Like it or not, we've entered a new era in the relationship between brands and customers. Old assumptions have given way to new realities -- but as marketers, how well do we recognize and respond to these changes? Are we picking up the signals our customers are sending us? Are we relying on approaches from the past and simply hoping for the best? Are we doing everything we can to create relationships that our customers want rather than tolerate? There are no definitive answers to these types of questions, but they provide us a lens through which to look at the ways we work -- and to consider how we can work better -- with our customers.
To connect effectively, marketers need to do three things:
- Know the customer -- who they are, what they're interested in, what types of messages, channels, and devices are best for reaching them
- Listen to the customer -- respond to their signals to understand how they feel about their part in the advertising relationship
- Respect the customer -- act on the combination of customer knowledge and attitudes in order to avoid acting in ways that will alienate the audience
These may sound like very simple concepts -- and they are -- but that doesn't mean they're not important. Now, more than ever, marketers need to create tighter bonds with their customers. They need to recognize that their customers have a voice and the social media tools to amplify that voice, so listening to what customers are saying and responding respectfully is vital.