I was recently asked to participate in a review of Greg Verdino‘s book MicroMarketing: Get Big Results by Thinking and Acting Small This is not to be an ordinary book review, however, although I enjoy doing those on occasion. I was asked to participate in a chapter-by-chapter review. Per the request, “In essence, the chapter-by-chapter review process is a way for us to offer experts in each area the opportunity to review chapters that correlate directly with their area(s) of expertise and interest.” Great! This is a customer-focused approach. I was asked to review Chapter 7, From Reach to Relationships, as this is the chapter that relates the most closely to my Customers Rock! blog. (Full disclosure: I was sent a complimentary copy of microMarketing.)
The Concept of microMarketing
Greg’s book endeavors to help us move our thinking from mass marketing to microMarketing. He shares that mass communications are no longer hitting their target, and it is better to offer the right thing to the right person than to try and offer what you have to everyone. Since I have a background working with Peppers & Rogers Group, this is not at all a foreign concept to me. For years, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers have talked about the death of mass marketing and the new world of 1to1 Marketing. As you will see in Greg’s book, the time is really right for this type of marketing to make a huge impact through a fresh, individualized channel, social media.
More Than Interesting Tweets
Chapter 7, From Reach to Relationships takes this concept into the realm of the customer and their social networks. Companies can best reach a customer when they are able to make meaningful connections with them, which means they must understand and meet that customer’s needs. Just being a nice person representing a brand on the other end of a Twitter handle won’t cut it. Neither will campaigns that strive to amass thousands of new “followers” or “fans”. As I tell my students at UCSD, social media is not about campaigns – it is about relationships.
Greg then goes on to discuss the research published by the Institute for Public Relations on the types of relationships companies can have with customers, urging the type of relationship that engenders loyalty, which leads to evangelism about a brand or a product. This reminds me of the concept of energizing customers found in the book Groundswell – giving customers what they need to really help spread the word about the brand. The right customers will raise their hands and volunteer to do this, not because they have any kind of monetary incentive to do so but because they truly believe in the brand. Zappos customers, for example, are encouraged to do this through emails sent to them encouraging reviews after a purchase, but Zappos customers evangelize the brand because of the great customer service they receive.
The rest of the chapter focuses on two mini case studies of companies, Panasonic (Living in HD program) and Wal-Mart (Eleven Moms program) that have focused on micro-relationships with their customers, finding the right people to help share about the brand with their own personal networks and online communities. What I like about both of these examples is that they focus on individuals rather than mass demographic segments. I believe there is an opportunity to take this even further, beyond microMavens and to the everyday consumer or business person. Greg closes the chapter with a short discussion of McDonald’s Moms Online Hubs, who is doing exactly that with regular moms in the USA and Canada, providing them a place to blog and be heard. These types of relationships can be built over time, with some effort from a company, and they do get results. The challenge for organizations large and small is to determine who the right people are to connect-with and enroll into your marketing programs.
To Summarize This Chapter:
– Don’t fixate on the numbers
– Look for ways to strengthen relationships with your “hand raisers”
– Empower your customers, and they will spread the word for you
Thank you, Greg, for the opportunity to review your book and to begin to digest it within the context of building customer relationships. You rock!
More Chapter By Chapter microMarketing Reviews
Chapter 1/9-20: Adam Strout
Chapter 69/27: Ari Herzog