When I was younger I was bad at playing catch.
I mean really bad.
As a result, I would end up running all over the field trying to grab the ball, while the thrower waited. Little did I know that there would be a metaphor lurking in this story, but it just turned up so here we go:
As a producer marketing your project, you have the ball and you throw it to your customer. The ball is your project, service, advertisement etc. Your customer used to really suck at catching the ball, because they had no way of reaching back out to you other than some long phone chain or a letter or meeting with you in person.
Things have changed and now the customer is really good at catching the message and returning the ball. With the advent of real-time technology my customer can tell me what's wrong with my product or service the second they receive it and now it's up to me to be ready to catch that message and do something with it. If I miss the toss, well now I'm the one scrambling while my customer waits for me to find the ball and throw it back. While I'm running after the ball, they can go and play catch with someone else.
So in the marketing of my product, I have to ask a very important question about how well I play catch with my customer: Do I respond to their tweets, email messages, facebook postings etc?
If so, how fast?
Whether we like it or not, our customers are getting much better at playing catch. The question now is:
What do we do when they throw the ball back?