Glen Urban is an MIT professor focused on understanding, building, and maintaining trust on the Web. In his latest book, Don’t Just Relate – Advocate!, Urban makes a valuable claim about being a responsible advisor to your customers:

“Your company might choose to embrace advocacy by becoming a faithful representative of your customers’ interests. Under this approach, you provide customers and prospects with open, honest, and complete information. You give them advice so they can find the best products, even if those products are not your company’s products?”

For many companies, the marketing strategy is staid and straightforward. The bottom-line goal is to align products on the showroom floor to potential customers. For the most part, it’s that simple. If you have products that need to be sold, figure out a way to build intrigue, value, and emotional connections around your brand.

But what happens when a company is selfless and responsible about the advice it gives? Can a company focused on recommending the right products rather than their own products stay afloat?

According to Urban they can. And they won’t just survive; they will flourish!

With the incorporation of customer-centric values, a company begins “a mutual dialogue that assumes that if you advocate for your customers, those customers will reciprocate with their trust, purchases, and an enduring loyalty”?

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