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Comcast Sees, but Will It Do? The Two Faces of Social Media Marketing

Here it is, in a nutshell, why social media marketing can be so effective, and where it so quickly can go off the rails:

Plowing through this morning’s long list of Twitter posts, I retweeted a sports journalist’s rave about the MLB Network, adding that it is so much more expensive to obtain on Cape Cod than it is in Waltham and, almost unconsciously, applying the hashtag #Comcast to my response.

A scant eight minutes later, a reply arrived from a member of the Comcast Cares Twitter Team: “I will share the feedback.”

While I am not sure what that means, exactly, I was surprised and pleased to discover that the cable giant – which is not especially well known for its customer service – is so actively using social media as a response mechanism. My own reaction to the experience is textbook confirmation of why the practice is so important, for I suddenly know that Comcast is listening, and I somehow feel good about that.

The problem – not (yet) in this case, but generally – is that many companies fail to follow up on this new variety of market outreach by engaging in any sort of action. Having proactively reached out to me in this way, Comcast has set an expectation that something good now will occur. While I’m not naïve enough to think the company will suddenly give me the MLB Network, I do find myself wondering what will happen next. I’m enough of a skeptic (and have enough experience as a Comcast customer) to believe that the answer will be “nothing,” and I’m disappointed at the prospect.

And that’s the kicker, isn’t it? Assuming I’m right and there is no further communication, Comcast will have lifted me up and then let me down, and will have lost loyalty points in my mind in the process. For them, the saving grace will be that they’re the only game in town, so there’s no place else for me to go. But should a competitor one day appear, I’ll bolt like a deer on the interstate – just as I did in Waltham, where there are three companies to choose from, and the MLB Network is available on a lesser tier.

The lesson here is that simply accessing new social media channels isn’t enough – you have to embrace them as part of your broader business processes (marketing, customer service, product development, etc.). Then you will have moved the loyalty rock further uphill and bettered your business accordingly. And that, after all, is the point.

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