I had a thought provoking conversation at a networking meeting a little while ago. I was told by an attendee that in web 2.0, marketing was unneccessary – customer service was the new marketing.
Well, there are a number of comments I could make on that one topic alone, but here are a couple.
Fisrstly, and very importantly, customer service always was the new marketing, or the old marketing or any other kind of marketing. I believe very strongly that it doesn’t matter how good your advertising is, your product or service has to, at the very least, satisfy your customers and preferably delight them. As any decent marketer knows, it is much cheaper to retain customers than to acquire new ones. If your product is rubbish, they won’t come back. If it is amazing they probably will, and they might even tell other people. The difference in the world of web 2.0 is that they can not only tell their immediate family and friends that your product is good/rubbish, they can tell millions of people they don’t even know… So in my reckoning that just makes good old fashioned customer service an even more crucial part of your marketing mix than ever before.
The second point is, that even if your product is totally online, and your customer service is amazing, customers still have to find you in the first place. And whether they do that through organic search, online advertising, or word of mouth, there is still a process to go through first, which involves deciding who your target customers are, what they are looking for and how to reach them. That’s still marketing!
In conclusion, no matter how advanced the product or means of delivery, the basics of communication and customer service are still just as important as ever.