I received a comment from Deb Eastman, the CMO of Satmetrix regarding my recent blog post.  Her comment is below:

I want to clarify a misperception in your original post, M&Ms is absolutely NOT faking customer engagement.  This site is hosted on the Satmetrix Community platform and MyM&Ms used our technology to collect input from highly engaged fans.  However, Emma is an employee of myM&Ms and was responsible for engaging consumers to provide feedback on how to improve their products and overall customer experience.  They made several changes to their packaging, allowed consumers to put their faces on M&Ms and improved their customer experience based consumer input.  Consumers got the products they wanted and M&Ms increased loyalty in the process.  Everyone wins.

It’s unfortunate that budgets are currently impacting their level of engagement, but I expect we will continue to see myM&Ms engage with consumers and improve their products & services based on customer feedback.

This brand listened and acted on customer feedback.  I think most would classify this as genuine customer engagement.

Deb Eastman, CMO

Satmetrix

I would like to thank Deb Eastman for her point of view.  Since the M&M site was hosted by Satmetrix, they cannot, like many professional marketing service organizations, ensure that their counsel will be either listened to or acted upon.   Like the physician who counsels their patient to stop smoking, they simply can’t make it happen, even if it is the right thing.

Satmatrix is a well respected organization and should be applauded for fine work we see from them across the marketplace.

Deb points out that M&M’s implemented a number of key initiatives that came out of customer feedback.  This is great, but is only a start.  True engagement and subsequent performance results comes from:

  1. Actively listening to the customer
  2. Providing multiple ways for the customer to engage in this process
  3. Organizing what was heard
  4. Acting on this insight, across the business (beyond just the marketing group responsible for the initiative
  5. Reporting back on what can be acted on, what can’t and why (note: Intuit does this with great success.  Intel is starting to do this in partnership with their hardware OEM’s.  Heck, even small firms have seen a more holistic approach allow them to effectively compete against much larger competitors, as well as, remember where their core advantage lies.)
  6. Providing active, intrinsic rewards for involvement.  Note I said intrinsic rewards, not extrinsic.  That’s a slippery slope.  Intrinsic means:
    • Thank you’s
    • Spotlighting users
    • Articulate how their idea was integrated into the process, service or product
    • Tapping them as SME’s (subject matter experts)
    • Engaging them as mentors
  7. Systematizing the process of customer engagement as part of the culture of the business, rather than a narrow program.

There are also some helpful tips for engaging influential customers (such as M&Mmbassadors) at WOMMA’s website.

Now, I am NOT saying that M&M has or has not done any of this.  Who knows, there may be a lot going on behind the scenes.  I’d love to hear from them.

Moreover, I’d love to see this program come back…in full force…bigger and better than it ever was.  Since I am a fan of M&M’s, count me in.

Lastly, thanks to Deb at Satmetrix for her comments as well.

Steve Hershberger
Steve Hershberger