10 marketing resolutions for 2008

****From the Church of the Customer Blog****

1. Vow to do more attracting than selling.
To use a high school analogy: Be the charismatic kid with a winning smile, a charming personality and a good dose of humility. Don’t be the tard who farts and throws firecrackers at cats in that desperate vein of “Look at me! Look at me!”

2. Adopt the 5th P.
If your company relies on the classic marketing model of the four P’s, add a fifth one: Participation. Build a model of how customers, partners and employees can meet, share and participate with the company or with one another.

3. Build a niche.
The future is micro-specific. It starts with people who share highly specific characteristics that defy traditional demographics. Define an ideal customer to the n’th degree, like unemployed college professors who wear corduroy sport coats (with elbow patches) and drive old Volvos.

4. Conduct a word of mouth audit.
Put every customer-facing experience up for review, from reception to the floor person, to accounts payable. Does the customer experience generate good word of mouth, or bad word of mouth? Adjust then measure again.

5. Create a social network.
Do it on Facebook, or Ning or the good ol’ analog way: a customer advisory board. Any form of social network among customers, partners or employees (current or former) is a tangible asset. Treat it as you would your grandparents (respectfully), not as you would your younger brother whom you randomly punch in the head.

6. Vow to eliminate a stupid rule.
You know what it is. Customers (or bloggers) have already told you. So eliminate it already. For extra points, give it a funeral.

7. Create a social media training program.
In 2008, expect word of mouth and customer evangelism to be accelerated by social media considerably more than it was in 2007. What people say online will reach deeper into the B2B world, too, like long-term services contracts and enterprise-wide computer systems. Understanding the basics of social media, how it works and the effects it can have on reputation and sales should be part of annual training programs.

8. Ban use of the word “consumer.”
Nothing says “I’m like Borat” more than using “consumers” to describe your customers, or end-customers. If you call the sales channel your customers, then their customers are your end-customers. To call them consumers is so Borat-like.

9. Raise the ethics bar.
Be a hero to people who still believe in ethics. Make 2008 the year you set higher standards for ethical behavior. Make the standards clear to employees, partners and vendors. Enforce them. Gaming the system is for congressmen and crooked military contractors.

10. Do what you love.
It may be trite but if you don’t love what you’re doing, how can you expect anyone else to?

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