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Citizen Marketers - Customer Evangelists

Posted On: 2006-12-06
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Hello and welcome to another edition of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is your host John Jantsch, and my guest today is Ben McConnell, co-author with his business partner, Jackie Cuba of "Creating Customer Evangelists," and the soon-to-be released, and what we're going to talk about today, "Citizen Marketers- when people are the message." So welcome, Ben.

John, it's great to be chatting with you again.

Well thanks for joining me from your fair city of Chicago, which we talked about off air I was in yesterday, and it was a gorgeous day, so it wasn't even the windy city.

You were lucky because today it is cold, blustery, and grey.

All right, so this term, citizen marketers, I think in your last book you really maybe coined or at least solidified the customer evangelist term, so tell me what, let's just get the definition so we're on the same page. What's a citizen marketer?

Well a citizen marketer is an everyday person who creates content on behalf of a product, a brand, a company, or even another person. And that everyday person really is another term for an amateur, meaning that they're not connected with a company or an agency or any corporate entity.

What we would traditionally think of as an amateur, doesn't necessarily mean there's a lack of professionalism, right?

Exactly.

So, has something changed? Did something change out there in the world that created what I think you're at least implying, is a bit of a recent phenomena?

I think the introduction and spread of social media has changed the nature of communications, just tremendously. And it's really just in the beginning stages, I think. Because social media now accelerates communications internally or externally, both for company employees and customers inside of companies. And it accelerates word-of-mouth, it accelerates loyalty, it accelerates everything, and I think that's really kind of the game-changing nature of customer relationships. And second of all, what social media does, is it allows anyone to become a publisher and anyone to become a broadcaster and build their own audiences.

And it's funny because, in the way that that has manifested itself, I think most people are familiar with it blogs, probably. But it's kind of funny because on one hand, I think a lot of the people that really shouldn't have anything to say, or shouldn't publish anything, immediately saw that, and I have found at least, that a lot of those folks, particularly business folks, took maybe a little longer time understanding that

Well there's, I think an inherent uncertainty and probably even risk that people feel that blogs present because people, when they comment on blogs, might not say something that the companies like or could be something negative, and there's a big fear inside of companies of negative...

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