Allen Adamson, 08.11.09, 05:30 PM EDT
In a virtual marketplace, brands that add a personal touch will stand out–and win.
One of the best parts of vacationing in a small town is visiting the local video store, where the proprietor–a scruffy guy who loves everything related to movies–will recommend films that he thinks you’ll love. There’s no scientific algorithm to his suggestions, no data analysis or statistical assessment. The owner makes his recommendations based on bits and pieces of casual conversation with customers.
I was thinking about that video store as I read about the contest hosted by Netflix ( NFLX - news - people ), which offered a $1 million prize to anyone who could significantly improve its recommendation system and ended in July. While digital technology has made our lives more convenient in many ways, especially in the way it helps people make buying decisions, smart companies realize that there are some things even the most sophisticated digital applications can’t do. Above all, they can’t replace the personal touch that often helps consumers distinguish one brand from another. In a tough economic climate, real customer care–not virtual–can be the differentiating factor between two competing brands.
Read the entire article at http://www.forbes.com/2009/08/11/allen-adamson-marketing-cmo-network-adamson.html?feed=rss_leadership_cmonetwork