Wednesday 1 December 2010

Social shifts the focus from Presales to Aftersales

Another one of those great Twitter moments: a thought came to mind during a conversation
@KRCraft Let me put it this way: Marketing 1.0 is dead, just like CustServ 1.0 - better invest in Custserv 2.0 than Marketing 2.0! #custserv
I'm equally unsure whether Marketing 1.0 ever was alive, as to whether it's been officially declared dead now - regardless of the fact whether that can be attributed to any kind of Social Thingy (...)
Loosely defining Marketing 1.0 here as targeting select groups of customers in order to shattergun them with ads via all kinds of channels such as (direct) mail, (public) commercials and advertisements

However, I know that CustomerService 1.0 is dead, or should die very soon if it hasn't. At the moment in NL we have a celebrity comedian Youp van 't Hek who picked a fight with the helpdesk in general, but especially that of T-Mobile. Youp ruined one or two brands before but that was unintentional - this time he meant it and even published a one-time only glossy (in Dutch), collecting 6,000 reactions from people who had complaints about T-Mobile's service.
T-Mobile's answer? "Youp van 't Hek is just a comedian, so we don't feel the need to react"

Some whitespace to let that sink in...
And I've written my own post about Helpdesks - bureaucratic institutions that make you yell "HELP!"

So, for argument's sake, let's just agree on Marketing 1.0 and CustomerService 1.0 being dead.
Let's equally agree on the fact that there are a Marketing 2.0 and CustomerService 2.0 on the horizon.

Now, the question is: in which should we invest more, and focus our best attention?

As far as I'm concerned, that answer is easy: short-, mid- and long-term investment in time and money should yield equally short-, mid- and long-term results: the combined sum of that all determines where to put your money

In an attempt to keep this post short, allow me to take a shortcut: where is the easiest place to differentiate on your Unique Selling Points?
In (very) short, here's your entire product life-cycle: you need to attract customers to your product (presales), your product needs to be good and self-sustainable, and then you need to please customers who have become dissatisfied with the product (aftersales): 3 phases to a successful product then...

Where can you make the biggest dent and difference?

Products can be unique, but will get copied sooner every time. Sure it's awesome to be an iPhone, but there are millions of others out there that will give a fine revenue and profit as well.
Marketing can be grand and smart, and even attract a disproportionately large crowd. But we can't be all Lady Gaga or Kim Kardashian and quite frankly they're generating tons of cash but not adding much value at all.
Customer service then? Somehow I knew we'd end up at this point. Zappos is a fine example there, of course. Comcastcares too.

Funny how the biggest and best examples of successful social businesses focus their attention almost entirely on aftersales? I think so. While a vast part of the social evangelists was either desperately trying to frantically avoid the topic of ROI or looking very hard for business cases justifying Marketing 2.0, a few smart people just made a fantastically great R out of a very little I by simply turning their aftersales activities into true Customer Services

Push versus Pull, business rules versus exceptions, workflow versus Barely Repeatable Processes: Social has definitely shifted the balance from Presales to Aftersales

Let's just leave Marketing 2.0 for what it is, and invest in CustomerService 2.0; and I'll assure you, in a few years from now we'll strike the word "marketing" from our dictionary - good riddance

3 reacties:

davidklayton said...

HAHA great closing comment "invest in #custserv 2.0", good customer service really is taking ownership of successful social business.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martijn,

I suggest you also have a look at McKinsey's Consumer Decision Journey

I'd argue that the presales approach is changing as well - from providing information (gatekeeping) to making it easy for people to discuss and share relevant content (coordinating). So presales is not dead, just changing


Martijn Linssen said...

Thanks David, Mark!

[I posted Mark's comment myself, somehow it didn't turn up in my blog but got sent to my email anyway, so I reposted it myself. Mark posted it Wednesday December 1st, 1:08 PM]

Presales isn't dead, but Marketing according to my definition (shattergun approach) has eroded over the years. Wise to stop the broadcast and switch to receiver mode!

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