On the occasion of Valentine’s Day: Falling in Love with our CustomersFebruary 12, 2011
What follows is a blog post I wrote for PM: Poslovni Mediji in Slovenia where I am going to speak at their POMP forum next March. On the occasion of Valentine’s Day I thought it will be a good idea to share and spread the love.
Falling in love
It is time to end the love affair with technology and the machines that accompany those technologies, whether they start with an i or not. It seems to me we are wasting as much time today, if not more, than we’ve wasted in the last and lost first decade of the 21st Century trying to convince ourselves the Internet is the way to go.
The source to all our troubles dates back to 1964. The media guru of the 20th Century Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase, The Medium Is the Message, in his book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, and since then the relationship of the medium to the message became an important and essential part of media world lingo. Well, I propose that the time has come to bury this phrase and replace it with a more relevant phrase for today’s media world: The Customer is the Message, regardless of the medium.
Technology is moving faster than the speed of light and change has become the only constant in the world of media platforms. In fact, technology is moving faster than any of us humans can keep up with on a regular basis, and unlike years past, humans are outlasting technology and not vice versa. Our challenge today is to stop, take a deep breath and decide whom we need to focus on and what message we need to dispense.
I am going to argue for the customer. I am going to fight to put the attention on the customer regardless of the machine. I want you to have a love affair with your customers. Know them inside out. Start by defining your customers. In my book I am always serving two types of customers: those who are on the receiving end of the message and those who are on the sending end.
The receiving customers are those readers, viewers, listeners and users who are looking for an engaging message that answers the simple question, What Is In It for Me? Note the three IIIs in the expression. All the focus should be on those IIIs, which collectively make our receiving customers.
The sending customer – the company, the advertiser, the brand maker – is seeking an engaging message that will provide the answer to the simple question, What Is In It for Me?
And what about us, the media folks? We are the romantic bridge that would and should connect those customers together and walk them through an engaging message we hope will create a long lasting relationship.
Romancing our customers should be our first and major mission while we are creating any medium. Falling in love with our customers and not our machines should be our goal for 2011 and beyond. Forget about the machines, forget about ink on paper, forget about pixels on a screen and forget about bytes on the airwaves. Fall in love with your customers, both on the sending and receiving ends. The result will be the best conceived media that will engage both senders and receivers. Let the love begin.
© Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D., Founder and Director, Magazine Innovation Center, @ The University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media
Mr. Magazine™ will be a keynote speaker at the POMP forum, 17 March 2011, in Ljubljana, Slovenia.