Umm, sorry…can we have a do-over?

J.C. Penney has had a couple of dismal years that follow several lackluster years. The dismal years are due to some strategic rearranging that just didn’t work. So, to their credit, they are admitting with a shrug and a sort-of apology that what they tried didn’t work, cost them customers, and that they’d like the chance to have those customers back. And they promise to listen this time. If they actually do follow through on this promise with their best efforts, I’ll certainly be impressed and will be quick to give them the accolades they deserve.

When you get right down to it, just being an attentive listener and being willing to actually DO what the customer suggests is the simplest, and best, marketing strategy there is, assuming the business can show a profit, too.  Providing all kinds of value and making a profit for doing so is what the free market it all about. Of course, intense competition is also what the free market is all about, and I’m concerned that J.C. Penney may have its work cut out for it on that front.

Blockbuster tried to play the “Oopsie” card a few years ago after customers took issue with how their ad campaign’s claims of “No more late fees…” turned out to not be so true, and look where they are now. On the other hand, Coca-Cola very promptly said, “Hey, we blew it…” when New Coke flopped. Coke listened to the customers and responded expeditiously by bringing the classic Coke flavor back.

As always, the customer has the answer to J.C. Penney’s future, because, in marketing, the customer IS the answer, after all!