In fact, they will fight your heavy-handed tactics with all their might.
Once a condition is introduced to a market, it cannot be taken back – not easily, anyway. One example is airlines that charge for an extra piece of luggage. Passengers are discovering creative ways to resist. One innovative tactic that is working is to gate-check your bag. Not only does it avoid the charge, but it's usually one of the first bags to be unloaded. Imagine that!
Southwest Airlines evidently understands the psychology of the markets, and is therefore embracing what everyone has come to expect. Between you and me, they have inched up their airfares, but that is acceptable behavior. Taking back what has always been part of the deal is just not cool, so by not doing so, Southwest is adeptly positioned as cool.
We Call The Shots
What inspired this post is Macmillan Publishers' decision to charge you and me essentially the same price for an eBook as the printed version. Does this make sense? Of course not. We may not be publishing experts, but we intuitively understand the cost of an eBook is pretty close to zero. An eBook is like computer software. And look at all of the useful software that is absolutely free.
So, why is Macmillan doing this? Because they can. They are telling the markets that they are in charge. Yet, the markets will have their say. They will call the shots. The truth is this is a complex game that involves not just traditional publishers, but also players such as Amazon and Apple, who also have a stake in this. It's a classic confrontation between the old model and the new one.
Social Media Rules Apply
You can learn from this. A variety of conditions are creating an economy that is more about people than companies. And the companies that stand strong and ignore what the markets are saying are challenging this shift. You can learn from this by evaluating your marketing messages. Here's the question your customers may be considering: Are You Asking Us or Telling Us?
Any parent knows you can get a child to do more of what you want them to do if you make it their idea. Or you just can make them do it and endure a lot of kicking and screaming. Let's face it – there is still plenty of child left in most of us, but we are adult children. We want to have our way, and as adults, we will figure out how to get it.
The Relationship Economy
You cannot expect customers to be raving fans if you do not listen to them. And as long as you are listening, why not engage with them. Find ways to collaborate with your customers and you will find ways to make money in this or any other economy. Publish your views in your blog and encourage feedback. Eavesdrop on Twitter. And above all else, pay attention to what your friends are saying on Facebook and other social media sites.
You can learn a great deal from a hands-on approach.
Especially if you apply a light touch.
Photo Credit: Needoptic