Make Marketing Customers.
For many years now, my pal Remo Giuffre has pursued the idea of customer involvement in product development and sourcing for his online store under the moniker of "The Community Is The Brand." It has engendered great devotion in its customers and featured high in the Lovemarks survey.
A fascinating article in today's New York Times entitled To Charge Up Customers, Put Customers in Charge details similar activities in a number of entrepreneurial businesses. This includes threadless.com whose customers have designed every T shirt in their catalogue and a shoe company dealing in open-source footwear.
Given my distrust of market research, I particularly like the way that this shared philosophy focusses on what innovative consumers are actually doing and what that means for future demand. The pre-eminence of the product also meets with my approval.
Peter van Stolk, the founder of Jones Soda admits that this is an ever-evolving way of doing business. "Are we a soda company? Are we an Internet company? Are we a social networking company? We're all of that. Our goal is to keep creating more ways for customers to exercise ownership of the brand."
That's a succinct credo for the New Marketing.