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Today, armed only with a PC and a broadband connection, the little guy can take it public against corporate America. By listening and proactively responding to such seemingly uncontrollable environmental events, companies can prevent the negatives from spiraling out of control or even turn them into positives.

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neai Marketing 3.2 Continued buy up Web addresses for their firm names preceded by the words "lhate" or followed by "sucks.com." For example, Procter & Gamble has registered ihateprocterandgamble.com and, interestingly, febrezekillspets.com. But this approach is easily thwarted, as Wal-Mart learned when It registered ihatewalmart.com, only to find that someone else then registered ireallyhatewalmart.com.

In general, attempts to block, counterattack, or shut down consumer attacks may be shortsighted. Such criticisms are often based on real consumer concerns and unresolved anger. Hence, the best strategy might be to proactively monitor these sites and respond to the concerns they express. "The most obvious thing to do is talk to the customer and try to deal with the problem, instead of putting your fingers in your ears," advises one consultant. For example, Home Depot CEO Francis Blake drew praise when he heeded the criticisms expressed in the MSN Money onslaught and responded positively. Blake posted a heartfelt letter in which he thanked critic Scott Burns, apologized to angry customers, and promised to make things better. He also created a new company site and a "dedicated taskforce" to deal specifically with Home Depot service problems. And within a month of the YouTube video, Apple fessed up to its misdeeds and replaced Michael Whitford's lap-' top. "I'm very happy now," says Whitford. "Apple has regained my loyalty. I guess I finally got their attention."

Many companies have now set up teams of specialists that monitor Web conversations and engage disgruntled consumers. Others hire firms such as BuzzLogic, which creates "conversation maps" tracking not just who's talking about a company's product but also which opinions matter most. BuzzLogic recently helped computer maker Lenovo head off its own Dell Hell moment. When tech-oriented blogger Rick Klau posted his frustrations over his Lenovo ThinkPad's faulty hard drive, BuzzLogic quickly picked up the post and alerted Lenovo. Within only a few hours, Klau received a phone call from David Churbuck, Lenovo's VP of global Web marketing. Churbuck offered to fix the problem, turning Klau's rants into raves. The good news was picked up by other bloggers before the bad news could catch fire.

Thus, by listening and proactively responding to seemingly uncontrollable events in the environment, companies can prevent the negatives from spiraling out of control or even turn them into positives. Who knows? With the right responses, WalMart-blows.com might even become WalMart-rules.com. Then again, probably not.

Sources: Quotes, excerpts, and other information from Michelle Coniin, "Web Attack," BusinessWeek, April 16, 2007, pp. 54-56; Oliver Ryan, "The Buzz Around Buzz," Fortune, March 19, 2007, p. 46; Gemma Charles, "Complaints Are There to Be Heard," Marketing, January 10, 2007, p. 15; "Top 10 Service Complaint Sites," Time Out New York, March 8, 2007, accessed at vwvw.timeout.com; "Corporate Hate Sites," New Media Institute, accessed at www.newmedia.org/categories/Hot-Topics-&-lssues/Corporate-Hate-Sites/, February 2008; "Consumer Vigilantes," BusinessWeek, March 3, 2008, p. 38; and Christopher L. Marting and Nathan Bennett, "Corporate Reputation; What to Do About Online Attacks," Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2008, p. R6.

Creating The Prefect YouTube Marketing Video

Creating The Prefect YouTube Marketing Video

Create the Perfect You Tube Marketing Video-5 Tips To Get it Right. You can use You Tube to market your business, product, or services. However, you need a good video in order to draw traffic and make people want to visit your website after they have finished watching.

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