Here’s What I Believe…

by Mack Collier

…that companies need to stop focusing on the tools, and start focusing on the connections that the tools help facilitate.  It’s not about understanding Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, it’s about understanding customer behavior.  Anyone that tries to tell you differently is selling something.

…that companies will get the biggest benefit from emerging digital technologies if they work within the framework of the customer’s existing behavior.  Figure out why you customers are spending their time with these channels and tools, then you can figure out how to connect with them in a way that creates value for them.

…that participating in a conversation changes that conversation.  Don’t like the conversation happening around your brand?  Then start participating in that conversation, and change it.

…that buzzwords are a hurdle to understanding.  Speak in as simple terms as possible to explain your ideas.  If you use too many buzzwords and jargon you risk limiting understanding of your message.  Or worse, you may convince me that YOU don’t understand the concepts you are discussing.

…that customers don’t want to be mouthpieces for brands.  Stop viewing Social Media as a ‘new and exciting way to let customers tell our story!’  Your customers have their own stories to tell via Social Media, and they are far more interesting than yours.

…that Twitter isn’t a Social Media Strategy, it’s a Social Media tactic.  Tactics are what you use to accomplish a strategy.

…that Steve Knox was right, victory in marketing doesn’t happen when you sell something, but when you cultivate advocates for your brand.

…that customers deserve more than companies are giving them.  They deserve brands that understand them and embrace them and give them a reason to fall madly in love with them.

…that Marketing is ultimately a tax that brands pay for not speaking in the voice of their customers.  Understand your customers, speak in their voice, and you’ll win their loyalty and money.

…that we need fewer conversations.  Brands have two distinct conversations happening around them, the internal conversation they have about themselves, and the external one their customers are having.  The further apart these conversations are, the more trouble the brand is in.  The more aligned the conversations are, the stronger the brand.  Hugh was right.

…that the customer’s ability to smell bullshit is greater than your ability to sell it.  So please stop.

…that companies need to stop selling the product, and start selling the benefit.  Make your communications customer-centric.  Think about WHY I would buy your product and how I would use it, and you just might convince me that I need it.

…that companies need to stop worry about ‘acquiring’ new customers, and focus on delighting their existing ones.  New customers cost 6-7 times more to acquire versus retaining an existing customer, while fans spend more than the average customer, and refer business equal to almost half what they spend.  Yet marketers everywhere want ‘new’ customers, even at the expense of their existing ones.  This is madness.

…that Rockstars have figured out that they’ll get new customers tomorrow from delighting their existing fans, today.  And they won’t pay a penny in ‘acquisition’ fees.  I’m amazed that more brands aren’t learning from this approach.

…that if you believe in your customers, they will believe in you.  Stop treating them like anonymous numbers, they are real people living real lives every day.  Just like you.

…that brands need to stop putting the spotlight on themselves.  Put the spotlight on the people that make your brand amazing; Your customers and employees.

…that customers are more connected and empowered than ever before.  So are the brands that embrace them.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Kent March 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I am printing this page off now and tacking it to my wall as a reminder.

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Mack Collier March 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Thank you Jennifer ;)

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victor gaxiola March 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Mack-
This was an inspired and brilliant post. In my opinion it should be required reading for everyone in social media marketing. Like Jennifer it’s worth printing and putting up in a place we call all remember who is really in control of the messaging of social- the customer.
Thank you,
Victor Gaxiola
@victorgaxiola

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Mack Collier March 24, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Thank you Victor, I really appreciate that.

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Laura Orban March 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I second Jennifer’s comment. I’ll be referring back to this as well. Really well said.

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Mack Collier March 24, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Good, it was inspiring to write, as well :)

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Gillian March 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Thanks goodness – someone who gets it and says what needs to be heard. I’ve been saying all this for a long time to my offline peeps so was relieved to find someone saying it online – and importantly someone with a big audience. I hope people are listening and take note.

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Mack Collier March 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Thank you Gillian. Some are listening, but many are busy listening to noise. Guess we’ll have to talk louder ;)

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Miriam Gomberg March 24, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Mack, I appreciate your honesty. People seem to forget that sales/marketing should be customer focused. I printed the post, bookmarked it and will probably bring it to work and tack it up in the office. Thanks, Miriam

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Mack Collier March 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm

I appreciate that ;)

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Wanda Hopkins McClure March 26, 2012 at 8:06 am

LOVE THIS! Especially the point about buzzwords because that applies to all businesses including education. Brilliant, flipping brilliant.
Thank you,
Wanda Hopkins McClure

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Mack Collier March 26, 2012 at 11:30 am

Wanda I am a simple man, I think distilling concepts down to very easy-to-understand and real-world examples helps understanding. Thank you!

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Tom Buchheim March 26, 2012 at 9:46 am

My favorite is easily this line: Victory in marketing doesn’t happen when you sell something, but when you cultivate advocates for your brand.

Brilliant. Thanks Mack!

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Mack Collier March 26, 2012 at 11:31 am

Tom we are kindred souls, that’s by far my favorite point as well!

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Yvette Pistorio March 26, 2012 at 10:52 am

I agree with what everyone has said…this is truly an inspiring post and I have also printed it and posted it in my wall. My favorite line is “that the customer’s ability to smell bullshit is greater than your ability to sell it. So please stop.”

So true! Thanks Mack :)

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Mack Collier March 26, 2012 at 11:31 am

Thank you, Yvette, I always smile when I see you comment here ;)

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