When Can I own the Customer?
So, a few months ago, when I was still at Microsoft, I was in this confidential, kill you if I told you about it meeting with a large ad agency. I was discussing a way to use a bunch of different technologies from several different parters to get more targeted (not necessarily personalized, but close) ads in front of customers, anonymously. There are several companies on the Internet doing this, and Microsoft is of course working with lots of them. (This is not the point, this is the background.) One of the ‘old media guys’ from the ad agency, cleverly disguised as a ‘new media guy’ by being in his early 30s wearing a black on black on black downtown outfit, leans out and says, “Great. But when do we get to own the customer?”
Dead Silence. (I was having a cluetrain moment, personally. http://www.cluetrain.org if you don’t know what I’m talking about).
Silence was not because we didn’t understand the question, mind you. But here we were at a large agency which tries to sell stuff to us all the time, and they really don’t want to talk to us, talk with us, or anything else. They want to Own mindshare. Own customers. Own the information going into your head so they can shape it so that you buy what they want you to. (And people say *I* worked for the evil empire).
The simple answer to his question was, ‘If the customer clicks on the ‘send me more information’ link and gives you his email address, he has then identified himself directly to you, and you can communicate with him.’
The media guy was happy and told us how he would then send lots of good emails to this customer until the customer relented and bought the product whether he wanted it or not.
It was at this moment I realized that I was wrong.
Hey, 5 years ago I thought, "oh the ad agencies just don’t get interactive, but they will eventually."
Wrong. Some of them will, but this very large one still isn't there.
They have to have their special ‘interactive guys’ explain it to them. The interactive guys who, if they were smart, left to join interactive firms that have higher market caps than the ad agencies they will soon own. [Ed. note. - Chuckling in 2002]
Quick thanks to Doc of the Cluetrain who liked and linked to this page. Rock on!
© Copyright 2002 Howard Greenstein.
Last update: 8/23/2002; 9:43:59 PM.