Tuesday, May 22, 2007

You say you love me, but... (By Jarvis)

The funny, short video below says a lot about the state of relations today between marketers and customers. It’s a break-up scene. Ms. Consumer wants a divorce from Mr. Advertiser. And just like the dissolution of many relationships, trust has broken down.

Some of “Ms. Consumer’s” grievances:

“You’re saying you love me, but you’re not behaving like you love me. You’re not genuine.”

“You do all the talking…. It’s not exactly a dialogue.”

The video exposes a fundamental issue for companies looking to build trusted customer relationships: We now live in a “show me” marketplace where our words are increasingly disbelieved.

Piper Jaffray’s recent analyst report on the new advertising ecosystem (The User Revolution) highlights some of the problems plaguing advertisers.

• The effectiveness of one-way advertising messaging has been collapsing around the world. Its influence on customers is more and more suspect.

• Content is increasingly controlled by users, who are either designing their own or mixing information sources to their preference.

• The consumer decision process is changing radically. In the new age of information transparency, products and services are selected based on expert reviews or peer recommendation, not because of the marketing or sales message.

And if you’re a business-to-business marketer and think you’re immune from all this, think again. A recent study sought to identify the trusted sources of information among sophisticated corporate technology buyers. Only 3% picked the vendor itself as the most trusted source of information. Analysts took top billing.

So what’s the fix for marketers? Better spruce up your influence-building skills on all levels.

Do agencies get it? Many think not. We can report, however, that this clip was passed along to the Garage from the folks at Allen & Gerritsen. So at least one agency gets it.

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