When I first started blogging last year, I didn't see much discussion about how marketers could better serve their communities. I saw plenty of talk about how 'bloggers got it', and 'big business didn't', but not a lot of constructive discussion of how marketers could bring the online/blogging rules of community-building/embracing/empowering, into the 'real-world'.
Thankfully, I am noticing lately that the discussion seems to be shifting more and more towards how we can better serve our customers by joining them in their communities, instead of who's smarter than who.
Here's just a few of the great quotes I've come across recently:
The Masi Guy said: "Does anybody really still think that dialog, conversation, building community and working with the audience/ community to craft a way to spread the message is not the way to do things?"
Mike Sansone talks about the 'social media' tools that customers are using:"They are a portion of your customers and prospects. They are using these tools as a platform for conversation and communication."
Paul McEnany adds:"And a marketer is wrong if he or she doesn't listen, adapt to, and ultimately, become a part of the community."
Kim Klaver nails it here: "If more marketers used the products and services they market themselves, and could speak as members of the same community, there might be less of a disonnect between them and their potential customers."
Mario chimes in:"So as a marketer you have the two options: either communicate one-way with your prospects or communicate two-way by engaging your audience with your product/service and getting to hear their feedback on the same."
Ann Handley quotes Amy Gahran:"Few things cement relationships of any kind, but especially with audiences and markets, like strong, mutual communication. Encouraging conversation -- and leveraging those conversations to enhance news offerings -- demonstrates that your audience is valued not merely as a market, but as a resource."
One of the great things about blogging is that it gives us a front-row seat to view just how easily communities can form, change, and even overlap. For example, I hadn't heard of ANY of the above 6 bloggers just 3 months ago when The Viral Garden went live. Now they are all daily reads for me.
I think/hope that as more and more companies and their marketers become more internet-saavy, that they will start to realize that they have to begin to embrace the changing marketing landscape and join their customers in their space. Thankfully, with smart people such as those above, and so many others, that change will likely come sooner, rather than later.