Why Consumers Need to Be Raging Maniacs for Your Products

In the following interview segment, Doug Levy, author and CEO of MEplusYOU, explains why you don't believe what companies are telling you. The full interview with Doug Levy can be seen HERE, in which he discusses his new book, Can't Buy Me Like. In the book, Levy tackles the changing marketing space, believing that companies must either adapt or continue to put blind faith in increasingly ineffective advertising. Levy also explains a new era that we've entered, dubbed the 'relationship era', and describes how this will change marketing for all companies, big and small.

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Brendan Byrnes: What's the biggest mistake that marketers are making nowadays? Is it not adapting to this new way of thinking, or are there other mistakes that they're making as well?

Doug Levy: Yeah, they are. I think some marketers are mistaking media channels for the relevance of their approach to marketing.

In other words, they may mistake what I'm calling the Consumer Era with old media -- TV, radio, print -- and the Relationship Era with new media -- digital, social, mobile -- but that's not it at all. What we're talking about isn't a channel or a tool or a technology. It's a mind-set or an intent.

Brendan: What about trying to measure this? Obviously when it comes to advertising, marketing successes, back in the old days you threw ads on TV... Now we have a way of directly measuring that with the Internet and how many clicks something's getting. It comes directly to these advertising executives. How much does that affect the way that things are changing, if at all?

Doug: It does, in part because some things are more difficult to measure, so what gets measured most often in corporations are the financial metrics.

What we're talking about here is not moving away from those financial metrics, but also fully embracing a non-financial component of business, namely trust. The degree to which there's trust between a company and an individual has a significant impact. For a company, it can look like deeply understanding the customers you're in relationship with, and how much they love you.

What we've seen now more than ever is that companies that have not just people who buy their product that are OK with them, but they have at least a handful of people who are crazy about them. Those people now have a megaphone to scream the message about the company in question.

Brendan: And their friends trust them more, than coming from the company, right?

Doug: Precisely, yeah. Nielsen reports that trust in personal recommendations is 92% and growing, whereas trust in what companies say, advertising, is 26-47% and shrinking. People don't believe what companies say. They believe what their friends say.


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