Monday, August 27, 2007

The Original Rules of the Game Still Apply

The power of social networking prevailed when customers started an online petition on Facebook to keep their favorite chocolate bar, Wispa on the market - and it worked!

However one quote in the CNET news article particularly stood out for me: "Clearly, you want to listen to consumers," said Karl Heiselman, chief executive of Wolff Olins, a brand-consulting firm. "But I think we have to be careful about relying on them to do our jobs."

Isn't our job to meet the needs of our customers? And who knows better what our customers want than the customers themselves right? Peter Drucker reminds us that although a company's primary responsibility is to serve its customers, profit is an essential condition for the company's continued existence.

The fact of the matter is that the decision to take Wispa off the market was made after listening to their customers - or the lack of customers in this case, represented in sales. Ultimately, giving our customers a voice doesn't mean letting them run our business. It's great that Web 2.0 has given our customers such a powerful voice, but it's up to us marketers to interpret that voice to help drive everything from pricing to product strategy.

On a side note Cadbury Schweppes - makers of Wispa, are working on a campaign to reintroduce the product to the market. Don't you think they should turn to the same customers who revived the product to come up with ideas on how to bring it back to market? Seems like a no-brainer to me...

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