Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Should FedEx have a community blog?

Summary: Mark Colombo (VP at FedEx) is averse to corporate blogging — understanding FedEx’s philosophy of customer satisfaction — could blogging help foster that marketing philosophy?

My good friend and web strategist, Jeremiah, is in Portland attending the Internet Strategy Forum, along with his colleague Scoble.


Scoble speaking at the Internet Strategy Forum (Picture by Jeremiah Owyang)

Scoble describes the reaction of FedEx’s marketing executive Mark Colombo and his aversion to corporate blogging per se. Here is a first-hand account from Scoble:

Mark Columbo, VP of electronic channels and strategic marketing at FedEx, just gave a speech at the Internet Strategy Forum in Portland, Oregon. He took quite a bit of heated questioning from the audience because he came out strongly as being anti-blog and anti-participation in online communities.

So, I did a little google search on Mark to elicit his thoughts on marketing per se and here are a few comments from him speaking on previous occasions about marketing:

Mark Colombo explored the challenges of maintaining a strong brand reputation and customer loyalty while driving growth. Both presenters recommended that marketers need to regularly test and measure marketing ideas and actions such as pricing and positioning to understand how they effect consumer beliefs and perceptions.

Mark Columbo pointed out that you need to “measure what you treasure”, integrating customer behavior analysis with customer attitude analysis. Fedex decided to follow a mixed growth approach while continually measuring the effectiveness of their brand promise of providing an outstanding experience every time a customer interacts with Fedex. (Source: Cymfony’s Influence 2.0)

Why Mark may actually find blogging adaptable to FedEx’s marketing ideology?

Let me preface this by saying that I’m not the blog evangelist, who advocates blogging for blog’s sake since I realize this may not be a perfect solution for all companies, at at all times. However, this little analysis is based on Mark’s earlier presentations.

In the quotes above, Mark says that FedEx:

* regularly test and measure marketing ideas and actions such as pricing and positioning to understand how they effect consumer beliefs and perceptions.

* integrates customer behavior analysis with customer attitude analysis.

* continually measures the effectiveness of their brand promise of providing an outstanding experience every time a customer interacts with Fedex.

Keywords: measure, customer behavior analysis, customer attitude analysis, outstanding experience, customer interaction

Let’s search: Google “FedEx sucks” and you get a total of 669,000 results – mostly from blogs. I don’t know how FedEx currently measures customer satisfaction but let’s not forget that the blogosphere is not only a great way to converse with your customer but also to monitor and respond (loop back) into the customer attitude and behavior analysis mechanisms that FedEx passionately pursues. Do they need a blog to do that? No. But the blogosphere is a rich compendium of information that’ll enable their pursuit of perfection. In Mark’s own words, it’ll help FedEx

measure the effectiveness of their brand promise of providing an outstanding experience every time a customer interacts with Fedex.

If anyone knows how FedEx measures customer experiences currently, please feel free to leave a comment.

Filed under: Business Blogging

3 Responses

  1. Well, with a huge commoditized service like FedEx…there’s bound to be many critics just like UPS and DHL.

    However, what Mark is looking for can be effectively done through a blog. But let’s look at this from a different perspective. Sometimes firms setup customer advisory groups for the purpose new product development/improvement, and quality control. Why not use the blog as a vehicle for targeting a sample of customers to be listeners and participants, while allowing the general public the ability to join the conversation too? That way, there’s a strategy in place and certain goals can be set, metrics can be taken, and polls can be given. A blog strategy would REALLY make the process of participation and perhaps greater honest feedback MUCH easier.

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  2. [...] Mario Sundar, a corporate blogger and community evangelist at LinkedInhas done some research about the feedback (in numbers) that bloggers have written about FedEx. Josh Bancroft, the Intel Blogger micro-blogged [...]

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  3. [...] just link you to some folks that recorded every detail, and a good high level summary, and a critique of the FedEx speaker’s strategy, and some pictures of the event on flickr, and finally a a great overview by one of the speakers [...]

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