Do you ask your customers to do as you say, not as you do?
I have been speaking at a variety of conferences in Canada and U.S. recently and it has become customary for me to ask if those in attendance practice what they preach (or what I preach). Have they read a blog, posted comments, listened to a podcast, clicked on banners, used RSS, seen and formed an opinion on user generated content?
Typically less than five or ten percent raises a hand to any of the above.
I always close my sessions with an audience call-to-action. In the past, I have challenged listeners to use their marketing & communication channels in greater harmony. Lately, I have switched to a new call-to-action; get online and do the things that you currently ask, and will in future ask, of your customers and prospects. You can’t expect participation in something that you yourself have no experience with.
Remember back in 1992 when George Bush Sr. seemed amazed with supermarket scanner technology? Everyone was wondering how he could be so out of touch with the average American shopping experience? The context of this story has since been clarified a bit, but the point remains.
The idea to ask these questions to marketers is not mine alone. I can cite two influential sources: First, a lesson I learned very early in my career (thanks to Dan Plashkes - formerly of S&P Data Corp., currently President of SP Data LLC ) is that if you run a team of sales people, you better know how to roll up your sleeves and do some selling yourself.
More recently and directly, this post from Mitch Joel drove me to my new call-to-action.
As an ambassador of your brand, whatever it is, you have to know what you ask of others. Start by calling your own 800 number, navigating your own website, walking into your retail location and seeing it though the eyes of the average citizen. It is really that simple.