Are You in on the Conversation?


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I have just completed my chapter for Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan’s new edition of The Age of Conversation.
Last year’s edition had 103 co-authors. This year there are 275 co-authors and the theme is Why Don’t People Get It. The sub-themes are:

  • Manifestos
  • Keeping Secrets in the Age of Conversation
  • Moving from Conversation to Action
  • The Accidental Marketer
  • A New Brand of Creative
  • My Marketing Tragedy
  • Business Model Evolution
  • Life in the Conversation Lane

The title of my chapter (one page) is Businesses Sell Things, Customers Buy Experiences.
I can’t share it with you until the book comes out but here’s some material that will give you the thrust.
First, check out this video by Greet Desager. In a few minutes it illustrates the problems facing traditional advertising and marketing. And it does so it a humorous way.
Bring the Love Back
Now have a look at the results of recent research on the relationship between businesses and customers.
80% of executives believe they are doing a good job in serving customers. Only 8% of their customers agree. Bain & Co., 2006.
Over 80% of people stop buying products from companies when their trustworthiness comes into question. People spread distrust to friends and associates. Over 33% who lose trust in a company openly campaign against that company on the Internet. Edelman Trust Barometer, 2006.
One in five retail customers leave the store unserved or under-served. Customer Management, 2006.
Consumers put peers near the top of trust scales. They put companies, CEO’s, marketing, employees and products in the bottom third. Edelman Trust Barometer, 2006.
54% of people said they would avoid buying products that overwhelm them with advertising and marketing. 69% said they are interested in products and services that would help them skip or block advertising. Yankelovich Partners, 2004.
Only 17% of executives consider customer emotional factors when making decisions. 74% say they focus on efficiency rather than trying to understand what customers’ value. IBM Research 2006.
76% of customers don’t believe companies tell the truth in advertising. Yet, 78% rate the credibility of word-of-mouth as 7 or higher on a 10 point scale. Keller Fay group, 2006.
Consumers in the USA and Europe are 86% less trusting of companies than they were five years ago. Bain & Co., 2006.
Consumers are close to a saturation point for things. Yet, most companies take a short-term, price, efficiency approach to marketing. Customers have a hunger for intangible desires for meaningful and valued experiences. Henley Centre Research, 2003.
Let’s be fair. It is not that most business leaders are dumb or ignorant, they just keep doing what go them to a leadership position. Now they must face serious disruptive change or step aside.

John Todor
John I. Todor, Ph.D. is the Managing Partner of the MindShift Innovation, a firm that helps executives confront the volatility and complexity of the marketplace. We engage executives in a process that tackles two critical challenges: envisioning new possibilities for creating and delivering value to customers and, fostering employee engagement in the innovation and alignment of business practices to deliver on the new possibilities. Follow me on Twitter @johntodor


  1. John

    I wrote a chapter on Valuing Conversations in last year’s AOC book. I will be completing my chapter in the new book later today.

    Welcome to the AOC Club

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager


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