"So often, you are not the customer for your product. Yet you market it as if you were. Showing up in your world (or the board's world your staff's world) is not nearly as important as showing up in the world of the person you're actually trying to reach."
- Seth Godin

We met so many quality individuals in Chicago last week. It was really, really encouraging. Attendance seemed down at the NRA, but that simply gave us more time to spend with folks.

Flying to Chicago or Orlando or Las Vagas, paying for table space, hotel and food - all of that adds up. But we do it whenever we can, because it's easy to forget to leave the building. Working hard and saving acorns is important, but people aren't squirrels. We have to take time, look up, and invest in people and process. ( And the steaks at Rosebud's were excellent!)

So the riddle is, what are effective profitable ways of looking up and showing up in your customers' world?

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Comment by Andy Swingley on May 27, 2009 at 8:54pm
And none of it matters if you provide something people don't want!

We get holier than thou in our perceptions of what people want and need and convince ourselves we are doing exactly what needs to be done. There has to be a relationship between you and your consumer for you to achieve the excellence that John so gracefully points out is the needed link.
Comment by John Dumbrille on May 27, 2009 at 4:22pm
Gotta agree with all of this.

There is also the meta conversation taking place here to factor in - Paul Barron and Amanda and Michael, have all rapped on this in the past week or so. It's - I guess - 'relationship marketing', and it has to do with our activity here on fohboh.

Especially now, when people expect to have a say, you don't enter the customer's world by simply subduing them. If markets are conversations you dont get there with battering rams - though they may grab attention initially. And neither do you do it by grandstanding - though people take to leaders. Can't get away from 'participating in another person's world' - so why dont we save the industry and our selves by really really doing this well. Let's get excellent.

Excellence is the hard and necessary and old-news way to go. The only thing that's new under the sun is the new tools to help us participate together more effectively, and the expectation from customers that we do this with them. It's an inspiring time to be in business.
Comment by Annette Taylor on May 27, 2009 at 7:53am
I saw that same post from Seth Godin and really took in his advice. I'm in marketing, so this concept is crucial to our business, but really it applies to any business. In the case of restaurants, it seems like showing up in your customers' world means really listening to their feedback then making decisions based of their input. Another way to show up in their world is to make sure you can track any marketing efforts to see what your customers do and do not respond to.

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