If we don’t show up, our customers will engage without us

The last few years a major paradigm shift has begun to take place in the world of marketing. First, we were told that the customer was king. Then we heard that content was king. Now we’re entering a world where the customer is the one creating the content and a new supreme monarch has emerged that has left a lot of marketers wondering where they fit in.

While it’s referred to in a number of ways — shared media, collaborative media, new media, reverse media –the reality is what we call emerging media is quickly becoming standard practice. Marketers must stop thinking in terms of “how can I include some emerging media elements into my marketing plan” and instead ask themselves “how do I center all of my marketing plans around emerging media?”

Content marketing guru Gerry McGovern recently wrote about the growth of reverse marketing and explained how marketers need to start thinking of themselves as the customer of the customer. And to be a good customer we must pay attention, display our loyalty, and engage. There is no place for apathetic attitudes or being passive bystanders. Marketers must be engaged! Because is we don’t engage, our customers will engage without us.

One example of a major brand that chose to stand on the sidelines and paid the price is Johnson & Johnson’s Motrin pain reliever. In 2008 Motrin ran an online ad that many viewed as a negative portrayal of moms who carry their babies in a sling. At the time the brand didn’t have a social media presence and the Twitter handle @MotrinMoms was snatched up by a critic of the brand. Tweets abounded with moms expressing their outrage and anger at the brand and Motrin wasn’t even aware of the backlash because they weren’t engaged on Twitter or actively listening to their customers.

Motrin moms tweets

Angry moms take to Twitter to express their disgust at Motrin’s ad.

While Motrin did end up removing the ad, they have yet to engage with customers on Twitter.

The lesson to be learned from Motrin’s mistake is that consumers are going to be watching us and talking about us to their friends. The conversations will happen and they will happen wherever the consumers like to hang out and they won’t wait for us to show up to happen.

Get out there! Pay attention. Listen and engage,

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