The Corporate Assassins

My favorite marketing and consulting group is Peppers and Rogers; they practically coined the idea of 1to1 Marketing and Customer Service Management.

In their weekly newsletter to me; there was an interesting link to an article on Corporate Assassins. These “assassins” are not AK-47 toting hoods walking the halls of Microsoft or some sleek and sexy femme fatale with a pistol and silencer, but are in fact, disgruntled clients who wield a computer with an internet connection.

“No conspiracy theories and no grassy knolls needed here. Corporate assassins are what customer strategists are calling the occasional customer or group of customers who have a bad experience with your company and are so upset that they want the world to know about it. In these days of message boards, blogs, and wikis there is no shortage of platforms for the corporate assassin. Any company can be a target. Microsoft gets trashed in blogs on an hourly basis. Posts on CNET.com message boards throw deadly slings and arrows at consumer electronics companies and at retailers. Orbitz was recently the target of an obscenity-filled, 17-page email that several 1to1 Media employees received from a dis-gruntled Orbitz customer.”

The article does not suggest Google Bombing as a means to erase the “assassin’s” attempts but suggests real marketing to improve the company image.

Techniques such as “tracking the attacks”:

“Just as any customer experience needs to be measured, negative advocacy needs to be measured as well,”

As well as identifying the problem and addressing the issue:

“Before one dissatisfied customer influences and creates more dissatisfied customers you have to go to [that first] customer and identify the source of the problem.”

For individual MLMers, if your company is the target of a perceived “attack”, it’s not your job to “attack the attacker”; rather address the issue, identify the cause, and adjust YOUR individual business accordingly. And don’t hide yourself away from the negativity, learn about what is being said about your company and don’t be surprised by a prospect’s questions. Be prepared.

“First of all, you should never read about bad news in The New York Times,” says Factiva marketing director Glenn Fannick. “You should know what’s being said about your company across the media landscape at all times. The development of blogs has made this more difficult to track. But it can and must be tracked. If you’re missing the blogs, you might end up being surprised about customer complaints being logged at a much more expansive level.”

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One Response to The Corporate Assassins

  1. glennfan says:

    Exactly. I agree with what I said 🙂 (though that journalist got my title wrong; I’m a product development manager.) Factiva has been focusing on building tools that allow our clients to do just that. Stay out ahead of the curve by being aware of what your customers and the journalists who cover you are reading (and writing) on the Web.

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