In this new world of marketing, anyone can publish anything at any time for the entire world to see. Content produced about your company - by customers, partners, competitors, prospects, employees and anyone else - is indexed by search engines and easily accessible. Scared yet? You should be.
But every scary change is also an opportunity.
Here is a great story about Zappos customer service. Basically a woman had ordered a bunch of shoes for her mom who was sick and had lost so much weight she needed smaller shoes. She had sent in a return request because some of them did not fit. Her mom ended up passing away, and she was late in returning the shipment of shoes to be returned. Zappos emailed her to remind her to return the shoes. She replied saying her mom had passed away and she just did not have time to ship them back.
Zappos had a couple options at this point (a) not accept the return, their policy is clear that it must be done in 15 days, (b) accept the return late given the circumstances, or (c) do something really remarkable. Zappos chose option (c) - do something remarkable. Not only did Zappos go the extra mile and schedule a UPS pickup for the customer and notify her just to leave the shoes outside her door and UPS would take care of it for her, but they even sent her flowers as well.
The result? The customer wrote about it in her blog (see above link). She got a bunch (over 100 so far) of comments from others echoing her experience. Seth Godin wrote about it, as did lots of other bloggers. The ROI on the UPS pickup fee and the flowers is probably 10,000 times the cost. Zappos now has a lot of people linking to and talking about a fantastic story. And currently the fouth result in Google for a search on "Zappos Customer Service" is the very blog article I've been referencing that tells you how awesome Zappos is.
Today, "marketing" is the responsibility of everyone in your company. The janitor has encounters with customers and prospects when no one else is around. Your IT staff comments on other company's blogs. Your salespeople talk to people in airports and either cut them off in line or help them with their bags. And your customer service reps interact with people who write blogs that get over 100 comments on a story about your company, like this Zappos example.
At HubSpot we are starting a series of webinars for our employees about how to interact with others online and how to use things like Digg, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MyBlogLog, Reddit, CoComment, MySpace, and more. We encourage our employees to start a blog, comment on other blogs, make friends on social networks and more. Does this scare me? Sometimes. But I feel a lot better knowing I have the entire company behind our marketing effort rather than just a couple people. What are you doing to leverage all of your company's employees in the world of modern marketing?
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Originally published Oct 29, 2007 10:30:00 AM, updated July 11 2013