Today is Cyber Monday. A term coined a few years ago to compete with Black Friday. Although we now have Gray Thursday (not to be confused with 50 Shades of Grey, but I digress).
In a recent article from Ad Age, Mark Cooper discusses how to ‘Reverse the Customer Journey and Turn Customers in Marketers.” The article does make some good points. But the one that really spoke to me was: Are you being Authentic?
For many years I have worked in Direct Marketing. In fact, it was in the late ’80s when the company I worked for installed Ecometry; Okay it was called M.A.C.S. back then but bare with me. In the 1980’s the market was truly littered with bad mail-order companies. I mean REALLY bad companies that, to be blunt, were nothing more than Bait & Switch operations. And if you were a customer who had been ‘taken to the cleaners’ by one of these companies, what was your recourse? Basically a letter to the Better Business Bureau and maybe a nasty latter to the mail-order company. But that is as far as your voice went back then.
Fast forward to today. Now with the help of the internet, your voice can be heard.
Many independent websites dedicated to reporting bad service
The companies own web site (try leaving them a bad review)
and yes, you still have the Better Business Bureau.
The point is companies that are truly Bait & Switch operations don’t survive in today’s fast past internet age. But some companies still refuse to subscribe to the new rules of the Digital Age. And one of the biggest rules your customers expect; Be Authentic.
Customers want to engage with ‘real people’ at companies that are authentic. Retailers want to sell you stuff, sure. But I would rather pay a higher price for something from a company that chooses to engage with me, than a rock bottom price from a retailer where I am just a number. – Customers want to be treated as human beings, in an authentic and honest way.