Value of Customers, Real Time @ Web 2.0

I’m amazed at how much people love to listen to real customers.
At Web 2.0, the longest line for the microphone wasn’t to ask a question to Ray Ozzie, Jeff Bezos, Bruce Chizen (who, notably, had no questions asked of him), or other industry leaders or innovators.
Nope. The longest line at the microphone was when a panel of teens and their parents answered questions about internet usage and online tools.
Some sample questions and their majority answer:
What browser do you use?

(answer: mostly IE and Firefox)

What search engine do you use?

(answer: 8 google, 1

How much time do you spend online:

(answer, lots and lots, hours and hours, online all the time)

What do you think of Yahoo?

(answer: it’s silly, said dismissively)

What do you think of MySpace?

(answer: like on Christmas morning and you go downstairs and you see the presents under the tree… I sign on and it’s like, dah-dah!)

(answer from parent: I found out my 14-year old son is 17 years old on MySpace)

How much time do you spend on MySpace

(answer: on it several hours a day and always wanting to make my profile really cool so when I see people the next day, they say how nice the graphics are and all)

What do you think of Google?

(answer: If google was a person, it would be my friend)

What is missing for you or what else do you need online?

(answer: security)

So while I chuckled and enjoyed the anthropology of it all (look, geek girl over there blushes when she talks about pirating video from a P2P system), I just wonder …
People, when was the last time you talked to your customers? Your competitors customers? Getting answers to these kinds of questions is not only simple, it’s ridiculously easy. And if you were Yahoo yesterday, you’d know your brand has little value in the teen audience. And, having the kind of loyalty Google has garnered is ground shaking and will give them lots of room to fail (if / when they do).

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