“Beam me up, Scotty”

It’s what Captain Kirk said in Star Trek. Since I watch Star Trek and was amazed with this communication technology, I always thought something similar could be used in businesses in the near future.

I didn’t think that day could come quicker than i could imagine. We could see the next generation communication technologies that change the way we deliver products to consumers in the next few years.

I had a discussion about our strategy yesterday. One key thing came up. It’s a basic business principle. In a broad business sense, it needs two aspects to complete a business model. The first aspect is a product (or service). And, the second aspect is, I sum it up as a distribution model – how do we distribute the product to the market? Both aspects are important. The product must solve customer’s problem. The distribution model must be seamless.

Imagine if we could deliver a product presentation to customer’s places without physically being there. Technologies could reach a point beyond a video call. We could show up as a virtual person in customer’s home explaining about our product. Star Wars and Star Trek have given a hint to us.

I feel that we are not too far from that day.


Marketing as service

I believe that everything is marketing. The era that has marketing department as an independent unit has ended a few years ago. Marketing should be at the top of the tower with customer service, customer experience, sales, even human resources underneath.

Let start by asking this question – why do we do marketing? We do marketing because we want to offer solutions to customer’s problems. We also do marketing to make a difference to someone’s life. The process is we tell customers that our product could be a solution to your problem. Customers buy the product and we want them to have the best experience. We then service them with the hope that they will stay and recommend our product/solution to their friends. When something goes wrong, they contact our customer care team. We solve their problems and delight them. They rave about us and their friends see it.

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

Sam Walton, founder of Walmart stores

Take social media as an example. It’s very hard to draw the line between social media marketing and social media service. Customers will bring up issue regardless of channels. You might post a new campaign on Facebook with an expectation for it to go viral to get more sales. But, your existing customers might see the post and share their frustration.

To be successful, marketing needs to be on the top of the tower. No offence.

Happy customers are your biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team.

Lisa Masiello, Founder & President, TECHmarc Labs, Inc