The problem within a little knowledge is that people risk making big decisions from it

This week my brand has been dealing with a minor PR crisis. Nothing untoward, but the board got a little twitchy and asked for 24/7 social media monitoring to be introduced. Their fears were heightened when they saw two tweets and three blog posts from customers critical of a change in service that we had made.

Secret Marketer

I tried to make the case that with half a million customers, five negative comments on social media, while a heads-up, was unlikely to represent the mood of all of our customers but the board was unconvinced.

The problem with a little knowledge is that people risk making big decisions off the back of it. Members of the board had heard that social media is ‘the real customer voice’, so must be listened to. They failed to appreciate that the type of customer who comments online is likely to represent an extreme and that the underlying stats around service performance, customer satisfaction and sales data, are more representative than five lone voices.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe that any symptom of customer dissatisfaction is helpful feedback; and I accept that social media is more immediate and will highlight issues more saliently than other measures, but it needs to be put into context.

Take the debate about Scottish self-rule. In 12 months’ time, the Scottish people will have a referendum to decide whether Scotland should be an independent country. While this is important for those living in the north of what is currently Great Britain, has anyone asked the 50 million or so people living south of the border, whether they want Scotland to remain part of Great Britain? If they were, it would be interesting to know the response, as it may not be as favourable as some may think.

The point is that in making decisions, we need to consider input from many quarters and to contextualise that input. Too many knee-jerk decisions have been made and as marketers it is our role to be insightful and independent. While passion should be in all of our hearts, we don’t all need to do an impression of Mel Gibson’s character in Braveheart.

Recommended

Yahoo logo

Yahoo’s ad numbers up, but prices down

Ronan Shields

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s stewardship has led to a modest increase the number of ads it sells, but the price of this inventory continues to decline, after the internet giant posted a 5 per cent year-on-year decrease in revenues. 

Internet

‘Digital is key to brand building’

Ronan Shields

Developing a coherent online strategy is key to brands building an ongoing relationship with consumers, as the average Briton interacts with a “connected device” over 34 times a day, according to speakers at an IAB conference. 

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Discover even more as a subscriber

    This article is available for subscribers only.

    Sign up now for your access-all-areas pass.

    If you're an existing paid print subscriber find out how to get access here.

    Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing, alongside practical advice from the digital experts at Econsultancy.

    With a subscription to Marketing Week Premium you will get full access to:

    > World-renowned columnists

    > Analysis & case studies

    > Exclusive leading-edge insight

    > Carefully curated reports & briefings from Econsultancy

    > Plus, much more including a £300 discount for the Festival of Marketing

    Subscribe now

    Got a question?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

    If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here

    Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing, alongside practical advice from the digital experts at Econsultancy.

    With a subscription to Marketing Week Premium you will get full access to:

    > World-renowned columnists

    > Analysis & case studies

    > Exclusive leading-edge insight

    > Carefully curated reports & briefings from Econsultancy

    > Plus, much more including a £300 discount for the Festival of Marketing

    Subscribe now