicable to the new media world we are working in today.  What some are calling the 5th P, participation, seems to fit very nicely with a social media model.

However, I believe that participation applies to much more than just social media!  If we get our customers to participate with us on an ongoing basis, we learn so much more about them than we could in any other arena.  This will lead to (on the customer’s part) trust, better engagement, preference, word of mouth, and ultimately brand loyalty. 

I also had the opportunity to talk about this subject to Chris Brogan at the MarketingProfs event. We discussed why those who want to build a relationship with their customers should consider using social media. And not using it just to talk; using it to finally, truly listen to customers. Chris recently wrote about the difference between having an audience and having a community on his blog. I think an audience is something that you talk at; a community is something that you talk with and participate in.  Chris was nice enough to put his thoughts on video for me as I asked him to talk about social media and customer loyalty. (Note: the conference was in Arizona, hence the cacti – and the slight wind noise)


Here at Customers Rock!, I endeavor to have a place where we talk together about taking care of customers. I realize I have not been carrying on my side of the conversation a lot lately as I have been heads-down working on my new book. I will hold up my side of the bargain and be here to talk with you more frequently – now it is your turn to join in! Thank you all so much for being part of this, and many thanks to you, Chris, for your valuable time. 

(Image credit: Paha_L)

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11 Responses

  1. I’m a real estate agent in Toronto and I have to agree with your views. I haven’t called it “participation” in my business – I have called it “interaction” – but it seems to come down to the same thing. Good customer service means listening and responding. For me, that might mean listening to a buyer’s needs in a home and then really researching to find that perfect house. For someone in the retail industry, that might mean looking to find exactly what a customer is searching for. In the past, I was told to “listen” to customers, but I don’t think that really captures the essence of what is being discussed as well as “participation” or “interaction.” You can “listen” to a customer, nod your head, smile, and still completely fail to deliver. I certainly prefer the idea of “participation.”

  2. Becky Carroll

    Glad you liked it, Shanatu.

    REA in Toronto – Thanks for pointing out the difference between listening and participation. I like participation because it is 2-way. We get our customers to engage with us/interact with us, and we learn something new about them in each interaction. The most successful companies take those learnings and apply them to action more quickly than their competitors.

  3. When all the business companies understand that the customer should be on first place , the world would become better place 😉

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting article.

  4. My father was a pioneer in marketing and taught me at a young age that the “Customer is King”. Since then (and I’m not soo young anymore) that philosophy continues to drive my thinking and approach. Active listening, participating and interacting with customers, stake holders and advisors is not only essential but basically will define who survives going forward. The communication mechanisms are so much more dynamic, easily accessible, and cheap now that customers have a true voice; and they are using it. This kind of opportunity to personalize our relationships with our customers should be a marketers dream. The challenge is turning these relationships and knowledge into quick response and action. As a for profit marketer, moving into a non profit leadership role makes this even more complicated since “marketing” is a foreign concept and social media is not even a thought.
    Any advice, help in the non – profit social media world would be appreciated.

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