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Consumer-Centric Marketing

Consumers are in charge and they decide what, when, and how

by Lorena  |  1918 views  |  5 comments  |        Rate this now! 

If there is one thing I can say for sure after 15 years of marketing big brands, new brands, local brands, and renowned global brands is that consumer is truly in charge now.

This is wonderful for all of us -- as consumers. But we, as marketers, should never ever forget it. By breathing and living this reality into our products or services, we will manage to succeed into this consumer-driven marketplace.

To give you the best example, let me remind you about the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment, back in 2006. If it doesn’t ring a bell, here is the amazing long story short, demonstrating the infinite power of the consumer and the success that surrounds in-tune, smart marketers:

In 2006, some of us saw the Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos Experiments by Fritz and Grobe. This video was viewed more than 10 million times -- quite an awesome record!

What do you think was the reaction of Coca-Cola and Mentos to this experiment?

Later that same week, Mentos called to offer support. They said to Voltz: “We love what you're doing, how can we help?" Immediately, Mentos began shipping EepyBird thousands of mints for their experiments. Now this is what I call “in-tune, smart marketing.” Follow what your consumers love and let them have fun with your product. So many other people will follow and your brand’s sales will go through the roof!

Now, Coca-Cola had a different reaction: on June 12, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal: "We would hope people want to drink [Diet Coke] more than try experiments with it." She added, "The craziness with Mentos… doesn't fit with the brand personality of Diet Coke." That summer, Voltz and Grobe received two T-shirts and baseball caps from Coca-Cola, along with a note wishing them well.

This is a screaming example of “out-of-touch-marketing” coming from one of the most well known company in the world. What a shame! What a missed opportunity!

Nevertheless, when a company learns from its own mistakes, we tend to forgive that company for previously being... dumb. So not long after, Coca-Cola decided to change gears and listen to its consumers. On July 9, Coke decided to include on their corporate websites The Coke Show -- a series of user-generated videos created by people who loved Voltz and Grobe’s experiments. Toward the end of summer, Coke and Google approached Voltz and Grobe about a deal. That’s what I call “Good morning, Coca-Cola," and "Yes: the consumer is in charge today, not you."

Is your marketing in tune with your consumer?

About the Author

Lorena is a VP Director of Marketing who calls herself a marketing communications addict with an entrepreneurial mindset and a desire to relentlessly learn and do great things.

Read more by Lorena

5 comments so far...

  • Not just that you have to be in have to be ready for those who are hearing your tune differently.

    Maybe what you are marketing is awesome for reasons A, B and C, but the person who is attracted to your product may like it for reasons D, E or F!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SpokaneMama on 20th June 2008

  • Great example, Lorena, and serves as a reminder that we need to challenge "old" ways of doing things.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Anne Florenzano on 19th June 2008

  • I am totally new to marketing and learn something new everyday.

    I've discovered at least for me, being so new, it's a kind of hit or miss. I now who my target market is, so it's just a matter of finding the way to meet them.

    So far, I've been moderately successful, and hope my success continues...........:)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lisa Newton on 19th June 2008

  • Timely Article. All too often marketing is me centered and yet studies continue to show that customer centered approaches work best!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Patricia Kagwiria Makhulo on 19th June 2008

  • Thank you for sharing!! Wow, how I can relate to this on all ends of the spectrum.

    Businesses that are SO large and do not have the right talent managing their marketing and pr are at risk of missing the mark.

    On the other hand, companies like mine are challenged with educating retailers that providing products for a niche market can open new revenue streams for the future.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Bayou Twin Mom on 19th June 2008