Ocean Marketing used to market the Avenger game controller. It is a unique device that facilitates the manipulation of all the buttons on a typical controller so that handicapped people can participate on an equal footing with others. While this is a B2C situation, the underlying lesson applies to the B2B world.
A customer was having an issue with the delivery of the latest version Avenger and was getting inappropriate responses from Ocean Marketing. The customer went public on a number of sites, including Penny Arcade, an on-line cartoon that is popular amongst gamers. The issue went viral and, within hours, Ocean Marketing was flooded with angry emails, blog posts, Tweets, etc. It only took a few more hours for the makers of the game controller to terminate their relationship with Ocean Marketing. It appears that Ocean Marketing has also lost all their other clients and no longer exists.
Penny Arcade has reproduced the email trail on their website so have a read here. It’s unbelievable! I’ll wait till you get back.
While it is important for any company to be an active participant in the social media universe, it is even more important to track what others are saying about you (see also my previous post (Top 10 Good, Bad and Ugly…) about how a company continuously monitored the web for comments, either negative or positive (its easy to do it automatically with Google Alerts) and responded quickly to resolve any negative issues.
It’s also important to ensure that those speaking for the company in social media are promoting the company’s message in a consistent manner. You can’t have one spokesperson saying one thing in a Tweet that contradicts the message in a blog post, for example.