Two excellent blog posts highlight the value in listening to consumers and the payoff of effective marketing that results.
Heather Hamilton is a HR recruiter at Microsoft. Recently in preparation for attending a conference she made an offer on her blog. The first three vendors who left a comment would get a 15 minute meeting with her at the conference to pitch their product or service. She made this offer out of frustration with the deluge of letters and phone calls she was receiving asking her to visit vendors at the conference.
Vendors know that she is attending the conference because she registered. Even if vendors can't know every recruiter that is a potential customer, certainly if they are selling technology based products (the focus of this conference) there is little excuse for them not being aware of a high-profile blogging recruiter at Microsoft of all companies. Nevertheless of all the vendors who contacted Heather and hoped that she would come to them to hear their marketing pitch, just one listened to Heather and marketed to her the way she asked to be marketed to. And the payoff for that vendor?
Turns out that most vendors want to market on their own terms, which is fine except for the fact that their products are going to have to pretty much walk on water (or something) to get my attention (signal to noise ratio or something like that). For someone like me, all their products blend together to form one big pulsing, tentacled blob of web 2.0.
Oh, except for Jeremy's product. First off, Jeremy created somewhat of an evangelist out of me simply because he took me up on my offer. Also, considering that he told one of my co-workers that he heard I was "tough" and still went through with it, props to him : )
The Influx Insights blog reports on efforts by Diageo to listen to consumers. At their recent Annual Investors Conference Diageo reported that they recognize how the marketing environment has shifted and that the result is that they must move:
from interrupting what consumers are interested in, to BEING what consumers are interested in and where they are.
So there you have it, two great examples of how listening to consumers and being what they want and need will result in sales and win-win results for companies and consumers.