Kathy Sierra is one of those people I’ve been fortunate to meet through blogging who has provided me a framework for understanding and articulating (at least to the 12 people who read this blog) my beliefs about marketing — or, more precisely, about that thing that is replacing what we used to call marketing.
While others were beginning their quest to see who could shout the loudest such buzzwords as “content” and “social,” in her 2007 blog, Creating Passionate Users, Kathy was saying, simply, “make customers awesome.”
Again, listen: Make customers awesome. (Although, she said, “make users awesome,” as her audience was primarily software developers back then.)
Making customers awesome has nothing to do with telling customers how great you are, what awards you’ve won, how much money you’ve raised for your startup, that you are “first” or “best” or “largest.” Making customers awesome isn’t about how clever your Superbowl ads are, how many followers on Twitter you have, how many Facebook likes you’ve got.
Making customers awesome is helping potential buyers (customers) and those who purchase your product (owners, users, members) reach the goal they desire in work, or in life, or strictly for pleasure–and then to help them go beyond that goal to the land of Awesome. (Or, as she now might say, the land of “Kick Ass.”)
Making customers awesome is about teaching, helping and inspiring.
Along with several other muses on this topic (like Doc Searls, the late Osmo Wiio*, Hugh MacLeod, Jason Fried) and 20+ years of working with some great clients and the amazing staff of Hammock with whom I get to hang out every day, Kathy inspired me to re-think a lot of what I once assumed marketing is all about — especially the kind of highly custom, often post-sale, relationship-building services we provide.
Kathy’s simple message, and use of cute graphics she created with stock photos, and her presentation skills, turned her into a rockstar among a certain niche (a niche with many people) of software and tech-oriented marketers. It also brought out some of the haters who too often show up when anyone gets too, well, popular with the cool (in this case, cool but geeky) kids.
I was saddened when Kathy stopped blogging, and with the circumstances surrounding it, and have missed the way her posts exercised my brain.
I’m happy, therefore, that she’s blogging once more, at the site SeriousPony.com and is on Twitter, as well, at the username, @seriouspony. Her new blog, she writes, “is mostly about the science of badass, with a little UX, learning theory, game design, DSLR video, horses, and code.”
Can’t wait to see what that means.
Welcome back, Kathy.
*I learned recently that Osmo Wiio passed away in March. I’ll be posting an item about him later.