Attending the recent Forrestor Roundtable on the future of the Social Web I made an offhand comment that we are all in the business of marketing now – whether we like it or not. Here is what I meant: The ubiquitous, always-on nature of the Internet has turned many elements of our business inside out – exposing them to customers for review, comment, sharing and even improvement. You see it occurring in assessments of product quality delivered by customer ratings and reviews, in product roadmaps developed by customers, in brand enhancement through community idea exchanges, in marketplaces for community innovation and sharing. On and on… Company and customers are interacting like never before.
Jan Carlzon called these “Moments of Truth”, the moment when customer and company touch. Carlzon thought Moments of Truth consisted of ANY touchpoint – whether with a person or with a system or process (like calling an automated voice system). The Social Web puts Carlzon’s concept on steroids because it (1) radically increases the number person-to-person interactions between company and customer and (2) it magnifies the value (good and bad) of these interactions (It only took one sleeping Comcast technician to garner 1.3 million views on YouTube).
That Means Every Moment of Truth is a Marketing Moment of Truth
Currently people speak about this phenomenon through the lens of their own business responsibility:
“Customer service is the new marketing…” right! (Look no further than Zappos)
“Product development is the new marketing…” right! (Look no further than Google)
In fact even your legal department is the new marketing if you aren’t careful… Stop us before we sue again! (Look no further than the Associated Press).
Connect the dots and you reach the conclusion that marketing is now a horizontal discipline – it cuts across nearly every business unit in the company.
I am not saying that we won’t have a CMO anymore, or people who are marketing experts – I am saying that, like it or not, marketing has become everyone’s responsibility. “The technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service” engages everyone in your organization because nearly everyone has moments of truth (if they don’t now, they will soon – trust me). Those that factor customers into each business unit (with care) and see it as a marketing moment of truth; will be unstoppable companies.
If you aren’t allowing your business to benefit from customer input and charging everyone that does has some marketing chops (in the best – moment of truth – sense of the word)… I have a news flash; the train has left the station. Drop your suitcase and run. You might still make it ☺