May 8, 2005

make your customers the marketing department

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One of my business collaborators, Sig thinks traditional marketing departments are irrelevant:

A business organisation exist to fulfil a specific need of an individual, the customer.

But where is the customer on the organisational chart? Why does he not matter in the process of fulfilling his need? A perpetual state of hit and run?

Of course, hierarchies are command-and-control structures. No place there for a customer, unless he is willing to be bullied around.

A dilemma solved by an structural appendix: The marketing department.

An appendix using every trick in the book to push, entice, lure and seduce individuals to become customers. Hit and run.

His answer? Make the customer integral to the process, make the customer the central player in "The Flow".

Make your customers the marketing department.

What's interesting is not that Sig thinks thinks traditional corporate hierarchies (including the marketing department) are inefficient and should be replaced with something better. We all think that, to greater or lesser degrees.

What's interesting is that he's building software that actually allows companies to replace hierarchies with "something better".

How well does this software work? I don't know yet, I'm still new to it. But if it can survive the scrutiny of the blogosphere (i.e. "taking a bat to it"), then we're in business.

[NOTE TO SELF:] Stick to cartooning. This is so out of your league.

Posted by hugh macleod at May 8, 2005 3:06 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Heya Hugh - - we've used you! You said we could.
We're up and running, and we realized collectively (as editors, okay?) that we DID NOT add you to the Masthead.
We're changing that now as I type.
Technology is grande.

Thank you for your genius. Truly.

Posted by: Hiss Quarterly at May 8, 2005 5:16 PM

"How well does this software work? I don't know yet, I'm still new to it. But if it can survive the scrutiny of the blogosphere (i.e. "taking a bat to it"), then we're in business."

What software? The Thingamy site is nothing but a bit of hand-waving and silly and completely absurd statements like:

"No need for other enterprise software nor middleware."

and

"Covers all needs for large or small oganisations - production, service, health or government."

and other gems.

Where's the meat? Where can I get this mythical piece of software that will do everything for me yet be so easy to use and so simple? If I read outlandish and unrealistic statements like those found throughout the thingamy site then I sure as heck better be able to get the application described. In the case of thingamy it appears to be all talk at this point.

Posted by: Anthony Eden at May 8, 2005 7:22 PM

"If I read outlandish and unrealistic statements like those found throughout the thingamy site then I sure as heck better be able to get the application described. In the case of thingamy it appears to be all talk at this point."

I totally agree, Anthony. This is what I meant by "taking a bat to it". And like I said, if it can survive being battered (by folks like you, Heh) then we're in business. If it can't, then it will be deservedly killed, and quickly.

FYI, the software is not out yet. It's been in development for five years. I'm told it'll start rolling out in the summer.

But the conversation is starting...

I really appreciate your feedback, so feel free to keep the bat swings a'coming.

[NOTE TO SELF:] You might have to blog this later...

Posted by: hugh macleod at May 8, 2005 7:40 PM

Anthony, you're absolutely right of course, all blah blah on that site, still. No need to defend myself there. When you do something that 'does not exist' it is damned hard to describe in words, seeing is beleiving as you say. Cannot but agree more there.

"No need for other enterprise software nor middleware." is silly only if not possible, otherwise it would be rather 'a good thing', or what?

And I do like a challenge if you're up to one: Suspect you're techie enough not to be put off by an early pre-beta demo, rough at the corners to look at, far from smooth in operation. If so, send me a mail, gimme a time (Honolulu, hmm that's 12 hours off) sometime end of the week and I'll give you a peek! Find out if we're still silly or what, eh?

Posted by: sig at May 8, 2005 8:19 PM

This is an old idea -and a pal has a book about it in the pipeline.

Posted by: john at May 8, 2005 8:27 PM

The "rapid iteration of development in ongoing tango with massive user participation" is right on target.

What can businesses learn from this? social Social Software, Whatever?

This whole idea of blogging, social software goes much deeper. We need to acclerate the rate of adoption within organizations (enterprise blogging, bookmarking, etc.) so that business can learn what is important to customers, employees, and other stakeholders.

Posted by: Jim Wilde at May 9, 2005 4:08 PM

In the interest of brevity... ;)

"Your market IS your marketers"

Posted by: Howard at May 10, 2005 9:43 PM