Why Marketing 3.0 Puts the Customer in Charge

Marketing 1.0 was all about the product. Marketing 2.0 was all about the customer. So what’s Marketing 3.0? It’s collaborative, says Dr. Marjorie Kalter, academic program director and clinical professor at New York University. “Like it or not, the customer is in charge,” Kalter said in a presentation at the DMA 2011 Annual conference in Boston Oct. 3.

That means you have to target consumers’ minds and spirits simultaneously to touch their hearts. You can do this by creating an unforgetable customer experience, Kalter said. She noted that 85% of consumers are willing to pay more if it will ensure a better experience. How do you do this?

You have to map out the customer experience using your product or service, marketing communication, people, technology, events and feedback, says Neil Feinstein, director of brand and strategy at True North. “The sequence and predictability of the old maps is over.” Aim for the heart, and stay true to your core, Feinstein said.

He referred shoes etailer Zappos, which is “uber-passionate about servicing people who are passionate about shoes.” Zappos aims to wow the customer as part of its core customer values, Feinstein said. The merchant even puts new employees through a four-week training program–after which they are offered $1,000 to walk away from the company. About 10% take the $1,000, he said, “and Zappos considers that money well spent to keep its service culture in tact.”

In mapping out a strategy, marketers should visit the value “prop shop” to incorporate social media elements and entertainment, economic and educational benefits. Competing on economic benefits ie. Walmart is risky, Feinstein said, because “it’s easily copied and hard to be differentiated.” That’s why low-price furniture retailer Ikea is smart to play add social media elements to its experience and play up the brand’s Swedish heritage, he said.

Remember that you don’t own the brand, the customer does, Kalter said. And you don’t own the customer, “but you can collaborate with the brand activists.”