I’ve spent the day trying to get my head around the lofty ideas in:
- Pinko Marketing
- The Attention Economy
- The Intention Economy
- The Hughtrain
- The Cluetrain
- Marketing Continuum
- Because of open source
- The economics of ideas
These people are some seriously crazy persons!
But while I sit around, write code, push pixels, drink bourbon, instigate nonsense, whatever the hell I do these days, I am left trying to apply the ideas to something. I’m left thinking about Kristin’s optometry practice and does any of this matter to her (or her patients).
Kristin’s optometry practice is a microcosm of the business world. It’s a small business that relies on customers. She provides services (optometric services including eye exams, contact lens fittings, ocular health assessments, etc.) and sells products (glasses, contacts, sunglasses, solution, cleaning cloths, etc.). It’s not a leading edge Internet, Web 2.0 business in any fashion. But it’s a business! In the words of Doc Searls “we’re sellers who want buyers”. To grow we need to acquire new revenue and/or reduce operational costs (Total Revenue – Cost of Sales = Gross Profit). So where does all of this Marketing 2.0 mumbo jumbo fit in!
“Conversations matter. So do relationships. So do reputation, authority and respect.”—Doc Searls
There’s conversations happening every moment of the day. Doctors talk with patients. Patients talk with doctors. People talk to each other. Tara asks us to “take off your marketing hat and put on your regular every-day person who has some money in your pocket (i.e. consumer) hat and you’ll see what I mean, but remember that we all have different experiences, memories, desires and needs”.
Listening to your customers
Are customers always right? I’ve listened to a number of people who’ve had laser eye surgery tell me about why it’s the great thing in the world, and why I should have it done. I don’t. For a variety of reasons, but mostly on the advice of my optometrist (who is not Kristin in case you’re curious). I trust the reputation and authority of my eye care professional. She listens to her patients, talks with all of us and serves as my resource for information in making decisions.
Kristin relies on the conversations with patients to find out what products work for them (and which ones don’t). She relies on conversations with other professionals for the latest treatments (annual continuing education requirements). She has training, expertise and certification for the assessment of the eye and vision system and the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of: disorders of refraction; sensory and oculomotor disorder and dysfunctions of the eye and vision system; and prescribed diseases. She’s a professional. She works hard to improve the quality of people’s lives by improving their vision. By listening. What can’t you see? The hockey puck on the ice? The computer? The blackboard? The tiny type in that paperback? She helps people see. She helps people manage their health. She help people be better athletes. She helps kids in the classroom. She helps people improve their self esteem (funky glasses or sometimes to get rid of them with contacts or laser eye surgery).
People talk (at least we hope they do) and the hope is that we’ve changed their life in a positive way such that they’ll want to talk about their experience. They talk about what products work for them. They talk about how great their new glasses look. What contact lense solution works for them. They talk. Hopefully they talk about us. We still broadcast. We send out flyers. We pay for Adwords at Google. But we rely on our friends, our neighbours, our reputation, your attention, your trust and the hope that we’re able to improve their condition in life.
Is Kristin’s practice Cluetrain (or Hughtrain) enabled? I don’t know. But it’s a lot of fun imagining that she helps people.