Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Understanding Customers — Social Media Humbles Companies



Marketing is the understanding of your customer for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

Inexplicably, twice Verizon has now learned the power of social media. In Feb. 2017, it was forced to add an unlimited data plan after T-Mobile got great buzz and increased its market share at Verizon’s expense.

Ironically, Verizon had already joined the list of big companies failing to understand how poor research and judgment would draw fire from their customers and social media.

You might recall the wireless company announced a controversial $2 fee on their customers for making one-time telephone or Web payments. It was to take effect on Jan. 15, 2012. Less than 24 hours after making the announcement, Verizon was forced to rescind its scheme.

social-media-550763_1280Why?

Verizon was lacking in discernment, and the fee announcement instantaneously drew the wrath from thousands of jolted customers.

Social media was buzzing. More than 100,000 customers signed a Change.org petition demanding the company change course.

A regulatory agency, the Federal Communications Commission, announced it would investigate the issue.

In turn, Verizon was startled into reality. It was a sharp reminder that Verizon misread the situation. To be fair, Verizon isn’t alone.

More examples

Netflix backtracked on its decision to break up a division – morphing its DVD rental service into something called Qwikster.

Poor sales caused the CEO to take a cut in his remuneration.

Bank of America incurred the wrath of thousands of customers when it announced a $5 charge for using debit cards. Thousands of customers became credit union members.

What were they thinking? Why aren’t such companies aware of the implications of the Digital Age and the economy?

Marketing is the understanding of your customer for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

Apparently, executives need to spend some time in sales with customers. They need to think 1930s’ values for business success. Consumer attitudes have been reverting back to where they were several decades ago.

Verizon, Bank of America and Netflx should have enough marketing sophistication to understand the economic elasticity of consumer attitudes and fees.

To the businesses, they were only charging a little extra money. To their customers, it was a strong perception of greed and unfairness.

Customers now in charge

Add social media to the mix and the companies face a firestorm. Not only is it a waste of corporate time and money, such naiveté leads to a dilution of their brands and weakening of sales.

The Internet launched an era of consumer awareness. That was both good news and bad news for business.

It gave Web users unprecedented power – power for them to research brands and prices – and power to share critical information with countless other users.

And given this economy, Internet users and all consumers are more concerned than ever about value.

So it’s important for companies to use best practices to optimize their brands and manage their Web reputations.

It’s also a good time to review PR crisis-management tips, research their customers and make certain that they’re discerning correctly.

Again, the lesson:

Marketing is the understanding of your customer for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

From the Coach’s Corner, more tips:

Want More Business? Build Trust with Consumers…Here’s How — With consumers trying to cope with information overload – you will increase sales with long-term customer loyalty – if you build trust by using best practices. It may be an obvious approach, but it’s confirmed by a 2012 study that shows 84 percent of the respondents declared trust must be warranted before they buy.

8 Simple Strategies to Give You Pricing Power — If you’re struggling with pricing strategies, you’re not alone. Many big companies have struggled, too.

Critical Essentials to Develop the Best Marketing Formula — There are critical essentials for marketing, which includes the right channels and developing the right message. That includes the right branding slogan and logo. Unless your targeting upscale consumers, many consumers prefer value marketing — not cute, which doesn’t necessarily mean selling at a lower price than your competitors.

14 Steps to Profit from Online Customer Reviews — For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce. Reviews are important because they influence prospective customers to buy from you. They’re also beneficial in improving your Internet presence because search-engine crawlers consider them to be relevant.

“The only thing that’s worse than being blind, is having sight but no vision.”

-Helen Keller


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.