Are you letting your citizens dribble?

Imagine the old marketing as a game of basketball, but your customers are in the stands watching the game. New marketing is all about bringing them into the game.

How are you bringing your customers into the game? Are you giving them a chance to express themselves? Are you allowing them to add to or improve your product? Are you giving your customer a great product or idea to talk about with their friends.

The old marketing was all about interrupting people. Government has no problems with that. In fact, government actively seeks validation from the old gatekeepers of interruptions (the mass media), even though these organizations are struggling to stay afloat. Are you still holding press conferences around a new program launch? Do you realize what a waste of time this is?

Nonetheless, some agencies are doing some innovative stuff. San Francisco BART is one example of a public agency that is allowing its customers to dribble the ball by giving them access to tools to create their own transit-focused mobile apps.

Why aren’t more agencies doing this? They’ll say money is the issue. But that kind of thinking is precisely the problem. Money isn’t your issue. It’s your philosophy. Your philosophy is all about creating products that are cheap and unremarkable. Nobody wants to talk about them. And then you’re willing to spend some money on marketing (hyping) these unremarkable products, but that doesn’t work. You’re wasting taxpayer money. And you wonder why they don’t trust you?

Let your customers dribble, and you’ll win.

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