Have you played the telephone game? You know the one where one person whispers a sentence and by the end it gets all garbled? Well I’m at the end of this chain except with the advent of copy and paste the message is no longer lost. I found the below quote from Jeff Bezos (founder and CEO of Amazon) on Mitch Joels blog (who found it on another blog… who found it somewhere else). The bottom line is the quote is accurate…
“Before if you were making a product, the right business strategy was to put 70% of your attention, energy, and dollars into shouting about a product, and 30% into making a great product. So you could win with a mediocre product, if you were a good enough marketer. That is getting harder to do. The balance of power is shifting toward consumers and away from companies…the individual is empowered… The right way to respond to this if you are a company is to put the vast majority of your energy, attention and dollars into building a great product or service and put a smaller amount into shouting about it, marketing it. If I build a great product or service, my customers will tell each other.”
Awesome quote and it clearly states where we are in marketing and the greater importance of word of mouth. Now Mitch Joe’s thoughts on this are “the individual is empowered” is code for Social Media. I agree on that but only to a point. Yes social media is a game changer in marketing but the main game changer is the speed at which we can communicate. Social media facilitates communication but is not the main driver for communication… minor point though, the bigger point that rings true is exactly what Mr. Bezos stated.
Your Product is Your Marketing
Any good word of mouth professor will tell you this is the key to a groundswell of buzz and up until a few years ago makers of products and firms who delivered service could drown out the negative. They could deliver a sub-par product, a clicker that didn’t quite click, a chain saw that didn’t quite cut, and in the end with mass media and controlled communication they would sell.
Now the instant a movie or even a product hits the shelves a wave of blog posts, Twitter updates, Facebook updates, Skype conversations, Ning threads, and text and instant messages begin to fire up. There is no central control and no one parroted message.
The answer is simple. Create products that exceed expectations and deliver beyond their intended purpose. For a service focus on your touch points with a customer and exceed expectations, communication, and over-deliver on the main benefit that your service provides.
While you could say that should have been your mission all along many companies, brands, and services lost focus because the message could be blasted–thus partially controlled. Are we (and you) prepared for the next level of product and service innovation?