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Brands Need 'Consumer Conversation Department'
Posted by Adriana Cronin-Lukas
Monday, July 5, 2004 @ 04:07 PM
TrackBack (0) | Marketing

Adrants responds to a blog post by Tom Hespos of Underscore Marketing that discussed product placement and integration:

...what really amounts to fear and laziness on the marketer's part to engage with the consumer in a meaningful conversation and suggest the creation of simple brand-hosted message boards and discussion lists the draw consumers into a conversation about a company's product. Certainly, bad things will be said about any given product but wouldn't a smart marketer want to know everything about their product including what might be wrong with it?

I'd go a step further and suggest the creation of an entirely new discipline headed by a director of customer/consumer conversation/dialog. The sole responsibility if this person/department would be to converse and listen to the consumers with no interest in selling product. Sure, product management, marketing, sales and customer service touch this area but not enough to make it effective. Each of those disciplines has a goal that is counter to having an open, honest and friendly discussion with a customer of prospective consumer.

This is not achieved though doing surveys or hosting focus groups or through agency account planning efforts. It is achieved by talking to customers/consumers as one would if they were discussing a product at a cookout or dinner party. This is not stuff that can be rolled up neatly into a spreadsheet of a PowerPoint presentation. This is roll-the-sleeves-up, get-dirty-with-the-customer conversation.

I am getting to like AdRants more and more. Listen to this rant:

Give a shit. Basically, that's what this boils down to. Consumers are not a vast collection of numbers on a spreadsheet or a nice collection of 5 categories with silly marketing names like "early, suburban adopter." They are people with real concerns that will, ultimately, lead to a better product. Listen and give a shit. That's good marketing medicine.

The words rooftops and shouting springs to mind...

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